Michael Wilson, former U of T Chancellor from 2012–2018, passed away on Sunday after a battle with cancer.
Wilson, a Trinity College alum, had an illustrious career in politics and academia, having served as Minister of Finance from 1984–1991 under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
Wilson was also the first MPP to serve in the newly created Etobicoke Centre riding as a Progressive Conservative from 1979–1993, going on to hold high positions in various Bay Street consulting and financial service firms.
Wilson was later appointed as Mulroney’s Minister of Industry, Science and Technology and Minister of International Trade. During his time in government, he helped to negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Wilson returned to U of T in 2003 as the Chancellor of Trinity College, a role he served in until 2006.
In 2012, Wilson was appointed Chancellor of U of T, serving another three years after his first term ended in 2015 — he was succeeded by current Chancellor Rose Patten.
Wilson was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2010, a position reserved for Canadians who have demonstrated some of the most notable services and innovations to Canada, both nationally and internationally. He also established the Cameron Parker Holcombe Wilson Chair in Depression Studies at U of T in 2009.
U of T President Meric Gertler issued a statement in remembrance of Wilson shortly after his death, celebrating “his comprehensive excellence, his unassuming generosity and his quiet compassion.”
“From spearheading public policy of the highest significance to publicly confronting the challenge of mental illness, Michael Wilson was a true champion,” wrote Gertler. “It is one of the great privileges of my life to have worked closely with Michael Wilson in the advancement of the University and the causes he cared about so deeply.”
“On behalf of the entire University of Toronto community, I extend heartfelt condolences to Michael’s beloved wife, Margie, and their family at this sad and difficult time. Thank you for sharing your husband, father and grandfather with us so generously.”
At all three campuses, the university’s flag will be flown at half-mast until the day of Wilson’s funeral. A book of condolence will be available in the Simcoe Hall lobby for the U of T community to sign from 1:00 pm on Monday.