UCC Towards 2029: College appoints Blake Hutcheson ’80 as board chair and renews Sam McKinney’s term as principal

UCC’s Board of Governors recently confirmed two important leadership appointments that support the College’s strategic directions and its commitment to deliver transformational learning experiences.
Effective January 1, 2021, Blake Hutcheson ’80 will assume the position of Chair of the Board of Governors. In addition, Sam McKinney has been renewed as the College’s principal through to June 2030. 

Hutcheson will succeed Russell Higgins ’81 who served the College on the board for 11 years and as chair since 2016. Says Higgins, “Blake is an outstanding choice. He’s a dynamic and respected leader who will help the College realize the ambitious goal of cementing our reputation as a global leader in education as we approach our 200th anniversary.” 

Recently named the President and CEO of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), Hutcheson brings a wealth of experience to the College. He previously served as President and CEO of Oxford Properties Group, helping turn the domestic operation into a $60 billion global real estate company. Prior to that, he was Chairman and President of the Canadian, Latin American, and Mexican operations for CB Richard Ellis. A graduate of University of Western Ontario, the London School of Economics (with distinction) and Columbia University (where he won the distinguished alumni award in 2017), Hutcheson was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 honourees in 2000, the country’s most coveted award for young business leaders.

Parent to Trevor ’17, Hutcheson is a long-standing senior volunteer at UCC, with roles including Trustee on the Foundation Board, Co-Chair of the Think Ahead Boarding Cabinet, which raised $14 million for improvements to the residences and programming, and as a Governor since 2016, where he’s been an instrumental part of a campus master planning subcommittee. Hutcheson was similarly deeply involved in campus life while a student including leadership roles in student life and athletics. Hutcheson’s wife, Susan, is also active within the UCC community as a volunteer and is a past recipient of the Harold A.D. Roberts Circle Award. 

“Whatever I have given or will give is a fraction of what the College has given me,” says Hutcheson, adding that he’s humbled to be following Higgins in the position. “Russ cares deeply about UCC and has been an inclusive leader, as well as a great champion of our sector-leading financial assistance program. My grandfather always said to leave the campsite better than the way you found it, and there is no question that Russ has done just that.”

As chair, Higgins led the committee that hired Principal Sam McKinney, and has been instrumental in the consultative development of UCC's strategic directions, initiating and developing the school’s renewed vision, mission and values. He has overseen a new campus master plan, the conceptual blueprint for the College's facility renewal, and has steered the growth of our financial assistance program which enables a needs-blind admissions process. 

To further support continued leadership and momentum towards UCC’s strategic directions, the Board of Governors has renewed Sam McKinney as principal for a second term. McKinney joined the College in 2016 as our 19th principal.

On the appointment, Higgins reflects, “Sam’s leadership will help us realize a bold future for the College, one that is true to our mission to deliver transformational learning experiences and inspire students to make a lasting and positive impact on their world.” 

Hutcheson and McKinney share a commitment to working with all members of UCC’s community to achieve our ambitious goals as we look to celebrate the College’s bicentennial in 2029.
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