Stephen Toope takes office as Vice-Chancellor of the University

Noella Chye 1 October 2017

Stephen Toope, a professor of law, was appointed as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge on September 26th last year, and will take office today, replacing Sir Leszek Borysiewicz.

Toope was appointed the 346th Vice-Chancellor of the University — its principal academic and administrative officer — after being nominated by the University Council, and Regent House, consisting of more than 5,000 academics and senior administrators.

A scholar specialising in human rights, international dispute resolution, international environmental law, the use of force, and international legal theory, Toope holds degrees in common law (LLB) and civil law (BCL) with honours from McGill University (1983).

He graduated from Harvard with a Bachelor of Arts in history and literature in 1979, and completed his PhD at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1987. He went on to serve as first the dean of McGill University, then president of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, an education foundation.

Other roles include president and vice-chancellor of the University of British Columbia, and representing Western Europe and North America on the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances from 2002 to 2007. He took on the role of Director of the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs in January 2015. That year, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Master of Jesus College, Professor Ian White, headed the Search Committee for Sir Borysiewicz's successor, and commented, 'Professor Toope has impeccable academic credentials, a longstanding involvement with higher education, strong leadership experience and an excellent research background.'

In his farewell reception delivered in July this year, present Vice-Chancellor of the University, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, reflected on both the progress of the University since he took office on October 1st 2010, and what remains to be done. He noted the need for more diversity in the undergraduate student body, and remarked 'There is still much work to be done, and we will continue to work closely with MPs and Ministers on these issues.' 

Speaking of his appointment, Professor Toope commented, 'I am thrilled to be returning to this great university. I look forward to working with staff and students in the pursuit of academic excellence and tremendous international engagement – the very mark of Cambridge.'