Highlights from the December 2, 2014 Board of Governors meeting

Dear members of the McGill community:

McGill’s Board of Governors convened on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 for their second meeting of 2014-15. Here are the important discussions, decisions and developments from that meeting.

During the closed session, the Board approved two appointments:

  • Nathalie Bourque is the Board’s new member-at-large. Ms. Bourque is a Vice President at CAE and brings to the Board her great expertise and experience in communications and community engagement.
  • Christopher Manfredi, currently the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, has been appointed the new Provost and Vice-Principal Academic, effective July 1, 2015. 

The Board also approved the recommendation of the Statutory Selections Committee to promote six associate professors to the rank of full professor. This is a significant recognition of the quality and accomplishment among our tenure-track academic staff.

My remarks in the open session addressed the following topics:

  • Government relations: On October 22, David Eidelman, Vice-Principal (Health Affairs) and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, and other McGill representatives appeared before a Quebec Parliamentary Commission on the re-organization of the health and social services network. Dr. Eidelman proposed amendments to Bill 10, in the interest of better protecting the teaching and research missions of university teaching hospitals and strengthening the role of universities in the governance of these institutions. We are continuing our discussions with the government on this important issue.
  • “Je vois Montréal”: On November 17, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and BMO launched this series of initiatives to re-invigorate our city and its economy. McGill is participating in several of the projects.
  • Five priority areas: We have launched a new website that collects concrete projects, as well as short- and long-term goals, designed to build a more open, connected and purposeful McGill. Project status reports will be posted quarterly.


I closed my remarks by applauding some particularly outstanding achievements by members of our community. McGill students Joanna Klimczak and Benjamin Mappin-Kasirer received Rhodes Scholarships, while the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal honoured Professor Bartha Knoppers as one of its “Great Montrealers” for 2014.  Professors Paul Lasko and Michael Meaney each received a Prix du Québec, and the SSHRC honoured Professor Nico Trocmé with its Impact Connection Award. The Quebec Association of Fund Raising Professionals recognized Vice-Principal Marc Weinstein with its 2014 Excellence in Philanthropy award for outstanding career. On a final note, I mentioned that Busty and the Bass, a group of McGill music students, won the CBC’s national Rock Your Campus battle of the bands.

The Provost presented the Finance Committee’s Budget Planning 2015-16 Report. This is the first presentation on Budget for year 2015-16. It will be followed by one more presentation leading to a final presentation for approval in the Spring of 2015.

The Committee to Advise on Matters of Social Responsibility reported on its first meeting under its revised mandate. CAMSR plans to initiate a study of socially responsible investment practices. This study will in turn help inform the development of guidelines and principles governing McGill’s investment practices.

Following upon the extensive work, and recommendations, of an ad-hoc committee, the Board approved the amendment of the statutes concerning the composition of Senate. Senate will be slightly expanded, to allow for representation of new constituencies, while preserving the historical majority of elected academic staff.

The Board also received the report of the Executive Committee, and approved the recommendation for increasing the annual distribution rate for endowment income for FY2015. The rate has been 4.25% for the past seven years; it will now increase by 0.25% over each of the next four fiscal years. Endowment income is primarily restricted to funding student scholarships, fellowships and bursaries, with some faculty appointments and research activities. This new distribution rate means a projected increase of $2.8 million per year in funding for these initiatives.

I will share key actions and discussions from the Board’s next meeting, which will be held on February 2, 2015. (Their 2014-2015 schedule is here.) The full minutes from the previous meeting, held on October 2, plus a summary of items dealt with during that meeting’s closed session, are now available online; the minutes from this week’s meeting will be available following approval by the Board in February.

I welcome your thoughts, ideas and questions. You can always contact me at suzanne.fortier [at] mcgill.ca.


Suzanne Fortier
Principal and Vice-Chancellor


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