Jim Leech named next Chancellor

New appointee replaces David Dodge in ceremonial role beginning July 1, 2014

Jim Leech will begin his term as Chancellor of Queen’s on July 1.
Jim Leech will begin his term as Chancellor of Queen’s on July 1.
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Jim Leech, president and CEO of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, has been chosen as the next Chancellor of Queen’s.

Leech will start his three-year position at the University beginning July 1, 2014.

Leech is a Queen’s alumnus, earning his MBA from the Queen’s School of Business in 1973, and is also a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada.

He said he accepted the position for personal reasons.

“I have a soft spot in my heart for the institution and what it has accomplished — sounds corny, but it is impressions like that that guide your decision making,” Leech told the Journal via email.

The Chancellor’s role involves presiding over convocation ceremonies, granting degrees and chairing the University Council. The Chancellor also serves as a representative and the ceremonial head of the University.

Leech will succeed current Chancellor David Dodge during fall convocation in 2014.

He said he plans to learn from Dodge’s experience.

“I am fortunate to have nine months to get acclimatized and learn from my distinguished predecessor,” he said.

Principal Daniel Woolf chaired the University Council committee that made the decision to appoint Leech on Oct. 18.

Woolf stated that Leech’s long list of accomplishments and contributions to the University is what caused him to stand out as the best choice.

“I was overwhelmed and humbled [when asked to be Chancellor] especially when one considers the quality of Chancellors Queen’s has had,” he said.

Leech has been the president and CEO of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan since 2007. He handles and represents the pensions of 303,000 current and past teachers, which total $130 billion.

Leech announced his retirement from the organization, which will become official on Jan. 1, 2014.

Leech also serves several charitable organizations in Canada.

He’s the chair of the board of the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation, a board member of the MasterCard foundation, and is a founding director of Right to Play International.

Leech received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for taking part in the True Patriot Love Foundation, which aims to support military families in Canada.

He said he hopes his credentials will lead to a successful term as Chancellor.

“What I can offer is 46 years of experience gained through working in various industries and volunteering with several social, educational and arts non-governmental organizations,” he said.

Last Friday, Leech said he promised to contribute to the Queen’s community using his past experiences.

“I believe in the tradition and what Queen’s stands for as a thought-leading institution in Canada and now globally,” he said.

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