U of G president Franco Vaccarino

Franco Vaccarino has indicated his intention to complete his term as president and vice-chancellor of the University of Guelph, effective Aug. 1, 2020.

“Serving as president and vice-chancellor of the University of Guelph has been an extraordinary privilege, and I am deeply honoured to have had the opportunity to make a contribution to this University and its future,” Vaccarino said.

“This was a difficult decision for me, but transitions are important and timing is important. And I believe the timing is right, both for me personally and for the University, to make this change. I have spent a great deal of time and energy working with the U of G community to build on the University’s longstanding history and strengths, balancing our position as a global powerhouse in agri-food and veterinary sciences with being a top comprehensive university. I am proud of what we have accomplished together.”

U of G is well positioned for a strong future, academically and financially, Vaccarino said.

“This University is a vibrant, diverse and engaging place. There are many exciting new programs and initiatives on the horizon, including a broadened national and international role in teaching, learning and research. I know that our talented faculty, staff, students, alumni and partners will continue to work hard to take U of G to new heights of success.”

Vaccarino said he is looking forward to continuing his research and scholastic interests. A neuroscientist and an internationally recognized expert in the areas of mental health and addiction, he will continue serving as a faculty member in the Department of Psychology following an administrative leave beginning in fall 2020.

“I plan to spend the coming academic year continuing the momentum we’ve started and supporting key initiatives,” he said.

First appointed to a five-year term in 2014, Vaccarino is U of G’s eighth president.

“Franco Vaccarino has been an excellent president, and the University of Guelph has benefited greatly from his leadership during the past five years,” said Shauneen Bruder, chair of the University’s Board of Governors.

“In particular, his creative, positive and strategic vision for U of G has positioned us to build on our reputation in Canada and beyond as a top-tier comprehensive research university.”

Under his leadership, the University has a renewed strategic planning framework that brought together members from the U of G community to create a foundation to guide planning and decision-making.

The University also reached new heights in fundraising and research during his tenure, raising its profile provincially, nationally and globally.

Bruder praised Vaccarino for his aspirational leadership approach and energy, and his engagement both within U of G and with its broader communities.

“We plan to build on president Vaccarino’s many successes and continue promoting the important work being done at this world-class institution,” she said.

A formal presidential search in accordance with Board of Governors policies and procedures will commence in the coming weeks. “We will work to ensure a smooth transition period for the University, and the University community will be kept informed throughout the process,” Bruder said.

Previously at the University of Toronto and U of T Scarborough, Vaccarino also served at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, both in Toronto.

A widely published and internationally recognized researcher on the neurobiology of stress and motivation, he is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, considered among the highest honours for health sciences researchers.

He holds a B.Sc. from the University of Toronto and an M.Sc. and a PhD in psychology from McGill University.