Professor emerita, Chancellor honoured for career contributions

Professor emerita, Chancellor honoured for career contributions

By Communications staff

January 5, 2021


Jacalyn Duffin and Jim Leech
Professor Emerita Jacalyn Duffin has been appointed to the Order of Canada, while Chancellor Jim Leech was appointed to the Order of Ontario. 

A professor emerita and the chancellor of Queen’s University have been recognized for their career and community contributions by being appointed to the Order of Canada and Order of Ontario, respectively.

To mark the new year, Governor General Julie Payette announced another 61 appointments to one of Canada's highest civilian honours.

A hematologist and historian, Jacalyn Duffin held the Hannah Chair of the History of Medicine from 1988 to 2017. She was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada for “her leadership as an academic and mentor in the field of medical history.”

“This news came as a huge and humbling surprise,” Dr. Duffin says. “In these gloomy times, acknowledging the importance of understanding our medical past is especially welcome. People who receive honours have generous friends, who not only see them as worthy, but also work hard to promote the recognition. I have no idea who may have put my name forward, but I am very grateful to have been nominated at all. I also thank Queen’s University for the great privilege of serving during three decades in its AMS-Hannah Chair and for tolerating my endeavours and experiments in research, pedagogy, and clinical medicine. That support meant everything and gave me the security and the strength to dare.”   

The Order of Canada was established in 1967. Queen’s alumnus and Member of Parliament John Matheson (Arts’40, LLD’80) was a driving force in its development. He said the Tricolour Society at Queen’s served as a model for the Order of Canada.

Lieutenant-Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell announced the appointment of Queen’s Chancellor Jim Leech to the Order of Ontario. Chancellor Leech was among 22 new appointments to the 2019 Order of Ontario, which were unveiled simultaneously with 25 appointments to the 2020 Order of Ontario.

A Queen’s alumnus (MBA’73) who has served as chancellor since July 2014, Leech was lauded for his work for the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, “where he pioneered direct private investing by pension plans on a global basis” and for his focus on “volunteer philanthropic leadership and public service in the areas of international development, postsecondary education, health care and the military.”

“It is an honour to be recognized for both career achievements but, more importantly, for work with institutions such as Queen’s, Mastercard Foundation, University Health Network and the Canadian military, all of whom are making a difference in this world,” Chancellor Leech says. “I want to thank Dr. Art McDonald and Commander Chris Hadfield who I understand endorsed my nomination. Being appointed to the Order of Ontario is special and I congratulate my fellow appointees, especially the two other Queen’s grads (John Colangeli and Sean Conway) on receiving this recognition.”

The university’s 14th chancellor, Leech was previously invested as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2012 and was also awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2010.

Along with being an alumnus Sean Conway (MA’77) is currently fellow of the School of Policy Studies. Conway was recognized for his work as the MPP for the riding of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke for 28 years, which included serving as Minister of Education (June 1985-September 1987, August 1989-October 1990).

The Order of Ontario is the province’s highest honour, “reserved for Ontarians from all fields of endeavour and backgrounds, whose excellence has left a lasting legacy in the province, Canada and beyond.”

Other Order of Canada recipients with Queen’s connections include:


  • John Burrows (LLD’19), Professor (Canadian Research Chair in Indigenous Law), University of Victoria
  • J. Edward Johnson (LLB’76), Retired Senior VP and General Counsel, Power Corporation


  • Stanley Dragland (PHD’70), President, Brick Books
  • Michael Jewett (MD’68), Professor of Surgery, University of Toronto
  • Marilyn McHarg (ArtSci’83, LLD’08), Consultant, Aid Solutions
  • Heather Ross (ArtSci’84), Division Head, Cardiology, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre

Other Order of Ontario recipients with Queen’s connections include:

  • Hon. Rosemary Moodie (MPA’11), Senator, Government of Canada (2020)
  • John Colangeli (MPA’85), Chief Executive Officer, Lutherwood Organization (2019)
  • Dr. Marlys Koschinsky (Former Faculty), Professor, Robarts Research Institute, Western University (2019)
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