Dr. Nancy McCain appointed as Acadia University’s new Chancellor

Wolfville, NS – The Chair of Acadia’s Board of Governors, Henry Demone (’76), today announced that alumna Dr. Nancy McCain (’82, ’21) has been chosen as the University's eighth Chancellor. McCain will succeed Dr. Bruce Galloway (’68, ’03), who has served in the role since 2018.

"Nancy McCain is a true champion for Acadia,” said Demone. "She has consistently demonstrated through words, actions, and leadership how much she genuinely cares for our faculty, staff, and – most notably – our students. We are exceptionally fortunate to have Dr. McCain as an advocate for our university, and even more-so now to welcome her as our Chancellor.”

“I also want to thank Dr. Bruce Galloway for his invaluable service over the past six years and for everything he has done for Acadia. We’ve had many changes and challenges during this time, and Bruce was our steady anchor. In part thanks to him, Acadia is on an upward and optimistic path today as he hands the reins over to Nancy.”

Like many members of her extended family, McCain came from her hometown of Florenceville, NB to study at Acadia University. Soon after graduating in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts, she attended the University of Grenoble and completed her Master of Arts Administration at New York University. McCain went on to pursue a career in the arts, working for Sotheby’s in London and New York and later at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. In 2021, Acadia bestowed her with an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree, and in 2023, she was the recipient of a Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa from OCAD University. For 2024/25, McCain is an Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow at Harvard University.

During Acadia’s 2021 Convocation ceremony, where McCain received her honorary Doctor of Humanities degree, she told the graduating class, “As you take your next steps, never forget the important lessons you learned at Acadia: the importance of giving; of finding and creating community; and of making a difference when and where you can.”

These aren’t just pleasant words of advice; for McCain, it’s an ethos that she lives by. A tireless community leader, McCain has made substantial differences in the lives of others through her volunteering, recruiting, fundraising, governance work, and financial contributions.

McCain is currently engaged as the Co-Chair of the National Arts Centre Next Act Campaign, trustee of the Sobey Art Foundation, Director at the Canada Art Institute and the Council for Canadian American Relations, and Director Emerita of the National Gallery of Art Foundation. She recently completed her term as Chair of the Toronto Foundation. Her previous roles include Chair of the Arts Access Fund, President of the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, and Co-Chair of the Canadian Art Foundation, as well as being a board member of Soulpepper Theatre Company, and a trustee for the Hospital for Sick Children. She is also President of the Morneau-McCain Foundation, where she spearheaded the Foundation’s work with the University of Toronto on an initiative to provide scholarships and permanent residency to girls from the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya.

As impressive as all this work is, no organization has benefited from McCain’s generosity and talents like Acadia University. McCain joined Acadia’s Board of Governors in May 2007. Her considerable boardroom experience consistently helped the university successfully navigate various challenges, uncertainties, and opportunities.

In 2013, McCain, together with her siblings (Stephen (’81), Margie (’77, ’79), Allison, Kathy, and Linda), invested a $1-million donation for much-needed repairs and upgrades to Acadia’s arena complex, which was then renamed the Andrew H. McCain Arena in honour of their father. This contribution is in addition to the many transformative gifts made by the McCain family to Acadia over the years.  

A longtime member of Acadia’s Board Advancement Committee, in 2018, McCain was asked to chair the Campaign for Acadia, the University’s most ambitious fundraising initiative, with a goal of raising $75 million. Under her leadership, the campaign raised $86.8 million, making history as Acadia’s most successful campaign to date. Together with her husband, the Hon. Bill Morneau, she announced a $2-million cornerstone donation for the Student Centre project in 2020 and has continued to lead fundraising efforts for Acadia by chairing the Student Centre Campaign, Build.

"Nancy is the kind of leader who not only uses her impressive talents, resources, and networks to make the world better, she also draws people in to join the effort," said Dr. Jeff Hennessy (’99), Acadia's President and Vice-Chancellor. "She embodies the best of Acadia and I can’t think of a better role model for our students. To now have Nancy as our Chancellor is an incredible gift to our entire community."

"It’s an honour to be named Chancellor of Acadia, a place that means so much to me," said McCain. "As a parent of two recent Acadia grads, Acadia is more than an institution to me; it's a trusted home.”

“I’m excited to build on the momentum that the university has been fostering, and to live up to the high bar set by Acadia’s past Chancellors, including Dr. Bruce Galloway, Dr. Libby Burnham (’60, ’00), and the late Chancellor Emeritus Dr. Arthur Irving (’52, ’03). I’m looking forward to getting to know the Acadia community on this new level and seeing what we can accomplish together."

McCain’s start date as Acadia’s Chancellor is set for July 1, 2024.

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