Engineer is First Muslim to be Named President of a Canadian University

February 8, 2007

Source: The Gazette/Canadian Press

TORONTO – When Mamdouh Shoukri takes over as president of York University in the summer, he will become the first Muslim to head a Canadian university.

The 59-year-old Egyptian-born engineer was named the seventh president of Canada’s third-largest university earlier this month.

Shoukri, currently vice-president of research and international affairs at McMaster University in Hamilton, had his appointment confirmed Tuesday by York’s board of governors. He replaces Lorna Marsden, who is retiring on June 30th after 10 years in the post.

Kamal Haseeb, president of York’s Muslim Association, says Shoukri’s appointment is based on his credentials, but the fact he’s Muslim “solidifies the acceptance of all groups and faiths.”

Adam Hummel of Hillel at York, known as the centre for Jewish life on campus, called Shoukri’s selection “very Canadian” and a reflection of York’s diverse population.

One senior York official says Shoukri was hired because of who he is – a fantastic researcher, a fantastic educator and a great administrator – not because of his ethnicity.