Professor Alexandra Gillespie became Principal of the University of Toronto Mississauga—the first female Principal in the campus’ five-decade history—on July 1. An internationally renowned researcher, award-winning teacher and dynamic and creative leader, Gillespie assumed, concurrently, the role of Vice President, University of Toronto.
Her five-year term started amidst a pandemic, at a challenging time for both the university and the broader community. Under her leadership, UTM continues to adapt, making health and safety its highest priority while maintaining the exceptional quality of education at Canada’s top-ranked university. Now, as always, Gillespie strives to foster a culture of wellness, excellence and inclusion that meets people where they are.
An expert on the 14th-century poet Geoffrey Chaucer, Gillespie joined UTM as an assistant professor in 2004. She has since won UTM’s Award for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence, chaired the Department of English & Drama in a period of remarkable growth, and acted as Vice-Presidential Special Advisor, Research. She founded the Jackman Humanities Institute’s tricampus Digital Humanities Network and, as director of the Old Books New Science Lab, has garnered over $2.5 million in international research funding.
Since assuming her new role, Gillespie has become an active member of Mississauga’s Economic Resiliency Task Force and a sector lead for education and non-profit on the Mississauga Board of Trade’s Economic Recovery Group. Here, she capitalizes on a broad skillset. Prior to her graduate studies at Oxford, Gillespie worked as a management consultant in New Zealand’s education sector.
Gillespie is honoured, thrilled and ready to lead UTM. “This is a challenging time for folks at UTM, as it is for everyone,” she notes. “But our community is resilient, and our outstanding students, staff, teachers and researchers are poised to transform Canada and the world.”