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Michael Meighen named 19th Chancellor of McGill


McGill graduate and tireless champion of the University 
has distinguished himself in law, politics and philanthropy

Published: 17 Jan 2014

The Board of Governors of McGill University yesterday approved the nomination of the Honourable Michael A. Meighen, QC, as the 19th Chancellor of McGill University. Mr. Meighen has been appointed for a three-year term, beginning July 1, 2014. He will succeed Chancellor Arnold Steinberg, whose current term will end on June 30, 2014. 

After earning his BA from McGill in 1960, then his LL.L. cum laude from Université Laval in 1963, Michael Meighen followed the paths of his father, Ted, and grandfather, Canadian Prime Minister Arthur Meighen, and began his law career. Mr. Meighen has since distinguished himself not just as a lawyer, but in two other areas that have been the hallmark of his family for generations: politics and philanthropy.

As a lawyer, Michael Meighen has been a prominent member of the bar in both Ontario and Quebec and served as co-counsel to the Deschênes Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals in Canada from 1985 to 1987.  As a politician, he spent 21 years in the Senate of Canada before retiring in 2012. As a philanthropist, he has shown a deep commitment to the transformative powers of education and research. Together with his wife Kelly, as well as through the T.R. Meighen Family Foundation, he has supported organizations including the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Child Development Institute, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and McGill University.

Mr. Meighen has also shown his dedication to McGill’s mission through his leadership. Over the past 20 years, he has served as a Member-at-Large of the Board of Governors, and as Chair of the Fund Council. He also co-chaired Campaign McGill, which set a University record by raising more than $1 billion to support students, faculty and researchers.

“Michael is not only among McGill’s most accomplished alumni, but his dedication to the University is remarkable,” says Stuart (Kip) Cobbett, Chair of McGill’s Board of Governors.  “Time and again, he has proven himself an important figure at University events. Whether talking to alumni, parents or students, his warmth and engaging personality immediately put people at ease.” 

“At the same time that we welcome Michael Meighen to this new chapter in his long relationship with McGill, I would like to express our deep appreciation and gratitude for Chancellor Arnold Steinberg’s service,” adds Principal and Vice-Chancellor Suzanne Fortier. 

The Board of Governors appointed Chancellor Steinberg on July 1, 2009, with a subsequent two-year renewal. Since graduating from McGill in 1954, Mr. Steinberg has proven himself a business leader and a tireless volunteer, and his achievements have earned him membership in both the Order of Quebec and the Order of Canada. His outstanding accomplishments include his groundbreaking collaboration with the Montreal Children’s Hospital in the 1970s, which all but eliminated childhood rickets in Quebec, and improving patient safety and quality of care through the 2006 creation of the Arnold and Blema Steinberg Medical Simulation Centre. 

“Arnold brings the same integrity, passion and commitment to McGill as he does to the health of Quebecers,” says Principal Fortier. “He has been an outstanding Chancellor.”

Mr. Meighen is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal, the McGill Alumni Association’s Award of Merit in 2012 and, with his wife, Kelly, the Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year Award in 2008. He serves as a director of the Peter Cundill Foundation and is a Canadian delegate on the Roosevelt Campobello International Park Commission. He was Chancellor of the University of King’s College in Halifax and is, or has been, a director of numerous companies and organizations, including Paribas Participations Ltd., Sentry Select Capital Corp., J.C. Clark Ltd., UAP Inc., and Laurentian Group Inc. Mr. Meighen has also served as Chair of the Stratford Festival and is Chair of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, a group dedicated to the conservation of Atlantic salmon and its habitat.

The Chancellor is the titular head of McGill University and an ex officio member of the Board of Governors. The Chancellor’s duties include presiding over Convocation and representing the University at official functions. 




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