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News Release - Queen’s University announces The Honourable Murray Sinclair as 15th Chancellor

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

For immediate release

April 28, 2021 - Today Queen’s University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane announced that the university has selected The Honourable Murray Sinclair to serve as its 15th Chancellor. As an experienced national leader, His Honour will be well positioned to offer insight and guidance to the university. He will begin in his new role on July 1.

The university selected His Honour following extensive consultation with the Queen’s community that included a nomination process open to all students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The advisory committee, chaired by Principal Deane, developed a list of 10 attributes the next chancellor should possess, including demonstrated commitments to sustainability, and equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigeneity. After the advisory committee recommended His Honour, the nomination was confirmed by Queen’s University Council.

Chancellor-Designate Sinclair has had an extensive legal career and over several decades has established himself as a leading advocate for Indigenous peoples in Canada. He served as the first Indigenous judge in Manitoba and the second in Canada. On the national level, he led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which documented the history of residential schools in Canada and issued 94 calls to action to promote reconciliation between Canada and Indigenous peoples. In recognition of his decades of service, His Honour was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 2016 and served as a Senator until January 2021. He currently serves as General Counsel with Cochrane Saxberg LLP, Manitoba’s largest Indigenous law firm.

Chancellor-Designate Sinclair is Anishinaabe and a member of the Peguis First Nation. He is a Fourth Degree Chief of the Midewiwin Society, a traditional healing and spiritual society of the Anishinaabe Nation responsible for protecting the teachings, ceremonies, laws, and history of the Anishinaabe. His Spirit Name is Mizhana Gheezhik (The One Who Speaks of Pictures in the Sky).

Chancellor-Designate Sinclair earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Winnipeg and graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba in 1979. He has received honorary doctorates from 14 universities, including Queen’s in 2019.

The Chancellor sits on both the University Council and Board of Trustees, as well as a number of important committees for each. Other duties include presiding over convocation ceremonies, conferring degrees, and sitting on the Senate committee that bestows honorary degrees each year. The Chancellor also plays a central role in connecting with Queen’s alumni, hosting dignitaries, and chairing the search committee that selects the university’s Principal.

The Honourable Mr. Sinclair will succeed James Leech, who has held the role of Queen’s Chancellor since 2014.

“I am thrilled to announce that The Honourable Murray Sinclair will be joining Queen’s as the 15th Chancellor of our university. As Queen’s pursues a strategic vision that focuses on social impact, I cannot think of anyone better suited to advise us on that course than His Honour, one of Canada’s most significant advocates for Indigenous peoples. We feel privileged to work with him.”
- Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University

“Joining Queen’s University at this time is an important opportunity to recognize the change in this institution and the work we do together for future generations of students. I look forward to contributing to the new vision at Queens University.”   
- The Honourable Murray Sinclair, Chancellor-Designate, Queen’s University

“Queen’s is proud to have The Honourable Murray Sinclair as our next Chancellor and grateful he has agreed to commit his time and energy to this important role that helps bring together the university community. His Honour is a truly transformative figure in Canada who will undoubtedly serve as an inspiration to us all.”  
- Mary Wilson Trider, Chair, Queen’s University Board of Trustees

More information on The Honourable Murray Sinclair is available here






Queen’s University Secretariat and Legal Counsel website

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Media Contacts
Julie Brown
Media Relations Officer 

About Queen’s University

Queen’s University has a long history of scholarship, discovery, and innovation that has shaped our collective knowledge and helped address some of the world’s most pressing concerns. Home to more than 25,000 students, the university offers a comprehensive research-intensive environment with prominent strengths in physics, cancer research, geoengineering, data analytics, surveillance studies, art conservation, and mental health research. Welcoming and supporting students from all countries and backgrounds to a vibrant, safe, and supportive community is an important part of the Queen’s experience. Diverse perspectives and a wealth of experience enrich our campus and our community. A core part of our mission is to engage our students, staff, and faculty in international learning and research, both at home and abroad.

Queen’s University is ranked first in Canada and fifth in the world in the 2021 Time Higher Education Impact Rankings. The rankings measured over 1,200 post-secondary institutions on their work to advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).