Election of the 34th Chancellor of the University of Toronto (PDAD&C #88)

From: Meric Gertler, President
Date: May 3, 2018
Re: Election of the 34th Chancellor of the University of Toronto (PDAD&C #88)

I am pleased to announce that, at its meeting on Wednesday, May 2, the University’s College of Electors elected Dr. Rose M. Patten, O.C., LL.D., to serve as the next Chancellor of the University of Toronto, effective July 1, 2018. She will be the University’s 34th Chancellor since its founding in 1827.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Patten on her election to this key position.

Elected by the College for a three-year term, the Chancellor is the ceremonial head of the University, presiding at convocations, conferring all University degrees and acting as ambassador to the wider community and our more than 560,000 graduates worldwide. The Chancellor also plays an essential role in advancing the University’s interests within the local, provincial, national, and international arenas.

Dr. Patten’s election follows a rigorous search process conducted by the College of Electors, which was established by the Governing Council in 1971. The College comprises members representing the constituent alumni associations of the University of Toronto Alumni Association (UTAA) and is charged with the election of alumni governors and the Chancellor. Dr. Geeta Yadav, Chair of the College, reports that the College strongly believes that Dr. Patten exemplifies and symbolizes the values of the University by her conduct and the standards she sets and upholds.

Dr. Patten has demonstrated a sustained and passionate commitment to the University of Toronto over several decades, and her track record demonstrates a highly compelling mix of accomplishments and talents relevant to the position of Chancellor. In 2007, she completed nine years of distinguished service on the Governing Council, including two years as Vice-Chair and three years as Chair. She also chaired the Task Force on Governance, the report of which in 2010 included the recommendations that led to the University’s current tri-campus governance structure. Dr. Patten is Executive in Residence and Adjunct Professor in executive leadership programs at the Rotman School of Management, where she co-designed and co-directs the School’s flagship program for Senior Leaders. She is also a member of Massey College. Among other current commitments at the University, she is a member of the Boundless Campaign Executive and Honorary Patron of the King’s College Circle Heritage Society.

In 2009, the University recognized Rose Patten’s “leadership as a role model for women executives in Canadian banking and dedicated community volunteerism, [and] in particular… her exceptional service to the University of Toronto,” through the conferral of the degree Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. Dr. Patten has also received the University of Toronto Arbor Award for Outstanding Service and the Tony Graham Award for Outstanding Achievement.

Dr. Patten has built an illustrious 30-year career in all areas of the financial services industry, including senior leadership roles in business and organization strategy, human resource management, executive development and succession, transformational change, communications, and public affairs. Currently serving as Special Advisor to the CEO and Senior Executives at BMO Financial Group, she remains a leading figure and trusted advisor to many in the sector in Canada and around the world.

Throughout her career in business, Dr. Patten has also been strongly focused and remarkably generous as a volunteer in the wider community. She is renowned as a champion of the advancement of women in leadership. Through her personal philanthropy, she has established significant scholarships for underprivileged children, and enabled access to further education for women and new Canadians through university endowments. Her effectiveness has been recognized in many ways by the numerous charitable and educational organizations in which she has been actively involved. In 2017, Dr. Patten was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Dr. Patten will succeed the Honourable Michael H. Wilson, whose second term as Chancellor comes to an end as of June 30, 2018. At that time he will have completed the maximum length of service in the role permitted by the University of Toronto Act, 1971. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Chancellor Wilson for his tireless and truly inspiring work on behalf of the University over the past six years. I know it is deeply appreciated by the entire University community, and I look forward to paying tribute to his remarkable contributions in the weeks to come.