Past Presidents of York University

Murray G. Ross

Murray G. Ross
1959 - 1970

Murray G. Ross was the founding president and vice-chancellor of York University and its visionary and principal architect. He also held an academic appointment as a professor of sociology. A native of Nova Scotia, he was a vice-president at the University of Toronto from 1957 until he assumed the presidency of York University in 1960. At York's inception there were a few handfuls of students, faculty and staff on a parcel of land donated by the University of Toronto (what is now Glendon College). By the end of his term in 1970 there were thousands of students, faculty and staff on York University's Glendon and Keele campuses and York was firmly established as a high quality degree-granting university. Murray Ross was an Officer of the Order of Canada. Among his publications are The New University and The Way Must Be Tried, both of which deal with York University's early history. He passed away in 2000.


David Slater

David Slater
1970 - 1973

An economist by training, David Slater was York University's second president and vice-chancellor. A native of Manitoba, he has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as an academic, a university administrator (he also served as the Dean of Graduate Studies at Queen's University), and an economist serving as Chairman of the Economic Council of Canada, and a senior civil servant at the Department of Finance. He passed away in 2010.


H. Ian Macdonald

H. Ian Macdonald
1974 - 1984

An economist and academic who has held senior posts in the Ontario government, Ian Macdonald served as York University’s third president & vice-chancellor from 1974 to 1984. He was a professor of economics at U of T and dean of men at University College before entering the public service in the government of Ontario as chief economist and assuming a number of ministerial positions in economics and intergovernmental affairs. Among his many honours and awards, Macdonald has received a Rhodes Scholarship, Vanier Medal for Public Service, Citation of Merit from the Court of Canadian Citizenship, Award of Merit from the Canadian Bureau for International Education, and the Governor General’s Medal. In 2005, he was honoured by the government of Ontario with the creation of the H. Ian Macdonald Visiting Economist position in the Ministry of Finance, and by York University with the George Tatham Award in recognition of a lifetime of teaching excellence.


Harry W. Arthurs

Harry W. Arthurs
1985 - 1992

One of Canada's most distinguished legal scholars, Harry Arthurs was York University's fourth president and vice-chancellor. He joined the faculty of Osgoode Hall Law School in 1961, later became its dean and remains an important faculty member there to this day. This year he won the prestigious Killam Prize for outstanding career achievements in the social sciences. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.


Susan Mann

Susan Mann
1992 - 1997

A prominent historian whose groundbreaking research into women's issues has been extremely influential, Susan Mann was York University's fifth president and vice-chancellor. She came to York via the University of Ottawa, where she was the vice-rector and founder of the women's studies program. Her achievements in research and academic administration have been widely recognized and include becoming a Member of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.


Lorna R. Marsden

Lorna R. Marsden
1997 - 2007

A renowned sociologist, Lorna Marsden, PhD, was York University's sixth president and vice-chancellor. She joined York from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo where she was president and vice-chancellor from 1992-1997 after serving in the Senate of Canada from 1984-1992. Among her numerous honours and awards, she was recognized in 2006 for exceptional career achievements in academia and administration with her appointment to the Order of Canada.


Mamdouh Shoukri

Mamdouh Shoukri
2007 - Present

Mamdouh Shoukri, BSc, MEng, PhD, is the seventh President and Vice-Chancellor of York University. Dr. Shoukri began his career in academia at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, joining the faculty in 1984. In 1990, he was appointed Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department, and eventually became Dean of the Faculty of Engineering from 1994-2001. Dr. Shoukri went on to serve as Vice-President Research & International Affairs.

He is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering. His scholarly interests are in thermo-fluid science, and he is the author or co-author of more than 120 papers that have appeared in refereed journals and symposia.