Rector Emeritus


A historian by training, Marcel Hamelin studied at Laval University (Québec) where he obtained his doctoratès lettres in History. He has published several books and articles in the political history of Québec and Canada, focusing particularly on the development of Québec's parliamentary system, Canada's role on the international scene, and the career of Senator Raoul Dandurand, president of the League of Nations in 1925.

Headshot of Marcel Hamelin.


Elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1979, he was also named Commander of l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques (1994) and Officer of l'Ordre de la Pléiade (1997). He has received the Commemorative Medal of the 125th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation (1992) and the Jubilee Medal (2003).

He has worked within various professional and community organizations and as a board member of numerous professional associations, hospitals and cultural and artistic organizations. Since 1998, he has participated actively in the United Way campaigns in the Ottawa region, a contribution recognized with the Community Builder Prize which he received in 2000.

University Career

After a few years of teaching in Québec, Dr. Hamelin joined the University of Ottawa as a professor in the Department of History in 1966. He became Chair of the Department

(1968-1970), Vice-Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research (1972-1974) and then Dean of the Faculty of Arts, a position he held for sixteen years, beginning in 1974.

In 1990, he was appointed Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa. Founded in 1848, the University of Ottawa is a bilingual institution offering teaching and research programs in most academic disciplines to over 26,000 students. Dr. Hamelin was Rector for eleven years, until August 2001. The achievements of his mandate include the development of a strategic plan, the establishment of interdisciplinary programs and institutes, the implementation of a master plan for the campus, the investment of more than $200,000,000 in new facilities, and several successful fundraising campaigns (approximately $125,000,000).

University and International Cooperation

Throughout his academic career, Dr. Hamelin has been particularly interested in university cooperation, especially at the international level. He promoted academic exchanges between the University of Ottawa and several universities in the Arab world; his interest in this area led to the establishment of a program and a Chair in Arabic Studies. In 1996, the Government of Canada appointed him to the board of directors of the Foundation for Educational Exchange between Canada and the United States of America (the Fulbright Program); he was President of the Fulbright Commission in 1998 and has been its Treasurer since that year. He also participated in the Association of Commonwealth Universities and, in 1998, chaired the organizing committee for the quinquennial ACU General Conference that took place at the University of Ottawa.


Dr. Hamelin has been involved in numerous organizations and associations related to the Francophonie. In Canada, he participated in the creation of the Regroupement des universités francophones hors-Québec (RUFHQ) and of the Consortium des universités de la francophonie ontarienne (CUFO).

At the international level, he was for more than a decade a member of the Board of Directors of l'Association des universités partiellement ou entièrement de langue française (l'AUPELF), now the Agence universitaire de la francophonie (AUF), of which he was Vice-President from 1997 to 2001.

He played a key role in the planning of the 4th Francophone Games held in Ottawa-Hull in 2001 and, during this event, was Mayor of the Ottawa Olympic Village.

Latin America

Dr. Hamelin's interest in Latin America led him to participate in the Interamerican Organization for Higher Education (IOHE), of which he was Vice-President from 1997 to 2001. He is currently the Organization's Executive Director..

The IOHE represents some 400 universities in Canada, the United States and Latin America. It speaks for the university community of the Americas at a time when the process of global integration is becoming increasingly important.


Dr. Hamelin has a special attachment for Africa. He believes that development programs should be built on community involvement, that training programs should be better adapted to African realities, and that African universities should emphasize the use of new technologies, the development of more applied programs, and closer cooperation with the private sector.

In 2001, working with Dr. Don Kilby, Director of Health Services, University of Ottawa, he established the Canada-Africa Community Health Alliance ; the aims of this humanitarian foundation is to offer basic health care to isolated African villages, to participate in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and to contribute to the training of human resources.