J. Robert S. Prichard is an educator and lawyer who has had a varied career in higher education, law, public service and business. At present, he serves as chairman of Torys LLP and is also President Emeritus of the University of Toronto.
Prichard was a professor of law at the University of Toronto from 1976 to 2001, specializing in law and economics. He also taught at the law schools of Yale (1982-83) and Harvard (1983-84 and 2000-01). He served as Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto from 1984 to 1990. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2008 and received the Law School’s 2009 Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Prichard served as the 13th president of the University of Toronto from 1990 to 2000. He also served as chair of the Council of Ontario Universities, on the boards of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and the International Association of Universities, and on the executive committee of the Association of American Universities. In 2001, Prichard received the David Smith Award for his contributions to public policy in higher education and in 2011 received the Champion of Public Education Award.
Prichard’s business sector experience includes serving as president and CEO of Torstar Corporation, a leading Canadian media company with newspaper and book publishing businesses, from 2002 to 2009. He serves as the Chairman of BMO Financial Group and as a director of Onex Corporation, George Weston Ltd and Barrick Gold Corporation. He was made a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors in 2016 for his contributions to good governance.
In the public sector, Prichard serves as chairman of Metrolinx, the regional transportation agency of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, where he served previously as president and CEO from 2009 to 2010. He has also served as a member of both Canada’s Economic Advisory Council and Ontario’s Economic Advisory Panel.
Prichard serves as a trustee of the Hospital for Sick Children and as previously served on numerous public sector and volunteer boards including chair of the Visiting Committee for Harvard Law School and Chair of the Ontario Innovation Trust.
Prichard attended Swarthmore College where he studied economics, earned his MBA at the University of Chicago, and earned law degrees from the University of Toronto (LLB) and Yale University (LLM). Recognized by appointment as an officer of the Order of Canada and as a member of the Order of Ontario, Prichard has also received honorary degrees from eleven colleges and universities in Canada and the United States.