Vancouver Oxford & Cambridge Society

Canadians at Oxford & Cambridge

Since Confederation, Canadians have played important roles in Cambridge and Oxford.  Many Canadian academics, artists, writers, business people and political leaders have studied at Cambridge or Oxford.

Canadians who have studied at Oxford include two Prime Ministers (Lester B. Pearson and John Turner); two provincial premiers (Bob Rae and Robert Bourassa); a Former Speaker of the House of Commons (Peter Milliken); former Governor of the Bank of Canada and current Governor of the Bank of England (Mark Carney) and President of the University of Toronto (David Naylor).

  • Professor Sir John Bell (University of Alberta) is Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University and has made major contributions to the development of UK clinical and medical science.
  • Professor Jennifer Welsh (the University of Saskatchewan) is Professor in International Relations; Co-Director of the Oxford Institute of Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC) at the Oxford Martin School; and a Fellow of Somerville College. She has served as a consultant to the Government of Canada on international policy, and acts as a frequent commentator in Canadian media on foreign policy and international relations.
  • Professor Margaret MacMillan (University of Toronto) is an historian and professor at the University of Oxford, where she is Warden of St Antony’s College. She is a leading expert on history and international relations and a frequent commentator in the media. Her most successful work is Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World. She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006.
  • Professor Timothy Endicott (University of Alberta) has been Dean of the Faculty of Law since October 2007. He is a Fellow in Law at Balliol College, and has been a Professor of Legal Philosophy since 2006.

Canadians who have studied at Cambridge include three governors general: Freeman Freeman-Thomas, 1st Marquess of Willingdon (British born); Vere Ponsonby, 9th Earl of Bessborough (British born); and our current governor general, David Lloyd Johnston. There have been cabinet ministers such as: Roy MacLaren (Minister of National Revenue and Minister of International Trade); and John McCallum (Minister of National Defence and Minister of National Revenue). Internationally renowned author and former leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Michael Ignatieff, studied there as did newspaper barons Kenneth Thomson and his son David Thomson.

Canada’s first female nuclear physicist, Harriet Brooks, studied with the renowned Dr. Ernest Rutherford at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. After she earned her Masters degree she worked in the Laboratory of Dr. Marie Curie. When she married back in Canada, she was forced to give up her work as a physicist. She died in 1933.