July 20, 2023
Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon has been named the 17th President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of British Columbia, the university announced today.
“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Bacon to UBC,” said UBC Board of Governors Chair, Nancy McKenzie. “Dr. Bacon brings outstanding leadership qualities, vision, experience and a strong relationship-based approach to engagement with students, faculty and staff, and the broader post-secondary community. We are excited to work with him to realize UBC’s vision of inspiring people, ideas and actions for a better world.”
An accomplished researcher and teacher, Dr. Bacon has a remarkable track record as a senior administrative leader at major research universities in Canada. Currently President and Vice-Chancellor of Carleton University in Ottawa, a position he has held since 2018, Dr. Bacon previously served as Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) at Queen’s University and as Provost and Vice-President (Academic Affairs) at Concordia University in his hometown of Montreal. At Carleton University, Dr. Bacon has been recognized for many accomplishments including significant increases in student success, research funding and fundraising, as well as marked progress in Indigenous initiatives, wellness, sustainability, and equity, diversity and inclusion. As a result, the university has experienced a sharp rise in its national profile and reputation.
He holds a PhD in neuropsychology from the University of Montreal and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Dr. Bacon’s research is in the field of neurophysiological and cognitive bases of visual and multisensory perception. Sharing his own lived experience, he also advocates nationally for open conversations about mental health and substance use.
“I am very honoured to join The University of British Columbia, a truly world-leading institution,” said Dr. Bacon. “UBC is deeply committed to serving the public good through academic and research excellence, to advancing on the path of Indigenous reconciliation and to addressing today’s most pressing global challenges such as health and wellness, social inequalities and climate change. I very much look forward to working with the entire community to develop and realize a shared vision for a bright future.”
Dr. Bacon was selected following an international search by a 15-member committee comprising faculty, staff, students, alumni, senate and board members from the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses, and advised throughout the process by Associate Vice-President, Equity and Inclusion, Dr. Arig al Shaibah. Chaired by UBC Chancellor, the Honourable Steven Point, the search committee sought input from the university community to identify the experience and qualities they wished to see in the university’s next leader.
“I am very pleased that Dr. Bacon will be joining the university as its new President,” said Chancellor Point. “Dr. Bacon’s passion and commitment to moving forward on priorities for the university and his approach as an individual and university leader are inspiring.”
Dr. Bacon will begin his five-year term as President and Vice-Chancellor of UBC on November 1.
Professor Deborah Buszard has served as Interim President and Vice-Chancellor of UBC since October 2022, and will continue her service in this role until Dr. Bacon’s arrival.
“I would like to thank Professor Buszard for returning to UBC and graciously agreeing to serve as Interim President and Vice-Chancellor,” said Chair Nancy McKenzie. “The Board has appreciated her counsel and leadership of the university during this period of transition and wish her well in all her future endeavours.”
Dr. Benoit-Antoine Bacon joins UBC from Carleton University in Ottawa where he has been serving as President and Vice-Chancellor since 2018. For the past several years, he has also been serving on the Board of Directors of Universities Canada and on the Executive Committee of the Council of Ontario Universities.
He has previously served as Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) at Queen’s University in Kingston and as Provost and Vice-President (Academic Affairs) at Concordia University in his hometown of Montreal, where he was recognized with an award as Sustainability Champion.
His first academic appointment was at Bishop’s University, where he served in a number of leadership roles including Dean of Arts and Science and chief negotiator for the Association of Professors of Bishop’s University. He is a three-time recipient of Bishop’s Merit Award for exceptional performance in teaching and research.
Dr. Bacon holds a PhD in neuropsychology from the University of Montreal, after which he undertook a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. His research in the field of cognitive neuroscience focuses on the links between brain activity and perception in the visual, auditory and vestibular systems, as well as on multisensory integration.
Sharing his own lived experience, he advocates nationally for open conversations about mental health and substance use. These efforts have been recognized with a Transformational Leader Inspiration Award from the Royal Ottawa Hospital, and the Honorary Presidency of the Canadian Psychological Association.