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Announcing The Honourable Murray Sinclair as Queen’s 15th Chancellor

An experienced national leader, Chancellor-Designate Sinclair is well-positioned to advise Queen’s as it pursues a vision of social impact.

Photograph of The Honourable Murray Sinclair receiving an honorary doctorate from Queen's in 2019.
The Honourable Murray Sinclair received an honorary doctorate from Queen's during a fall convocation ceremony in 2019. (University Communications.)

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane is pleased to announce the selection of The Honourable Murray Sinclair as the 15th Chancellor of Queen’s University. Queen’s University Council finalized the selection of His Honour this afternoon, completing a search process that began in fall 2020. He will begin in the role July 1.

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, he 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.

“I am thrilled to announce that The Honourable Murray Sinclair will be joining Queen’s as the 15th Chancellor of our university,” says Principal Deane. “As Queen’s pursues a strategic vision that embraces 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.”

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).

“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 Queen’s University,” says Chancellor-Designate Sinclair.

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.

“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,” says Mary Wilson Trider, Chair, Queen’s University Board of Trustees.

Selecting the Chancellor

To guide the selection process, Principal Deane formed and chaired an advisory committee that consulted extensively with the Queen’s community. A nomination process was open to all faculty, staff, students, and alumni in fall 2020.

The advisory committee also developed a list of 10 desired attributes for the next chancellor, including demonstrated commitments to sustainability, and equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigeneity.

After the advisory committee recommended The Honourable Murray Sinclair, his selection was confirmed by Queen’s University Council.

The chancellor is the ceremonial head and highest officer of the university. 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.

Learn more about the role of chancellor and the selection process on the University Secretariat and Legal Counsel website.