Presidents Emeriti

amit chakmaAmit Chakma (2009-2019)

A graduate of chemical engineering from UBC and an expert in petroleum waste management, Dr. Chakma became Western's 10th President & Vice-Chancellor in July 2009 after serving eight years at the University of Waterloo as Vice-President, Academic & Provost. Under Chakma's leadership, Western aspired to raise its expectations beyond its brand as "Canada's best student experience at a research-intensive university" to becoming a more global university with higher recognition for its research and teaching on the world stage.

Paul Theodore DavenportPaul Theodore Davenport (1994-2009)

A graduate of Stanford and the University of Toronto, Dr. Davenport was a professor of economics, associate dean of graduate studies and vice-principal of planning and computer services at McGill (1973-1989) before becoming president of the University of Alberta. Upon his arrival at Western in 1994, he initiated a strategic plan titled Leadership in Learning that promoted the idea of identifying the University's existing strengths and emerging areas of excellence.

Knud George PedersenKnud George Pedersen (1985-1994)

Before coming to Western, Dr. Pedersen was president of the University of British Columbia and said he was leaving B.C. to make a statement about that province's education financing policies; however, growing concern about government cutbacks was also an issue in Ontario and at Western. Prior to his post at UBC, the Alberta native had also served as president of Simon Fraser University and vice-president academic at the University of Victoria.

Alan Kenneth AdlingtonAlan Kenneth Adlington (1984-1985)

Dr. Adlington was an economist and senior administrator at Western for more than a decade before his appointment as Acting President following Connell's departure for Toronto, and he continued in his role as Vice-president Administration. His appointment was made to maintain the thrust of long-term projects such as the Robarts Research Institute, the Community Health Unit and what would become the National Centre for Management Research and Development at the business school. 

George Edward ConnellGeorge Edward Connell (1977-1984)

A native of Saskatoon and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Dr. Connell earned his PhD in biochemistry at the University of Toronto, where he eventually served as associate dean of medicine, vice-president of research and planning and chair of the university's budget committee. Upon his arrival as Western's sixth president, he began restructuring the administration to group responsibilities.

David Carlton WilliamsDavid Carlton Williams (1967-1977)

Dr. Williams' presidency was one of buoyant optimism during which Western continued to grow and diversify. The range and depth of its intellectual pursuits, the richness of its cultural life and athletic activity, and the variety of social life on its campus all became more sophisticated as Western matured into a major university. After completing undergraduate studies in his home province of Manitoba and pursuing graduate studies in psychology at the University of Toronto in 1940, and served as an officer in the RCAF.

George Edward HallGeorge Edward Hall (1947-1967)

Impressed by his military medical research and international reputation, Western officials were fortunate to recruit the remarkably young and accomplished Dr. Hall as the Dean of Medicine in 1945. By age 32, Hall had earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture, a master's degree in biochemistry, a doctorate in physiology and a medical degree.

William Sherwood FoxWilliam Sherwood Fox (1927-1947)

Invited by Dr. Braithwaite, Dr. Fox came to Western in 1917 from Princeton University as head of the Classics department. He became Dean of Arts in 1919 and was eventually appointed President in 1927. Dr. Fox saw Western expand in three ways during his tenure.

Triumvirate of Deans (1919-1927)

President Braithwaite's sudden resignation in 1919 began an era when no president presided over Western; three deans (Paul. S. McKibbon, Medicine; Hibbert W. Hill, Public Health; and W. Sherwood Fox, Arts) administered the University until 1927. During this time, Western struggled to accommodate an influx of returning war veterans and a large number of high school students entering first-year studies.

Edward Ernest BraithwaiteEdward Ernest Braithwaite (1914-1919)

The Reverend Dr. Braithwaite arrived in 1914 with impressive credentials. He had degrees from the University of Toronto, McGill, Oberlin College in Ohio, and an MA and PhD from Harvard. He was a Congregational minister who taught at Oberlin, was chairman of the Congregational Union of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and pastor of a church in Massachusetts.

Nathaniel Chamney JamesNathaniel Chamney James (1908-1914)

Dr. James came to Western from Germany's Halle University in 1896 to teach modern languages. A graduate of the University of Toronto, James was appointed registrar and bursar in 1898, three years before being elected Western's provost when a change in the constitution allowed someone other than the principal of Huron College to be so. A decade later, he became Western's first President and Vice-Chancellor.