Jamaican Canadian Named New Chancellor at the University of Toronto

Jamaican Canadian business leader Wesley J. Hall has been elected to a three-year term as Chancellor of the University of Toronto. By the university’s College of Electors. His term will begin on July 1, 2024, and will be the 35th individual to serve in this role since the university’s founding in 1827. Hall was elected after a rigorous search conducted by the College of Electors chaired by Candice Jay.

Hall to champion inclusivity

Commenting on his election as chancellor, Hall said he felt privileged and humbled to be in charge of carrying forward the university’s “commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and advancement,” which he said were values that aligned closely with his personal beliefs. Hall added that he takes on his new role intending to foster an environment where every voice is heard and every viewpoint honored. He believes that education is a basic human right and sees his position as facilitating a way to achieve a more equitable and inclusive future for all. He also said he wants to ensure that the university remains “a beacon of excellence, progress and limitless possibilities.”

A widely respected leader

Hall’s election was praised by the university, with its president, Meric Gertler noting that Hall was well respected and committed to creating opportunity for disadvantaged communities and people. Gertler also said that Hall has the professional and personal achievements to be “eminently qualified” for the chancellor position. The chair of the university’s Governing Council, Anna Kennedy, also noted Hall’s achievements in the business sector and his dedication to the empowerment of marginalized groups. She described him as an “authentic leader and community builder” and looks forward to his “transformative leadership.”

Wesley J Hall - Jamaican Canadian 2
Wesley J. Hall

The new chancellor’s duties

During his three-year term as chancellor, Hall will serve as the ceremonial head of the university. He will preside at all convocations, confer all degrees, and be the ambassador for the institution in the community and among alumni worldwide. He will also be instrumental in advancing the interests of the university at the local, national, and global levels.

Hall’s notable achievements

Wesley Hall is the executive and founder of the private equity firm, WeShall Investments, which holds a portfolio of firms headed by BIPOC entrepreneurs. His work with the BlackNorth Initiative is designed to remove systemic obstacles that challenge the Black community, and he has also improved the lives of children in the Caribbean and Canada by donating money and time. Hall also serves as a mentor to many Black entrepreneurs in Canada. Together with the BlackNorth Initiative in 2021, he collaborated with the Rotman School of Management in the development of a new course on Black entrepreneurship, the first such course in North America. He received a Doctor of Laws honoris causa from the University of Toronto in 2023 in recognition of his outstanding service to the local community and his corporate and entrepreneurial leadership.

Photo – University of Toronto