David Johnston headlining a fireside chat at the Lakehead University Alumni Association's Annual General Meeting on Oct. 2

Photo of David Johnston

September 25, 2023 – Thunder Bay, Ont.   

The Right Honourable David Johnston will headline a fireside chat at the Lakehead University Alumni Association’s annual general meeting on Monday, Oct. 2 at 6 pm in the Agora. 

Canada’s 28th Governor General will discuss his most personal and timely book to date – Empathy, written with author Brian Hanington with a foreword by the Honourable Rosalie Abella. 

Released in January, the book describes the challenges currently faced by countries around the world. 

As the world stumbles through the most severe pandemic of the last century, threatened by teetering economies, torn by political division, separated by unequal access to resources, and wrestling with issues as diverse as racism, gender, cybercrime, and climate change, the nations that best adapt and prosper are those in which empathy is fully alive and widely active. 

Written for a post-pandemic world, Empathy is a book about learning to be empathetic and then turning that empathy into action. Based on Johnston’s personal experiences, the book explores how awakening to the transformative power of listening and caring permanently changes individuals, families, communities, and nations. 

Johnston is chair of the Rideau Hall Foundation, and advisor at Deloitte and at Fairfax Financial Holdings. 

A graduate of Harvard, Cambridge, and Queen's universities, he was president of the University of Waterloo, principal of McGill University, and dean of Law at Western University. 

Johnston is the author or co-author of more than 30 books. He holds honorary doctorates from 36 universities. 

A Companion of the Order of Canada, he was born in Sudbury, Ont., raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and now lives with his wife, Sharon Johnston, near Ottawa. 

“It is not every day that a Canadian of the Rt. Hon. David Johnston's stature visits Thunder Bay,” said Mark Tilbury, Executive Director, Alumni Association. 

“The Alumni Association of Lakehead University is thrilled that Mr. Johnston has agreed to be the special guest at our Annual General Meeting this year, and we can't wait to welcome him to campus.” 

Alumni Association President Yolanda Wanakamik will moderate the fireside chat with the former Governor General on the topics, stories, and themes in his latest book, Empathy

“In our world today, we could all use a little more empathy,” Tilbury added. 

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Media: For more information or interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Media, Communications and Marketing Associate, at (807) 343-8110 ext. 8372 or mediarelations@lakeheadu.ca.


Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has nine faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2023 World Universities Rankings for the fourth consecutive year, and the number one university in the world with fewer than 9,000 students in THE’s 2023 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.