As the chancellor, Sinclair will act as the “ceremonial head and highest officer” of the Kingston, Ont., university. He will sit on both the university council and its board of trustees, as well as a number of committees for each.
Sinclair recently retired from the Canadian Senate, was the former chief commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and acted as Manitoba’s first Indigenous judge. He currently serves as general counsel to Cochrane Saxberg LLP, Manitoba’s largest Indigenous law firm.
The chancellor position is an unpaid volunteer position. Sinclair will not move to Kingston to perform his duties, but will visit when necessary.
Queen’s says Sinclair will be overseeing convocations in spring and fall, attending board and university council meetings and be available for committee work. He will stay in Benidickson House when on campus.
“Joining Queen’s University at this time is an important opportunity to recognize the change in this institution and the work we do together for future generations of students,” Sinclair said.
The school’s principal Patrick Deane said in a statement Wednesday that he was thrilled to have Sinclair on board as the school works to focus on its “social impact.”
“I cannot think of anyone better suited to advise us on that course than His Honour, one of Canada’s most significant advocates for Indigenous peoples. We feel privileged to work with him,” said Deane.
Sinclair is Anishinaabe and a member of the Peguis First Nation. He is also a fourth-degree Chief of the Midewiwin Society, a traditional healing and spiritual society of the Anishinaabe Nation.
Sinclair was selected through a nomination process by committee, led by Deane. The committee was tasked with selecting the chancellor based on several attributes, including “commitments to sustainability, and equity, diversity, inclusion, and Indigeneity.”
Sinclair has an honorary doctorate from Queen’s University, which he obtained in 2019.
The current chancellor, Jim Leech, will remain in the position until June 30, and then will act as chancellor-emeritus, available to help with convocations in the fall.
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