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Russell Higgins ’81 Named New Chair of Upper Canada College Board of Governors

Russell HigginsUpper Canada College is pleased to announce the appointment of Russell Higgins ’81 to the position of Chair of the Board of Governors effective January 1, 2016.

Higgins will succeed outgoing Chair Andy Burgess ’83, who has held the role for the past five years. Higgins has been a well-respected and key player in every facet of College life for over a decade, bringing clear vision, experience and diplomacy to his roles.

“I’m thrilled to announce the appointment of Russ Higgins as chair,” says Burgess, who headed the nomination committee. “I’ve worked closely with Russ over the past few years and I’ve developed a deep respect for his work and commitment to the College. I know he’ll be exceptional in this role.” Other members of the nominating committee included: Jill Denham, Sue Guichon, David MacDougall ’81, Michael MacMillan ’74 (board chair from 2004 to 2009), Richard Phillips ’85 and Roly Watt ’62.

Professionally, Higgins is a principal of MacPherson Builders Limited, a builder of low-rise residential projects. Formerly, he worked for the real estate finance group of The First Boston Corporation (now Credit Suisse) in New York City. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Princeton University. Higgins and his wife June have a son, Simon ’16.

Higgins’ many volunteer roles at the College have included:

“I’m delighted to be stepping into this role at such an exciting time in the life of the school,” says Higgins. “Along with the members of the Board and the UCC community, I look forward to helping the College realize its next set of exciting and ambitious goals. It’s truly an honour to be able to give back to UCC.”

Burgess, who steps down January 1, 2016 has served on the UCC Board of Governors since 2006, including his five-year term as chair. He is the managing director of Russell Square Partners and executive chairman of Repath Industries. He is also vice-chair of the Daily Bread Food Bank and sits on the boards of Pluck Tea and Bitmaker Labs. Formerly, he was CEO of Somerset Entertainment.  Prior to his appointment as UCC chair, he helmed the College’s governance review in 2010, charged with developing best practices in process, transparency and community consultation. He is also the past chair of the Advancement and the Nomination and Governance committees.

“Andy’s drive, dedication and energy are absolutely legendary,” says Principal Jim Power. “He leaves a legacy of transformational change for the College. He has been an unparalleled champion of the $100-million Think Ahead Campaign, specifically the College’s financial assistance program which has raised the bar for the entire independent school sector. It’s been an honour to work with him, and I look forward to working closely with Russ in his new role as chair of the board in the new year.”