McGill University congratulates former Principal on being named Governor-General of Canada


David Johnston also becomes the 28th official Visitor to McGill since 1867

McGill University congratulates its former Principal and Vice-Chancellor, David Johnston, on being named today the 28th Governor-General of Canada.

Prof. Johnston, a legal scholar and current President of the University of Waterloo, led McGill with great distinction for 15 years, from 1979 to 1994, before returning to the Faculty of Law to teach. In 1997, he was named Chairman of the Board of Overseers of Harvard University, his alma mater. He assumed the presidency of the University of Waterloo in 1999 and has guided that institution to new levels of national and international recognition.

"David Johnston has made an enormous contribution to higher education in Canada," said Heather Munroe-Blum, McGill's current Principal and Vice-Chancellor. "We at McGill are absolutely delighted to see this inspired choice to be the Queen's representative in Canada. His appointment is both a recognition of his prodigious talents and sterling reputation, and an important symbol of the vital role of higher education, research and innovation to this country's prosperity and progress in the global community.

"On behalf of the entire McGill community, I offer my sincere congratulations to Prof. Johnston on being named to this important office. He will serve the people of Canada extraordinarily well and will bring the determination, dedication and dignity the post demands. As a scholar in law, he is well-equipped to master the Constitutional complexities that can come with these new duties; as a long-time leader of complex institutions, he brings immense experience in dealing with a daunting array of challenges, including the unexpected, and he understands above all else the need to establish effective relationships with many different groups and individuals to advance progress.

"Prof. Johnston has made an exceptional, positive difference everywhere he has served."

On being sworn in as Governor-General, Prof. Johnston automatically becomes the official Visitor of McGill University. This less-known role dates to the Royal Charter of 1852, under which McGill operates. At the time of the Charter, the Governor of Lower Canada was appointed as the Visitor, a role that since Confederation has been played by the Governor-General of Canada.

McGill awarded Prof. Johnston an honorary doctorate of laws in 2000.

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