Bill Flanagan's Biography

Bill Flanagan, the 14th president of the University of Alberta

Bill Flanagan is the 14th president and vice-chancellor of the University of Alberta. Under his leadership, the university is embarking on a major program of academic and administrative restructuring guided by the University of Alberta of Tomorrow proposal, his five-year vision for the university. Through his ambitious plan, the U of A will more efficiently deliver on its core mission and become a stronger driver of economic growth, innovation and creativity in our province and beyond.

Born and raised in Alberta, Bill Flanagan holds a BA (English and Philosophy) from Carleton University, a JD from the University of Toronto, a DEA in International Economic Law from Université Paris I-Sorbonne, and an LLM from Columbia University. He joined the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University in 1991, where he founded the faculty’s International Law Program at the Queen’s University Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle in the U.K. His scholarly work spans property law, corporate law and international trade law.

Serving as dean of law from 2005 to 2019, he is known for his transformative and entrepreneurial leadership. He oversaw the establishment of the faculty’s PhD program, the founding of the Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace, a major expansion of the business law program, an online undergraduate Certificate in Law Program, an online Graduate Diploma in Legal Services Management, and a forthcoming new online Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law. During his tenure as dean, he expanded the faculty complement by 25 per cent, diversified the composition of the student body, and increased annual donor support more than fivefold. In recognition of these achievements, law alumni contributed more than $550,000 in donations to create an endowed fund in his honour that supports international studies at Queen’s Law.

In addition to his service as dean, President Flanagan has an extensive record of leadership and engagement at Queen’s University and in the broader community. He was president of the Council of Canadian Law Deans from 2011 to 2014, and served on the National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters. He was closely involved in the successful implementation of a new budget model at Queen’s, the development of the University Strategic Framework (2014-2019), and a comprehensive overhaul of the university’s Student Code of Conduct.

Bill Flanagan’s work in support of HIV/AIDS research and initiatives has made him a well-recognized and respected public figure. He currently serves as chair of the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research’s National Working Group, and has served as board chair of the AIDS Committee of Toronto—Canada’s largest community-based HIV service organization—as well as on the Ontario HIV Treatment Network and Canada AIDS Russia Project. In recognition of his community service, he was named to the Honour Roll of the Ontario AIDS Network in 2011.

Bill Flanagan is married to his husband Saffron Sri, a registered dietitian who works in the health-care sector.