Brescia University College Appoints Esteemed Judge as New Chancellor

News Release
March 30, 2015
For Immediate Release

London, ON – The Board of Trustees at Brescia University College has appointed the Honourable Madam Justice Eileen Gillese of the Ontario Court of Appeal as Brescia’s next Chancellor, replacing the late Dr. Joan Francolini, Brescia’s inaugural Chancellor.

Justice Gillese will assume the role at Brescia’s time–honoured Baccalaureate Ceremony on June 14th in St. Peter’s Basilica Cathedral, where she will be installed by the Chair of the Board of Trustees Elizabeth Hewitt, and robed by Brescia Principal, Dr. Colleen Hanycz.

Dr. Hanycz states that Justice Gillese epitomizes “the type of strong, confident leader that we want our students to become during their time at Brescia and to remain throughout their lives.”

Justice Gillese has become one of Canada’s most distinguished female leaders and has been a trailblazer throughout her career. Justice Gillese earned a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University in England the first year that Scholarship was opened to women. Justice Gillese has been the only female Dean of the Faculty of Law at Western University (1996 – 1999) and in 1998 was appointed as the inaugural Chair of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario and the Financial Services Tribunal. Justice Gillese is also a former Chair of the Pension Commission of Ontario. States Dr. Hanycz “Justice Gillese’s career path aligns with Brescia’s mission to ‘lead with wisdom, justice and compassion in a changing world.’ It is truly an honour that she has accepted the role as Brescia’s new Chancellor.”

Justice Gillese was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 1999 and in 2002 became a judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal. In 2009, Justice Gillese was awarded the inaugural OBA Award for Excellence in Pension and Benefits Law. She was named one of Canada’s top 100 women in 2006, and jointly, as a Globe and Mail Nation Builder in 2003. She was named a Leading Educator of the World in 2008 and awarded an honorary LLD from the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2001. In 1997 Justice Gillese was named 1 of “20 Most Influential Canadians in the Pension Field.” She has received a number of teaching awards, including the Edward Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching from The University of Western Ontario and the inaugural National 3M Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching. She is widely published in the trusts and pension fields and continues to lecture at judicial and academic conferences.

Along with her many accomplishments, Justice Gillese has been able to successfully balance her professional and personal life. She and her husband, Robert Badun, have raised four children in London, and most recently, Toronto, and recognize the importance of maintaining a happy work–life balance. Chair Elizabeth Hewitt says of this appointment, “We are so grateful that Justice Gillese has accepted this important ambassadorial role at Brescia. Throughout her career, Justice Gillese has been, and continues to be, a mentor and a role model for women, whether they are students, lawyers or her own daughters. Her eminence as a professor, a judge and a lawyer, and the leadership qualities that she has shown in all of those roles, make her a perfect match for the position of Chancellor of Brescia University College.”

The role of Chancellor at Brescia is an honorary one, presiding over Brescia’s annual Baccalaureate & Magisterial Exercises, serving as an honorary Trustee of the Brescia University College Board of Trustees and attending key institutional events. Justice Gillese will not, however, participate in fundraising on behalf of the University.

Justice Gillese notes the alignment of her own values and those of the institution that she will now serve, stating, “There are few things as important in our global society at the moment than educating girls and women. It is an honour to hold this important role at Canada’s women’s university – an institution that has been committed for almost 100 years to this critical mission. I look forward to the opportunities that this role will bring, and in particular, to spending time with tomorrow’s leaders, Brescia’s students and alumnae.”


For more information please contact Communications, Marketing and External Relations Officer Caitlin Core 519–432–8353, ext. 28280 or at  or Sheila Blagrave, Director of Communications, Marketing & External Relations, at 519–432–8353, ext. 28293 or at Brescia University College, Canada’s only women’s university college, is affiliated with Western University. The 1,300 women registered as either full– or part–time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in Arts, Social Sciences, and Foods & Nutrition in an empowering, compassionate, student–centred, and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic College welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more current and archived news, a listing of faculty experts, and photos please visit our Online Media Room at