Highlights from January 16 Board of Governors retreat

Dear members of the McGill community:

I have been reporting to you following each meeting of McGill’s Board of Governors. Accordingly, I would like to share highlights from the Board’s half-day retreat, held on January 16, 2014 here on campus.

Each year, the Board members gather with McGill’s senior administration to discuss a timely topic; this year’s topic was “Increasing Existing and Alternate Sources of Funding.”

In his keynote address to the group, the Honourable Kevin G. Lynch, Vice-Chair of BMO Financial Group and the former Clerk of the Privy Council, talked about facts and opportunities relating to leadership in today’s rapidly changing world. These included the shifting centres of geopolitical power, changing demographics and the need for organizations and societies to be agile and adaptable.

Four senior administrators then gave short presentations about McGill’s current funding reality:

  • I spoke about existing funding support for the University’s priorities;
  • Michael Di Grappa, Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance, spoke about current sources of revenue;
  • Olivier Marcil, Vice-Principal, External Relations, spoke about government-related opportunities and constraints;
  • Provost Tony Masi spoke about increasing existing and alternative sources of revenue.

Following the presentations, the participants broke into small brainstorming groups. The purpose was to think about where McGill should be in five years from now, and the actions needed to get there. The groups made lists of the things McGill does well. They also discussed what McGill should do, but is not doing, and what could be changed or possibly eliminated altogether.

At the end of the retreat, Kip Cobbett, Chair of the Board, asked for a review of these ideas, along with concrete steps for putting them into effect.  I will present a follow-up plan at the Board of Governors’ next meeting, on February 27, 2014.  

I will share highlights from that meeting during the first week of March. In the meantime, as always, I welcome your questions, thoughts and ideas. You can reach me at suzanne.fortier [at] mcgill.ca.


Suzanne Fortier

Principal and Vice-Chancellor

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