Allan Rock, President and Vice-Chancellor

Biography

Allan Rock

In July 2008, Allan Rock became the University of Ottawa’s 29th President and Vice-Chancellor since its foundation as Bytown College in 1848. He is a three-time University of Ottawa alumnus having graduated from the University of Ottawa High School before completing a Baccalaureate in Arts in 1968 and a law degree in 1971. His political career also had its roots at the University of Ottawa where he was elected president of the student federation in 1969.

For 20 years, Allan Rock conducted a varied practice in civil, commercial and administrative litigation. He was a frequent lecturer to members of the Bar in Continuing Legal Education, and taught “Advanced Trial Practice” at the Osgoode Hall Law School of York University.

In 1993, he was elected as the Member of Parliament for Etobicoke-Centre and named Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. In that capacity, he introduced significant improvements to the Criminal Code, the Canadian Human Rights Act and other federal legislation.

Allan Rock became Minister of Health in 1997, where he spearheaded the creation of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and more than doubled annual health research funding on a national scale.

Subsequently, as Minister of Industry and Minister of Infrastructure, he introduced Canada’s innovation strategy, was responsible for Canada’s three granting councils and introduced legislation to create the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation to promote applied research in the social sciences and the humanities.

Allan Rock was appointed Ambassador of Canada to the United Nations in December 2003. As the voice of Canadians at the United Nations, Allan Rock was an outspoken advocate of human rights, human security and reforming the UN. At the 2005 World Summit at the UN, he led the successful Canadian effort to secure the adoption by world leaders of the doctrine Responsibility to Protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Other roles at the UN included chairing a working group on obstacles to long-term development in Haiti, efforts to end the conflict in Northern Uganda and peace negotiations in Abuja, Nigeria involving the Government of Sudan and representatives of the three main rebel groups seeking greater autonomy for Darfur.

Allan Rock has received a number of awards including honorary degrees from the Law Society of Upper Canada (1996) and the University of Windsor (1997). He received the Meritas-Tabaret Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Ottawa in 2007 — conferred to graduates who have made a significant contribution in their field and who have contributed to the reputation of the University.

Role

The President is both the chief executive officer of the University and the chair of the Senate. In this capacity, the President oversees the University's academic affairs, its general administration, and its teaching and support staffs. 

The President is also the Vice-Chancellor of the University and, as such, performs the role of Chancellor if this person is absent or if the position is vacant.