Message to the McMaster community from Board of Governors chair Jane Allen
January 16, 2024
McMaster’s President and Vice-Chancellor, David Farrar, has advised the Board of Governors that he is not seeking re-appointment and will conclude his tenure as President when his current term ends on June 30, 2025.
On behalf of the Board of Governors and the entire McMaster community, I offer our 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.
David joined McMaster in October 2017 as Provost and Vice-President (Academic). He stepped into the role of Acting President on July 1, 2019, and was formally appointed McMaster’s eighth President and Vice-Chancellor in December 2019.
The McMaster University community owes David a huge debt of gratitude for leading our institution through the COVID-19 pandemic, including the transition from in-person to virtual operations, working to ensure the ongoing health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, and prioritizing issues of equity and accessibility.
During that time, he successfully led the development of McMaster’s Institutional Priorities and Strategic Framework 2021-2024, and used the extensive feedback received from the McMaster community to develop the five priorities that currently guide the University’s direction and approach.
As President, David has demonstrated a deep personal commitment to issues of equity, inclusion, and community-building. He was intentional in naming Inclusive Excellence as the first priority of the University’s strategic plan, and has led a number of important initiatives in this area, including the Black Excellence cohort hiring initiative, the launch of the Black Student Success Centre, and serving as Co-Chair of the Canada-Caribbean Institute.
He has also focused on advancing Indigenous activities, including supporting the development and launch of Indigenous Strategic Directions, and the creation of the Indigenous Studies Department, building on the success of the long-standing Indigenous Studies program.
An active researcher throughout his term as President, David has tirelessly championed McMaster’s research and scholarship, focusing on opportunities for interdisciplinary research, as well as support for commercialization and entrepreneurship across the innovation ecosystem. His leadership has also been characterized by a sustained focus on providing the best possible experience for McMaster’s students. This includes making use of active and flexible learning spaces to support inclusion and accessibility, ensuring the availability of experiential learning opportunities across the campus, and providing increased numbers of co-op, internship, and exchange placements.
Given the breadth of the University’s ambitions, David recognized the importance of effective campus operations and the best possible administrative support. His focus on operational excellence has been the catalyst for many positive initiatives across the campus, and his personal passion for sustainability is exemplified by the launch of McMaster’s first ever Sustainability Strategy in 2022.
We are grateful for all that David has accomplished to date and will, of course, thank him more formally before the end of his term in 2025.
In the meantime, 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. Particular areas of focus include developing the alternative revenue generation strategy to support and maintain the University’s fiscal position, preparing for the critically important research-focused fundraising campaign to ensure ongoing support for McMaster’s community of excellent researchers and scholars, further advancing community-building and inclusion initiatives, implementing the Teaching and Learning and Digital Learning strategies, and continuing to modernize and enhance operations across the University.
The search for McMaster’s next President will be led by the Board-Senate Committee to Recommend a President supported by the University Secretariat. Further details and updates will be made available once the Committee begins its work.