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McGill University appoints H. Deep Saini as new Principal and Vice-Chancellor

"The perfect choice for McGill as it embarks on its third century.”

The Board of Governors of McGill University recently announced the appointment of Prof. H. Deep Saini as the University's 18th Principal and Vice-Chancellor. His five-year renewable term will begin on April 1, 2023.

The first step in the selection procedure was the forming of an Advisory committee tasked with conducting an exhaustive international search.  This committee then made recommendations based on its findings to a Board of Governors. This Board of Governors chose Prof. Saini by a unanimous vote. 

Prof Saini completed his Master of Science (Honours) in Botany from Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana. He earned a PhD in Plant Physiology from the University of Adelaide after moving from India to Australia.  He has during his distinguished career served as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canberra in Australia. Presently he holds the position of the President and Vice-Chancellor of Dalhousie University.

A trusted and respected leader whose Canadian experience includes working at four of the top 15 research-intensive universities of the country, Prof. Saini has a keen understanding of Quebec culture, having lived close to two decades in Montreal. He is fluent in four languages, including English and French. He held national and international governance and advisory roles, including on the Executive Committee of the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities, and the Board of Directors of Universities Canada, where he currently serves as Vice-Chair and will begin his term as Chair in 2023.

“Prof. Saini brings to McGill an exceptional breadth and depth of leadership experience, from Dalhousie, several other research-intensive universities in Canada and abroad,” says Maryse Bertrand, Chair of McGill’s Board of Governors.

“He exemplifies the rare mix of strong academic leadership with a wide-ranging and international perspective. He is the perfect choice for McGill as it embarks on its third century.”

“I am honored and humbled to have been chosen as McGill’s next Principal and Vice-Chancellor,” says Prof. Saini.

“Already a leader on the national and international stage, McGill is entering its third century poised to take its global impact even further. I am looking forward with great anticipation to returning to Montreal, joining this illustrious community, and making a bold contribution to the University’s most promising future.”

Prof. Saini earned several awards and recognitions throughout his distinguished career, including honors from the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists, Nanjing University, the Royal Society of New South Wales, the Punjab Academy of Sciences, and the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce. He is also the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum and Diamond Jubilee Medals, in recognition of his service to Education and Canada.

The University recognizes the intensity of this process and wishes to thank all those involved in ensuring that Mc Gill University were provided with the best information and input for directing them to the best candidate: The Chair of the Board who led the process, the Chancellor and all other members of the Advisory Committee for their many months of hard work and dedication.

“I am grateful to all members of the University community, both internally and externally, who participated in this process and provided valuable input”, says Board Chair Bertrand.

For further details about the selection of the 18th McGill University Principal and Vice-Chancellor, including the membership of the Advisory Committee, the search criteria and the phases of the selection process, please visit


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