Former U of T Chancellor Michael Wilson passes away at 81

Wilson was Trinity College alum, ambassador to the United States, Canadian finance minister

Former U of T Chancellor Michael Wilson passes away at 81

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.

University begins search for new Chancellor

Three-year term set to begin in July 2018 as Wilson leaves post

University begins search for new Chancellor

U of T’s Chair of the College of Electors posted a memo earlier this month seeking nominations for the university’s next Chancellor. The Chancellor is one of the most senior positions at the university, representing U of T in formal situations both at home and abroad and bestowing degrees on students.

The new Chancellor will ideally begin their term on July 1, 2018, after the completion of Michael H. Wilson’s tenure on June 30. Wilson has served the maximum two-term, six-year tenure permitted by the University of Toronto Act of 1971. The new Chancellor will be elected for an initial term of three years.

The College of Electors, a body established by Governing Council, is responsible for officially appointing someone to the position. The body is a group of 48 U of T alumni who represent the 27 alumni groups that are part of the University of Toronto Alumni Association.

Members of the College of Electors serve as liaisons for their respective alumni associations and are expected to update their associations throughout the year with news about the college.

Before the College of Electors can appoint someone, a search committee will first decide on a nominee to recommend to them. The committee consists of U of T President Meric Gertler, Chair of the Governing Council Claire Kennedy, and executive members of the College of Electors, including Chair Geeta Yadav, Vice-Chair Oliver Jerschow, UTM alumnus Kevin Golding, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education alumna Tracey King, and Faculty of Information alumna Alison Stirling.

The position profile for the Chancellor, established by the search committee, states that they are looking for a “distinguished person with a record of demonstrated excellence in their chosen field and in service to the community.” The Chancellor is expected to have a strong public presence, well-developed relationship-building skills, as well as to have demonstrated passion for U of T and a commitment to inclusivity. The Chancellor must also be a Canadian citizen.

Nominations for the position will be solicited until the committee makes a recommendation to the College of Electors. Nominations are made via a form found on Governing Council’s website.