Dear members of the McGill community:

It is once again our pleasure to provide you with an update on the recent activities of McGill’s Board of Governors. You can learn more about the Board’s mandate and membership on its website.

McGill’s Board held its first meeting of the 2019-2020 governance year on October 3, 2019. The full minutes of the meeting’s open session will be available following approval at the Board’s next meeting, on December 5, 2019. In the meantime, we would like to share with you the meeting’s important discussions, decisions and developments.

Thank you for your interest in the work of the Board of Governors. If you have any questions, ideas or comments, please write


Suzanne Fortier, Principal and Vice-Chancellor
Ram Panda, Chair, McGill Board of Governors


Key decisions

During the closed session, the Board approved, on the recommendation of the Principal and pursuant to the advice of the Advisory Committee, the reappointment of Professor Christopher Manfredi as Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) for a second five-year term, beginning July 1, 2020 and ending June 30, 2025. We congratulate Professor Manfredi on the reappointment.

The Board also approved the following recommendations of the Statutory Selection Committee:

  • The appointment of one new Associate Professor with tenure; and
  •  The promotion of four Associate Professors to the rank of Full Professors.

The McGill Reporter will publish the names of the new appointments in the near future.

On the recommendation of the Investment Committee, the Board approved revisions to the Statement of Investment Policy.

On the recommendation of the Audit Committee, the Board approved:

  • The 2018-2019 Financial Report to the Board of Governors, including the External Auditor’s report and the Audited Financial Statements of the Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning/McGill University for the year ended April 30, 2019; and
  • The appointment of Deloitte as external auditors of the University for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2020.

On the recommendation of the Building and Property Committee, the Board approved:

  • Lots 2 and 3 of the Human Pain Genetics (CERC) Renovation Project at the Lyman Duff Medical Building; and
  • Extending, by six months, to April 27, 2020, the timeframe for the sale of Brittain Hall to John Abbott College.

On the recommendation of the Nominating, Governance and Ethics Committee, the Board approved appointments to its standing committees, as well as internal and external non-board bodies.


Principal’s Remarks /Allocution de la principale

The Principal’s opening remarks provided updates since the last Board meeting in May.
Fall 2019 enrolment

As of September 17, total enrolment for Fall 2019 is comparable to last year’s numbers. We saw an increase in enrolments by CEGEP students compared to last year. McGill continues to see a high enrolment from international students, with the top five countries being China, United States, France, India and Turkey. Enrolment numbers should be final by mid-October.

University rankings

Maclean’s released their Canadian university rankings, and McGill has taken the top spot for medical-doctoral universities for the 15th straight year. Highlights include McGill ranking first for proportion of operating expenditures dedicated to scholarships and bursaries, as well as having the highest percentage of students winning national awards.

In the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2020, McGill rose to 42nd spot from 44th last year, and remains amongst the top 50 in the THE world table with a strong showing in teaching, research, and international outlook.

The Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked McGill 90th, tying for third place in Canada.

Finally, McGill was ranked 30th in the world by the Center for World University Rankings.

Government relations

On September 18, the Quebec Government introduced Bill 37, which aims to centralise procurement for the Government of Quebec, including government ministries, public agencies and institutions in the health and education sectors. Assessment by McGill administrators and administrators across Quebec universities has shown that centralized procurement is not well adapted to the university sector, and, in particular, research goods and services.

McGill is working closely with the Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire and other Quebec universities to develop a common strategy for the 2020 provincial budget, and ensuring the government is aware of the key role of higher education in long-term economic and social prosperity.

We are also collaborating with the Quebec government to transform a portion of the former Royal Victoria Hospital, and have held a number of Town Hall Meetings with various faculties to discuss the New Vic project.

Community relations

There was a vibrant energy on campus as many alumni came back to McGill for Homecoming activities at the end of September.  We were honoured to have Dr. Jane Goodall deliver this year’s Beatty Lecture and share her views on the critical need for environmental stewardship. She is the only lecturer ever invited to give the Beatty Lecture twice.

To kick off Homecoming this year, McGill unveiled a $2-billion fundraising campaign: its most ambitious campaign ever. Funds will be directed to four key areas: opportunities that open doors, research that changes lives, innovation that drives progress, and education that shapes future-ready students.

The Principal mentioned that she had attended a working meeting in September at the Rockefeller Foundation around the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals. McGill joined the University Global Compact as one of the 19 founding members and one of only two Canadian universities.

McGill also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for graduate scholarships with the Bangamata National Cellular and Molecular Center/Bandgladesh Medical Research Council. Under the MOU, McGill will train PhDs in areas of research that are particularly relevant for Bangladesh as it moves forward to implement the Prime Minister’s long-term goal of achieving the status of a developed country.


Professors Nahum Sonenberg and Dr. Michael N. Pollak will lead the new “Stand Up to Cancer Canada Metastatic Breast Cancer Dream Team,” which received federal funding of up to $6M.

Twelve McGill scholars were inducted into the Royal Society of Canada, including three new members to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, and nine new Fellows.
Prof. Paul François has been named winner of the Rutherford Medal in Physics.

McGill was named the International Green Gown Awards Sustainability Institution of the Year for its “ambitious yet realistic” Vision 2020 Sustainability Strategy at the UN High Level Political Forum.

The varsity football team claimed the Shaughnessy Cup, and won the Homecoming game against the Université de Sherbrooke, and the men’s rugby team defeated Harvard for the Covo Cup.

Progress reports and presentations

The Board received the following reports. Click on the links to read the full reports:

The Board received the Annual Report on McGill Sustainability and Climate Initiatives, which highlights, among other things, student and staff involvement in the University’s sustainability and climate-related initiatives, and progress on the Climate and Sustainability Action Plan.

Prof. Antonia Maioni, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, presented an overview of the activities, initiatives and developments undertaken by the Faculty.

A community session had been planned for this meeting but no questions were submitted.


October 29 2019