David Farrar to conclude his tenure as president in June 2025 

Head and shoulders of smiling David Farrar in a suit, standing outdoors in the shade on a sunny day at McMaster

McMaster’s President and Vice-Chancellor, David Farrar, has advised the Board of Governors he will conclude his tenure when his five-year term ends on June 30, 2025. 

McMaster’s President and Vice-Chancellor, David Farrar, has advised the Board of Governors he will conclude his tenure when his five-year term ends on June 30, 2025. Farrar is announcing his plans now in accordance with McMaster’s practice that a sitting president provide 18 months’ notice of whether they intend to seek reappointment, and to allow ample time to undertake a presidential search.

“After more than 40 years in universities, 25 of those in leadership roles, the time is right for me to return to my roots as a researcher, and for McMaster to begin the transition to a new leader,” says Farrar.

“I look forward to working with the McMaster community over the next 18 months as we continue to move the university forward together.”

After joining McMaster in 2017 as provost and vice-president (Academic), Farrar stepped into the role of acting president in July 2019, and was formally appointed McMaster’s eighth president and vice-chancellor in December 2019.

“It has been the privilege of my career to serve McMaster University as president over the past four and half years,” says Farrar.

“I am continually inspired by our outstanding students, faculty and staff whose tremendous dedication, commitment to excellence, and spirit of collaboration is unparalleled.” 

During his tenure as president, Farrar led the university through the COVID-19 pandemic and led the development of McMaster’s current strategic plan, Institutional Priorities and Strategic Framework 2021-2024. 

“I believe that, together, the McMaster community has accomplished a great deal,” says Farrar. “We emerged from the pandemic in a stable position, maintaining our strong financial position and improving our national and global reputation in the key areas of research and teaching.”

“We have also made significant progress in recruiting and retaining Black and Indigenous students and faculty, while strengthening our academic programs in these areas, and we have made great strides in our targeted areas of innovation, including cutting edge research on vaccines, research on electrified vehicles, nuclear power and sustainability.”

Over the next 18 months, Farrar will lead a process to refresh McMaster’s strategic plan, and will continue to focus on initiatives that accelerate McMaster’s commitment to a net-zero campus, modernize and streamline operational processes, strengthen the university’s innovation and commercialization ecosystem, support the implementation of the Digital Learning Strategic Framework, advance the principles of inclusive excellence, and support a culture of Truth and Reconciliation on McMaster’s campus, among other priorities.

“On behalf of the Board of Governors and the entire McMaster community, I offer sincere thanks and appreciation to David for his dedicated service and commitment, and for the extensive time, effort, and energy he has devoted to leading our institution and maintaining McMaster’s reputation for research and teaching innovation and excellence at the local, national, and global levels,” says Chair of McMaster’s Board of Governors, Jane Allen.

“There is much important work still to do and the Board of Governors looks forward to continuing to work with David to advance McMaster’s vision and mission over the next 18 months.”

Click here for the full message to the McMaster community from Board Chair Jane Allen

The search for McMaster’s next president will be led by the Board-Senate Committee to Recommend a President, and is made up of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and Board representatives, and supported by the University Secretariat. Further details and updates will be made available once the committee begins its work.