WATERLOO, ON, Sept. 23, 2011 /CNW/ - Renowned businessman, investor and philanthropist Michael Lee-Chin has
been appointed chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University.
The appointment has been unanimously approved by Laurier's Board of
Governors, with the unanimous support of the Senate, and will take
effect Oct. 28, 2011 at an official installation ceremony at the
university's fall convocation. Lee-Chin succeeds John A. Pollock, who
has served as Laurier's chancellor since March 31, 2008.
"Michael Lee-Chin epitomizes Laurier's institutional proposition of
inspiring lives of leadership and purpose," said Max Blouw, Laurier's
president and vice-chancellor. "His internationally recognized
achievements in the business and investment arenas are matched by his
astonishing record of philanthropic work. He is an ideal choice for
this key role as the university celebrates its centennial and lays the
groundwork for a bold and influential second century."
Blouw also thanked Chancellor Pollock for his contributions to the
"John Pollock has been a strong advocate for Laurier in the role of
chancellor, and he has delighted in his connection with our students,"
Blouw said. "I would like to express my sincere gratitude to him for
his unflagging belief in the importance of post-secondary education,
and for his leadership and hard work on behalf of the university."
Lee-Chin is Laurier's eighth chancellor since the university became a
public institution in 1973. As chancellor, Lee-Chin will be a member of
the Board of Governors and Senate, and will serve on the Senate
honorary degree committee and the Board development committee. He will
also preside over graduation ceremonies and will officially bestow all
degrees and diplomas. Chancellors of the university generally serve for
a term of four years and may be appointed to a second term.
"It is a great honour and a pleasure for me to accept this position as
Laurier's chancellor," Lee-Chin said. "I have been impressed by the
university and by the track record and energy of its people. I look
forward to doing whatever I can in my new role to help the university
continue to build its reputation, differentiate itself from other
universities, and do a great job of meeting students' needs in the 21st
Farouk Ahamed, chair of Laurier's Board of Governors, said: "On behalf
of the Board of Governors I am delighted to welcome Michael Lee-Chin as
our next chancellor. We look forward to working closely with Michael as
Laurier celebrates its centennial and embarks on a number of exciting
initiatives over the coming years."
One of Canada's most successful entrepreneurs, Lee-Chin has frequently
been included on Forbes magazine's annual list of billionaires. As a philanthropist, he has
contributed to a wide range of causes, including his 2003 donation of
$30 million to the Royal Ontario Museum for its renovation by architect
Lee-Chin is chairman of Portland Holdings Inc., a privately held
investment company that manages public and private equity and has a
direct ownership interest in a collection of diversified businesses
operating in sectors that include telecommunications, financial
services media, tourism, health care and waste management. Portland is
committed to "Building Strong Indigenous Businesses." Equally
important, these businesses must also seek to improve the social
well-being of the communities in which they operate. Lee-Chin formally
established as the Portland mantra the phrase "prosperitas cum caritate", which in Latin speaks to his goal that businesses must "not only do
well, but also do good" - that is the measure of success.
Born in Port Antonio, Jamaica in 1951, Lee-Chin worked in his youth in
his family's grocery store and in the engine room of a cruise ship. He
came to Canada at age 19 to study civil engineering at McMaster
University on a scholarship.
In 1983, at the age of 32, Lee-Chin borrowed money to purchase $500,000
of Mackenzie Financial stock. After four years, this stock appreciated
seven-fold and Lee-Chin used the profits to make his first acquisition,
a small Ontario-based investment firm called AIC Limited. At the time,
Advantage Investment Counsel (a division of AIC Limited) had assets
under management of just $800,000. Within 20 years, AIC had grown
substantially and, at its peak, had more than $15 billion in assets
under management. In September 2009, AIC's retail investment fund
business was sold to Manulife Financial. Lee-Chin and his team continue
to sub-advise the flagship Advantage Series of funds for Manulife
through Portland Investment Counsel. Lee-Chin has managed the Advantage
Fund since its 1986 inception.
One of the Portland companies is the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica
(NCB). Under Lee-Chin's stewardship, NCB is now the largest bank in the
country. In 2011, The Banker magazine, a publication of London-based Financial Times Ltd., ranked
NCB third in the world for return on capital in its Top 1,000 Banks
survey, placing NCB among the world's premiere lending institutions.
The bank also has a global reputation as a leader in corporate
citizenship, providing financial support to over 60,000 students since
Lee-Chin has won numerous awards and honours for his business and
philanthropic achievements, including the Order of Jamaica, Canadian
Entrepreneur of the Year (services category), and a Lifetime
Achievement Award from the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. He holds
several honorary degrees, including honorary doctor of laws degrees
from Wilfrid Laurier University, York University, Northern Caribbean
University, the University of the West Indies, McMaster University, and
the University of Toronto. He also he sits on the board of The Trust
for the Americas, a foundation affiliated with the Organization of
American States (OAS).
SOURCE Wilfrid Laurier University
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