On Sept. 5, Dr. Suzanne Fortier began her five-year term as McGill’s principal and vice chancellor, succeeding Principal Heather Munroe-Blum, whose term ended on June 30. Fortier is the 17th person—and the second woman— to fill the position.
“Dr. Fortier was selected based on her outstanding scholarship, commitment to academic excellence, and demonstrated ability to lead McGill,” states the email to the McGill community on March 5 announcing her appointment. “She is well known as a leader and passionate advocate of higher education and research in Canada and internationally, and has demonstrated success in building collaborative partnerships.”
A two-time alma mater of McGill, Fortier previously held the position of president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Other positions she has held include vice principal (Academic) at Queen’s University, as well as membership on the boards of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Genome Canada, and the Canada Research Chairs.
On her first day on the job, Fortier sent an email to the McGill community in which she expressed excitement and enthusiasm for returning to McGill.
“I have greatly benefited from my education at McGill,” she wrote. “It opened doors that I could not even have imagined as a young woman growing up in a small Quebec village, from working with a future Nobel Prize laureate to being the president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.”
Fortier has posted a schedule on the McGill website of all of her public appearances at McGill events over the next few months. One of the first events she attended was the Shaughnessy Cup football game against Concordia last Friday. Wearing a Redmen jersey, she posed for a photo with the football team while holding the trophy after McGill’s 32-19 win.
Other upcoming events that Fortier plans to attend include the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Activities Night, a lunch organized for the entire McGill community, and an International Student Services Reception for new international students.
In anticipation of their new relationship, Secretary General of the Post-Graduate Students Society (PGSS) Jonathan Mooney expressed confidence that his working-relationship with Dr. Fortier would be a productive one.
“I hope to work with Mme. Fortier on Board [of Governors] and Senate to enhance opportunities for critical discussion and engagement at these governing bodies,” he said. “My goal is to build a relationship characterized by transparency and trust so that we can collaborate freely on issues of common interest.”