President Lenton takes on role as Chair of eminent advocacy council for higher education in Canada

Rhonda Lenton

York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton was announced as the new council Chair for the Council of Ontario Universities (COU). The two-year appointment came into effect on July 1.

As council Chair, Lenton will help advance COU’s mission, which is to collaborate and advocate for the success of students, communities and the province of Ontario. 

“I am delighted to be assuming the role of COU council Chair, where I can continue to advocate for the higher education sector and quality education that is accessible and inclusive for all students studying in Canada,” says Lenton. “Universities have never been more important to produce the talent, research and creative activities needed to enhance the well-being of the communities we serve. I look forward to collaborating with leaders in higher education, government and industry to enhance our collaboration in addressing what is an increasingly volatile and uncertain time.” 

President Lenton has been a strong proponent for the financial sustainability of universities as well as for 21st-century learning and knowledge for the future, including strengthening York’s impact on the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This past year, York was ranked among the world’s top 35 institutions for its impact on the SDGs. A dedicated proponent of community engagement and innovative partnerships, Lenton has championed co-operation both among post-secondary education institutions and across sectors locally and globally to advance the complex challenges the world faces, including climate change, poverty and inequality.  

In addition to taking on this new role as Chair, Lenton continues to advance the post-secondary sector through her roles on Universities Canada’s Internationalization Committee, the Association of Commonwealth Universities’ Executive, the Canada India Business Council Advisory Board, the Loran Scholars Board, the Business and Higher Education Roundtable Board, and the Conference Board of Canada.  

Lenton joined York University in 2002 as dean of the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. She then served as York’s inaugural vice-provost academic from 2009 to 2012, and then as the University’s vice-president academic and provost from 2012 until April 2017.  As president, she continues to advance York’s vision and priorities, raising the University’s presence and profile as a leader in post-secondary education.