Chancellor Honoured For His Philanthropic Leadership

Chancellor Jim Leech at Convocation with graduate
Chancellor Jim Leech congratulates a new grad during convocation.

Jim Leech, MBA’73, is a natural leader. Whether for a person, business, or a non-profit organization, he uses his expertise to help others around him improve and succeed. 

“It is important to bring your skills and experiences to an organization to help make them more effective and better at what they do,” he says.

Since retiring from his job as CEO of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan five years ago, he has focused on helping others through philanthropic leadership. His volunteer senior management roles have spanned many sectors: education, health care, and humanitarian.

He became the 14th Chancellor of Queen’s (which many people don’t know is a volunteer position) in July of 2014. He is the board chair for the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation and successfully led its $1-billion fundraising campaign. He is the chair of the Mastercard Foundation, the world’s second-largest independent foundation (US $25 billion), which has projects in 29 African countries. He was part of an expedition that hiked to the magnetic North Pole in 2014, raising more than $2 million for the True Patriot Love Foundation in support of wounded veterans.

His philanthropic leadership is why he was honoured with the Outstanding Volunteer award by the Greater Toronto Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) at a ceremony on Nov. 21.

“I am honoured to receive this award. Volunteering is something I have been doing for most of my life. I enjoy helping others and feel everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed,” says Mr. Leech, who is also an Honorary Colonel in the 32 Signal Regiment.

Mr. Leech has been a Queen’s volunteer for decades. He was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1984 to 1996, and served on University Council from 1980 to 1984. He was part of the Initiative Campaign leadership team that helped the university raise $640 million. He also served on and chaired the Smith School of Business Advisory Board on three separate occasions.  

Principal Daniel Woolf feels Queen’s has benefitted enormously from Chancellor Leech, who has shared his time and expertise with students, alumni, and benefactors. “This award is well- deserved and reflects not just his contribution to Queen’s, but also his many philanthropic endeavours throughout the country and around the world,” says Principal Woolf.


 Learn more about Mr. Leech's dedication to philanthropic leadership in the video below.