William C. Leggett

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William C. Leggett

William C. Leggett, CM, FRSC served as the 17th Principal of Queen's University from 1994 to 2004.[1] He was only the second scientist to hold the Principalship. Leggett's term as Principal was notable for his strong leadership and his insistence on measuring Queen's against the highest national and international standards. Dr. Leggett is currently Principal Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Biology at Queen's. He is the author/co-author of over 170 peer reviewed scientific publications in the fields of Fish Ecology and Fisheries Oceanography.


Leggett was born in 1939 in Orangeville, Ontario, He received his high school education at Orangeville District High School and a B.A. from Waterloo University College (now Wilfrid Laurier University) in 1962. He then studied Zoology at the University of Waterloo, from which he obtained his M.Sc. in 1965, and McGill University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1969. Following several years as a research scientist at the Essex Marine Laboratory in Essex, Connecticut Leggett had a long and successful career at McGill: he was appointed an Assistant Professor in 1970, Associate Professor in 1974, full Professor in 1979, Chair of Biology in 1981, Dean of Science in 1986 and Vice-Principal Academic in 1991. He left McGill to become Principal of Queen's University in 1994.

Leggett's tenure at Queen's saw the largest capital renewal program in the University's 160-year history, including the construction of Chernoff Hall, Goodes Hall, Beamish-Munro Hall, Leggett Hall and Watts Hall, the expansion of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre and the renovation/restoration of Gordon Hall. During his tenure Queen's moved to a clear leadership position in Canada in the participation of students in international study programs, completed the largest fund-raising campaign in its history, more than doubled its research funding, and strengthened its leadership position in Canadian post-secondary education.

Leggett's work, both in biological science and as a leader in Canadian education, has resulted in numerous national and international awards, including membership in the Order of Canada, Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada, Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International, honorary degrees from McGill, Queen's, McMaster, Laval, Wilfrid Laurier and Waterloo Universities, the Fry Medal of the Canadian Society of Zoologists and, from the American Fisheries Society, the Award of Excellence in Fisheries Education for his exceptional contributions to undergraduate and graduate level education in his discipline, and the Oscar A. Sette Award and the Award of Excellence for outstanding research contributions to fisheries and marine ecology. His research publications have been identified by the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) as being among the most highly cited in his field worldwide.[2]

Academic offices
Preceded by
David Chadwick Smith
Principal of Queen's University
Succeeded by
Karen R. Hitchcock