Dr. Suzanne Fortier selected as Principal-Designate

Published: 5 March 2013

Dr. Suzanne FortierDr. Fortier was selected by a unanimous vote of the Board of Governors, following a formal recommendation from the Advisory Committee formed to assist in the search.  

Dr. Fortier is a distinguished scientist, teacher and academic leader. She is a proud graduate of McGill University, where she received a BSc (1972) and a PhD (1976). An outstanding researcher, she has authored or co-authored more than 80 scientific publications and earned numerous national and international awards and distinctions.

“Dr. Fortier’s record of outstanding scholarship, demonstrated leadership in academic and research senior administration and success in forming national and international partnerships gives her the ideal qualifications to lead McGill at this time,” says Stuart H. (Kip) Cobbett, Chair of the Board of Governors of McGill University.

“It is of special significance that she is returning to her alma mater after having built an exceptional career on a national and international scale. Her strong track record in fostering outstanding programs of teaching, scholarship and research will serve McGill and its mission superbly. ”

“Dr. Fortier will be great for McGill because of her extensive experience, leadership abilities and love for McGill,” says Haley Dinel, Vice-President (University Affairs) of the Students’ Society of McGill University and a member of the Advisory Committee assisting in the search.

“The remarkable string of positions Dr. Fortier has held and her achievements in them tell us that she will be a great leader for McGill,” says Dr. Bernard Robaire, Professor of Pharmacology and Therapeutics and a fellow member of the Advisory Committee.

Dr. Fortier has served most recently as President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) in Ottawa. Prior to joining NSERC in January 2006, she had served as Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, Vice-Principal (Research) and Vice-Principal (Academic) at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, where she was also Professor of Chemistry.

“I am proud to be invited to serve as the next Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill,” says Dr. Fortier. "Principal Munroe-Blum blazed a trail as McGill’s first female Principal and as an exceptional leader, and it will be an honour to follow in her footsteps. McGill opened up a world of opportunities for me, and I look forward to working closely with the McGill community upon my arrival.”

“I am absolutely delighted at the forthcoming appointment of Dr. Fortier as the 17th Principal & Vice-Chancellor of McGill University. She is an exceptional person. She has distinguished herself in ways that prepare her perfectly for this important role. We are lucky to have her coming to us,” says Principal Heather Munroe-Blum.

Professor Munroe-Blum’s second and final term concludes on June 30, 2013. Dr. Fortier is complying with the transition period that must occur between her departure from NSERC and her new opportunity at McGill, in accordance with the Conflict of Interest Act and the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. An Acting Principal will be appointed to serve from July to September.

For further details about the Principal-Designate or the selection of the 17th McGill University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, including the membership of the Advisory Committee, the search criteria and the phases of the selection process, please visit

High resolution photo available on request.

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