James Alexander MacLean
1913 - 1934, First President
Dr. MacLean was a native of southern Ontario. Educated at the University of Toronto and Columbia University, he spent his early academic career in the U.S., first at Colorado University and then as president of the University of Idaho. As president from 1913-1934, Dr. MacLean oversaw the university's first period of expansion.
Sidney Earle Smith
1934 - 1944, Second President
Professor Smith was educated at King's College and Dalhousie, and, after teaching several years at Osgoode Hall, returned to Dalhousie as dean of its law school. After ten years as president of the University of Manitoba, he left Manitoba for the University of Toronto where he became president in 1945. He later became Minister of External Affairs in the first Diefenbaker government.
Henry Percy Armes
1944 - 1945, Acting/Third President
Dr. Armes was born in Nottingham, England and attended Leeds University. He came to the University of Manitoba in 1909 as senior demonstrator in the Department of Chemistry. He was appointed the Head of the Chemistry Department in 1937 and in 1939 he was chosen dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science. Except for his years of overseas service in World War I, Dr. Armes maintained a continuous association with the University until his retirement in 1949.
Albert William Trueman
1945 - 1948, Fourth President
Dr. Trueman was educated at Mount Allison and Oxford. After leaving the University of Manitoba in 1948, he became president at the University of New Brunswick. He also had a distinguished career as a cultural administrator, first as head of the National Film Board and then as the first director of the Canada Council.
Albert Henry S. Gillson
1948 - 1954, Fifth President
Dr. Gillson was a Cambridge graduate, a mathematician, and an art lover. Before moving to Manitoba, he spent many years at McGill University as the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science. He was an enthusiastic supporter of research and established the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Dr. Gillson's appreciation of fine printing influenced the university to acquire the Dysart Memorial Collection of books and manuscripts.
Hugh Hamilton Saunderson
1954 - 1970, Sixth President
Dr. Saunderson received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Manitoba. He received his Ph.D. from McGill University. His formal association with the university began in 1932 with an appointment as lecturer in the Chemistry Department. In 1945 he became dean of Arts and Science. During his years as president, student enrollment rose from 4000 in 1954 to 13,000 by 1970. Physical expansion including several new buildings was a mark of his term.
1970 - 1976, Seventh President
A native of Winkler, Manitoba, Dr. Sirluck graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1940. After serving overseas with the Canadian army, he obtained his M.A. and PhD. from the University of Toronto. A respected Milton scholar, he taught at the University of Chicago and was vice-president of the University of Toronto before becoming president of the University of Manitoba in 1970.
1976 - 1981, Eighth President
A native of southern Ontario, Dr. Campbell studied at the University of Toronto and at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in agricultural economics. Prior to his appointment as president, he was principal of Scarborough College, University of Toronto. He was also very active in international development, serving as an economic advisor to governments in Jordan and Kenya.
1981 - 1996, Ninth President
A native of Winnipeg, Dr. Naimark received his MD from the University of Manitoba and served as head of the Department of Physiology, and later as dean of the Faculty of Medicine before becoming president. He has also had a distinguished career in public service as the chair of groups such as Winnipeg's North Portage Development Corporation and the Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Committee. Currently he is Director of the Centre for the Advancement of Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine and President Emeritus.
Emőke J. E. Szathmáry
1996 – 2008, Tenth President
Dr. Szathmáry received her B.A. and PhD from the University of Toronto. After one year at Trent University as assistant professor in Anthropology she joined McMaster University. Her administrative posts included department chair at McMaster, dean of Social Science at the University of Western Ontario, and provost and vice-president (academic) at McMaster. While president, Dr. Szathmáry continued her research on the genetics of indigenous peoples of North America. She also served as director of several provincial, national and international volunteer and corporate boards. During her term, aboriginal and international student enrolment increased significantly, a dozen new facilities were built, sponsored research income tripled, and the university’s research and technology park was established. She was appointed President Emeritus and continues her appointments in anthropology, biochemistry and medical genetics.
David T. Barnard
2008 - 2020, Eleventh President
Dr. Barnard received his B.Sc., M.Sc. and PhD degrees in computer science from the University of Toronto, a Dip.C.S. in theological studies from Regent College, University of British Columbia and a LL.M. from Osgoode Hall, York University. Under the leadership of eleventh president Dr. David Barnard, UM experienced considerable growth, increasing both Indigenous and international student populations, reaching new heights in research accomplishments and achieving unprecedented success in philanthropy through the Front and Centre campaign. In 2011, Dr. Barnard made a formal Statement of Apology and Reconciliation to Indian Residential School Survivors in front of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the first leader of a post-secondary institution to do so, and he has provided steadfast leadership in building relationships with Indigenous students, faculty, and communities throughout his time as president.