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U of T Engineering’s Claire Kennedy elected chair of Governing Council

Chemical Engineering alumna Claire Kennedy began her term as chair in July (photo by Roberta Baker)

U of T Engineering alumna Claire Kennedy has been elected chair of the University of Toronto’s Governing Council, which oversees the academic, business and student affairs of the University.

Kennedy's term as chair began July 1, 2017. She succeeded former city manager of Toronto Shirley Hoy

Kennedy has served on the Governing Council since 2012 as a Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council appointed member, and has been active on its Business Board, Pension Committee and Executive Committee. 

“I’m honoured and humbled by the trust and confidence shown by the members of Governing Council and the greater U of T community,” Kennedy said. “I’ve had the privilege to play a number of roles at U of T over the years – as a student, volunteer and donor – which have given me a rich perspective of the University. But that’s only one perspective. There are 50 members of Governing Council and a tremendous number of senior volunteer alumni, faculty, staff and students who are very important in the work that we do. As chair, it will be equally essential for me to listen to the U of T community, as it will be to take action.”

Kennedy has a rich history of engagement in governance and the engineering community at U of T. She has served as a member of the Dean's Strategic Development Council and Campaign Cabinet Executive, member and past chair of the department of chemical engineering and applied chemistry’s advisory board, member and past president of the Engineering Alumni Network, and is the founder of BizSkule, one of the Faculty’s most successful alumni outreach programs. Kennedy also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board at the Rotman School of Management.

“On behalf of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, I extend our warm congratulations to Claire on her election to this prestigious position,” said Professor Cristina Amon, dean of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. “We are grateful for her tireless dedication and commitment to the University. I know she will bring the same vision, passion and leadership to this important role as she has always demonstrated as member of our Skule™ community.”

Kennedy's volunteer service to U of T was recognized with an Arbor Award in 2007 and a Malcolm F. McGrath Alumni Achievement Award in 2013. 

“I really do believe that a publicly funded, academically elite university – and one that fulfills the Ontario Student Access Guarantee the way that U of T does – is a powerful vector of social mobility in the country,” Kennedy said. “It’s a really important tool to support the vision that we have as Canadians to create opportunity and prosperity for everyone.”  

Kennedy’s contributions to the engineering profession extend beyond U of T. She served as a Camp One warden for the Ritual of the Calling of the Engineer (Iron Ring Ceremony) in 2011, and received an Ontario Professional Engineers Award in 2015, recognizing her significant contributions to society.

Kennedy is a partner at Bennett Jones LLP and is recognized as one of Canada’s leading tax lawyers and transfer pricing advisors. She also is a director of the Bank of Canada, the country's central bank, and of Alamos Gold Inc., a publicly traded mining company. 

In 2016, she climbed Mount Vinson – one of the world’s Seven Summits – with a combined soldier-civilian team for True Patriot Love, a national charity that supports the wellbeing of military veterans and their families.