Trinity College Appoints Brian Lawson as 13th Chancellor

Posted: April 27, 2023

Brian LawsonTrinity College is pleased to announce the appointment of Brian Lawson as the 13th Chancellor of Trinity College, effective April 27, 2023, for a four-year term.

“We are thrilled to have Brian Lawson as our new Chancellor. A dedicated alumnus and long-serving volunteer at both Trinity College and the University of Toronto, Brian embodies the absolute best of Trinity College. As someone who is known for his wisdom and generosity of spirit, Brian exemplifies our commitment to making a positive difference in everything we do,” said Professor Mayo Moran, Provost & Vice-Chancellor, Trinity College.

As Trinity College’s highest-ranking volunteer officer, the Chancellor presides over Matriculation Convocation and the Faculty of Divinity Convocation, chairs the meetings of Corporation, and sits as an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees and other Board committees. The Chancellor also plays an essential ambassadorial role in advancing the interests of the College within the local, national and international arenas.

“Brian’s incredible history of service to the community and outstanding record of excellence in his professional field, alongside his deep understanding of the University of Toronto, Trinity College and our federated relationship will serve the College well,” said Sharon Geraghty, Chair, Trinity College Board of Trustees.

“I am honoured and excited to serve Trinity College and its community as Chancellor. The College has a proud history of preparing its graduates to lead meaningful lives and make a positive difference in our world, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to continue supporting this,” Chancellor Brian Lawson said.

Chancellor Lawson is a Vice-Chair of Brookfield Corporation and was named Canada’s CFO of the Year in 2013. He and his wife Joannah are committed Trinity College volunteers and in 2019, they helped launch the Living Trinity Campaign with a leadership gift to the Lawson Centre for Sustainability and the Integrated Sustainability Initiative. Previously, they established the Joannah & Brian Lawson Centre for Child Nutrition at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Chancellor Lawson was first appointed to Governing Council at the University of Toronto in 2014. He served as Chair of both the Business Board and the Audit Committee of the University of Toronto before serving as Chair of Governing Council during 2021-2022, and is a Co-Chair of the Defy Gravity campaign. Chancellor Lawson is a member of the Corporation of Trinity College and among other volunteer roles, he is also a director and supporter of Community Food Centres Canada.

“On behalf of the University of Toronto, I am delighted to congratulate Brian Lawson on his appointment as Chancellor of Trinity College,” said U of T President Meric Gertler. “In addition to his prominence in the Trinity community, Brian is an outstanding citizen of the wider U of T, with an impressive record of service as one of our leading volunteers, and, alongside his wife Joannah, one of our most generous philanthropic supporters. We look forward to working with him in his new role.”

In recognition of outstanding volunteerism with the College over the years and exemplary leadership in the community, in 2022 Trinity College conferred the degree of Doctor of Sacred Letters (honoris causa) upon Brian and Joannah Lawson.

“Brian and Joannah are passionate champions of the interconnected issues of human health and environmental sustainability. Through their inspirational support, the College has been able to realize our vision of integrating sustainability into all facets of college life, from enhancing the student experience and academic programs to building for a more sustainable future,” Provost Moran said.

Following the death last summer of the Hon. William (Bill) C. Graham, who Trinity was fortunate to have serve as Chancellor for an astounding 15 years, at the Fall 2022 Meeting of Corporation, a Nominating Committee was struck in accordance with the Statutes to consider persons for the office of Chancellor. The Nominating Committee was composed of Sharon Geraghty (Chair of the Board of Trustees), Alex Smith (Chair of Senate), Michael Ratcliffe (Dean of Arts and Vice-Provost), Shannon Garden-Smith (Chair of Convocation), Yohan Dumpala (Divinity Alumnus), Jerome Chang (Associate Registrar and Staff Member), and Mariana Castrillon (Undergraduate Student), with Mayo Moran (Provost and Vice-Chancellor) acting as Chair and an ex-officio member.

“I want to thank those who brought forward nominations and members of the committee for their work in selecting Trinity College’s next chancellor,” Provost Moran added. “We look forward to providing opportunities for members of the Trinity community – fellow volunteers, students, alumni, faculty and staff – to meet Chancellor Lawson in the coming months.”

The appointment of the 13th Chancellor was approved at the Spring Meeting of the Corporation of Trinity College on April 27, 2023. The installation ceremony for Chancellor Lawson is scheduled for Trinity College Matriculation Convocation on September 6, 2023.