Indian-origin academic H. Deep Saini has been appointed as Montreal-based McGill University’s 18th Principal and Vice-Chancellor and will begin his five-year, renewable term from April next year.
Saini, who grew up in Punjab, is currently President and Vice-Chancellor of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.
“Prof Saini brings to McGill an exceptional breadth and depth of leadership experience, from Dalhousie, several other research-intensive universities in Canada and abroad,” Maryse Bertrand, Chair of McGill’s Board of Governors, said.
“He exemplifies the rare mix of strong academic leadership with a wide-ranging and international perspective. He is the perfect choice for McGill as it embarks on its third century,” Bertrand added.
A university statement described Saini as a “trusted and respected leader” who has worked at four of the top 15 research-intensive universities of the country.
Saini, who has a keen understanding of Quebec culture, having lived close to two decades in Montreal, said he is “humbled and honored” to be chosen for the post.
“Already a leader on the national and international stage, McGill is entering its third century poised to take its global impact even further. I am looking forward with great anticipation to returning to Montreal, joining this illustrious community, and making a bold contribution to the University’s most promising future,” Saini, who was chosen by a unanimous vote of the University’s Board of Governors, said.
Saini’s distinguished career has earned him several awards and recognitions, including honours from the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists, Nanjing University, the Royal Society of New South Wales, the Punjab Academy of Sciences, and the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce. He is also the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum and Diamond Jubilee Medals, in recognition of his service to education and Canada.
Saini completed his Master of Science (Honours) in Botany from Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana. Thereafter, he moved to Australia to earn a PhD in Plant Physiology from the University of Adelaide. He also served as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canberra in Australia. He is fluent in four languages, including English and French, and has also held national and international governance and advisory roles.