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Nick Saul, food and social justice activist, named 15th Chancellor of Victoria University in the University of Toronto

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Nick Saul Vic 9T0, an internationally renowned food and social justice activist, has been elected Victoria University’s 15th chancellor, Board of Regents Chair Lisa Khoo Vic 8T9 announced. Saul will begin his three-year term as chancellor when he is installed on May 14, 2020.

An Officer of the Order of Canada, and a recipient of the Jane Jacobs Award, and an honorary Doctor of Laws (Ryerson University), Saul is currently the co-founder and CEO of Community Food Centres Canada. For more than 30 years, he has worked in partnership with low-income communities, ensuring people live with dignity, health and equity.

“Through his work empowering people through access to good food, Nick is an inspiring example for Vic students, as well as all Canadians,” said Khoo. “In the face of global challenges, he shows us the power of community-based initiatives in making the world a better place. On behalf of the Board of Regents, I am very proud to welcome him back to the Vic fold to represent the University in this important role.”

Reacting to the appointment, Saul said he was surprised he was asked, but deeply honoured to return to Victoria University in this leadership capacity. “I was gob-smacked, to be honest, but this is an incredible opportunity,” Saul said.

Reflecting on how he will use his skills and experience in this role, Saul is particularly interested in how he can contribute to student life, wellness, and well-being at both Victoria and Emmanuel College. “We’re hearing stories about how students are more isolated and lonelier than ever... I found community in basketball and at Robarts when I was attended [the University of Toronto]…Community, generosity and kindness have always been central in my life. How can I support a sense of community [at Victoria]? How can I support students so they feel valued and heard? Everyone has something to contribute.”

The appointment of Saul was confirmed by Victoria University’s Board of Regents on Thursday, February 6, 2020. The search process was led by the Chancellor Search committee. It included members of the Board of Regents, faculty, senior administration, and students from across the University. The committee considered a diverse group of candidates from a wide range of backgrounds. After a six-month search process, committee members selected Saul and described him as a clear choice. 

“There was unanimous enthusiasm for Nick Saul’s nomination for chancellor,” said Victoria University President William Robins. “That enthusiasm just grew the more we learned about his work, his character, and his leadership…He exemplifies the ethos of both colleges with his commitment to social justice, and a stronger more equitable Canada.”

Katie Kwang, a third-year Victoria College student and member of the Chancellor Search committee agrees. “In a world increasingly defined by division, apathy, and degradation, Nick Saul is committed to achieving equity for the hardest to reach,” she said. “Throughout his extensive career in food justice, Nick has built his gifts in engaging communities to address global problems with local solutions. He leads by example, serving as a potential source of inspiration for Vic students past and present as they navigate an uncertain future. I can think of no better person to represent the transformative and humanistic power of a Vic education.”

All students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the Victoria University community are invited to Nick Saul’s installation which will take place at a later date.