Sun | Jun 16, 2024

J’can business leader elected chancellor of Canada’s largest university

Published:Saturday | May 25, 2024 | 12:08 AM
Wesley Hall, founder Kingsdale Shareholder Services, received the  2016 Vice Chancellor’s Award from Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, vice chancellor, The University of the West Indies.
Wesley Hall, founder Kingsdale Shareholder Services, received the 2016 Vice Chancellor’s Award from Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, vice chancellor, The University of the West Indies.

Jamaica-born Canadian businessman Wesley J. Hall has been elected to serve as the next chancellor of the University of Toronto (U of T).

Hall was elected by U of T’s College of Electors to serve a three-year term effective July 1, 2024.

He will be the university’s 35th chancellor since its founding in 1827.

“As I take on the role of the chancellor at the University of Toronto, I am deeply privileged and humbled to carry forward the institution’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and advancement, values that strongly align with my personal beliefs,” said Hall, who holds several honorary doctorates and an ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.”

“I take on this role with a vision where every voice resonates, every perspective is honoured and appreciated, and every opportunity is open to all, regardless of background or experience. Rooted in the belief that education is a fundamental human right, this esteemed position is about dismantling barriers and paving the way toward a more inclusive and equitable future for everyone.

“We are living in a diverse world – but there is still more work to be done. Together, let us champion inclusivity, ensuring that the university remains a beacon of excellence, progress and limitless possibilities.”

Elected for a three-year term, the chancellor is the ceremonial head of the university, presiding at convocations, conferring all university degrees, and acting as ambassador to the wider community and alumni worldwide. The chancellor also plays an essential role in advancing the university’s interests within the local, provincial, national and international arenas.

Wes Hall received an honorary doctorate (2017) as well as the Vice Chancellor’s Award (2015) from the University of the West Indies. He was also a co-patron of the UWI Toronto Benefit Awards. He was raised by his grandmother in Golden Grove, St. Thomas.


The release notes that Hall’s election follows a rigorous search process conducted by the College of Electors and chaired by Candice Jay. The college, which was established by the Governing Council in 1971, comprises members representing the constituent alumni associations of the University of Toronto Alumni Association (UTAA) and is charged with the responsibility of electing alumni governors and the chancellor.

“Dr. Wesley Hall is a widely respected and inspirational business leader, and he is deeply committed to creating opportunities for disadvantaged individuals and communities,” Meric Gertler, president of U of T Hall, shared in a release to the media.

“His professional and personal accomplishments and talents make him eminently qualified to take on the position of chancellor. I am delighted that he has accepted this key role and, on behalf of the entire University of Toronto, I thank him for his willingness to contribute his immense talent and experience to the advancement of our academic mission.”

Hall is executive chairman and founder of WeShall Investments, Kingsdale Advisers and the BlackNorth Initiative. WeShall Investments is a private equity firm with a diverse portfolio of companies predominantly led by BIPOC entrepreneurs. The BlackNorth Initiative is committed to removing systemic barriers impacting the black community.

Hall’s achievements in business, and his work to advance and broaden opportunities for the black community, have been recognised with numerous awards. In 2021, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award and, in 2022, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce recognised him as Canadian Business Leader of the Year. Long celebrated for his generosity and his commitment to charitable causes, Hall’s board service includes SickKids Foundation, Pathways to Education Canada, the Toronto International Film Festival and Huron University College. He also served on the Capital Markets Modernization Task Force for the Ontario Ministry of Finance.