Former McGill Principal David Johnston was named the 28th governor-general of Canada on July 8, capping a long academic career at several Canadian universities.
Johnston served as McGill’s principal from 1979 to 1994, after which he returned to teaching law at the university. He has also held positions at Queen’s University, the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario. He most recently served as president of the University of Waterloo.
“On behalf of the entire McGill community, I offer my sincere congratulations to Prof. Johnston on being named to this important office,” said Heather Munroe-Blum, McGill’s current principal, in a press release issued shortly after the announcement. “He will serve the people of Canada extraordinarily well and will bring the determination, dedication and dignity the post demands.”
Johnston’s appointment, Munroe-Blum said, symbolizes the importance of research, innovation, and higher education for Canada’s global progress.
“David Johnston has made an enormous contribution to higher education in Canada,” she said. “We at McGill are absolutely delighted to see this inspired choice to be the Queen’s representative in Canada.”
Professor Johnston has also served as chairman of the Board of Overseers of Harvard University, from which he graduated in 1963. McGill awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2000. In the release, Munroe-Blum noted that Johnston’s legal background should help him navigate the constitutional complexities of his new position.
David Johnston is set to take over from MichaÃlle Jean, the current governor-general, on October 1.