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Patrick Deane, MA'80, PhD'86

patrick deane
President and Vice-Chancellor, McMaster University

Patrick Deane, the vice-principal academic at Queen's University, was named as the next president of Hamilton's McMaster University on October 15/2009. Patrick Deane was born and raised in South Africa where he attended King Edward VII School in Johannesburg, going on to read English and Law at the University of the Witwatersrand. He emigrated to Canada in 1978, beginning graduate studies in English Literature at The University of Western Ontario. There he received an M.A. in 1980 and a Ph.D. in 1986. In 1984-85 he was a Queen Elizabeth II Scholar.

Deane was appointed to the faculty of the University of Toronto in 1986, but invited back to Western in 1988, the year in which he was awarded the first John Charles Polanyi Prize for Literature. He took up a position in the Department of English, teaching Twentieth-Century British Literature. He was appointed Vice-Chair of the Department in 1993 and Chair in 1997.

In 2001 Deane accepted an appointment as Vice-President (Academic) at The University of Winnipeg. Over the next four years he not only discharged the normal responsibilities of that position, but also served for two years as Senior University Officer for Inter-Universities North (IUN), the consortium of three universities delivering post-secondary programs in Northern Manitoba. He was a member of the Winnipeg Ward Boundaries Commission in 2001-02, and President of The University of Winnipeg Educational Housing Corporation.

On the resignation of the President of The University of Winnipeg in December 2002, Deane became Acting President, a role which he performed concurrently with his duties as Vice-President (Academic) for one and a half years. During this period, and without cancellation of programs or loss of jobs, he oversaw the elimination of the university’s large accumulated deficit and the achievement of substantial surpluses, beginning in 2004. He worked to initiate a dramatic reconfiguration of the University’s fundraising operations, the culmination of which process was the establishment in 2002 of The University of Winnipeg Foundation. This independent corporation, of which Deane was a founding Board member, has recently reported unprecedented success in raising money for the University of Winnipeg.

Deane has published two books: At Home in Time: Forms of Neo-Augustanism in Modern English Poetry (1994), and History in Our Hands (1998). His articles and other publications cover a wide range of topics, but focus largely on British writing of the period 1914-1945. His principal interest is the relationship between literature and politics, both at the level of national culture and in the work of specific figures. He has contributed significantly to the study of W.H. Auden.


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