McGill names former Canadiens president Pierre Boivin as chancellor

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McGill University will soon have a new chancellor — one whose name should be familiar to Montreal Canadiens fans.

Former Habs president Pierre Boivin has been appointed for a three-year term as McGill 21st chancellor starting July 1, the university said Thursday in a statement. Boivin will succeed John McCall MacBain, whose current term will end June 30.

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Boivin’s hiring caps a selection process launched last summer by McGill’s nominating, governance and ethics committee. The university highlighted Boivin’s “longstanding leadership in Quebec’s charitable and business sectors, as well as his exceptional ability to represent McGill with eloquent passion and grace.”

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“Through his life and work, Pierre Boivin has made outstanding contributions across the domains of business, sports and entertainment in Quebec,” McGill president and vice-chancellor Deep Saini said in the statement. “I am confident that, in his role as chancellor of McGill, he will serve our university with the same degree of commitment and integrity, reflecting our values and advancing our mission in all that he does.”

The chancellor is McGill’s titular head and an ex-officio member of the board of governors. Duties associated with the position include presiding over convocation and representing the university at official functions. 

Boivin is currently vice-chair of the board of Claridge Inc., the Bronfman family-owned investment firm that he led as chief executive for 12 years. He also serves as chairman of both Metro Inc. and Solotech, and sits on the boards of the National Bank of Canada and Groupe CH. He was president of the Canadiens from 1999 to 2011.

Over the years, Boivin has chaired several foundations and fundraising initiatives in support of children and youth. He created the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation in 2000 and co-chaired the Fondation CHU Sainte-Justine from 2006 to 2012.

Boivin was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2009 and appointed a knight of the Ordre national du Québec in 2017. 

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