Ignatieff appointed to U of T's Massey College

Outgoing Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has been appointed Senior Resident at the University of Toronto's Massey College.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff announces his resignation as party leader Tuesday in Toronto. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Michael Ignatieff has lined up a job at the University of Toronto, his alma mater, less than 48 hours after resigning as Liberal leader and saying he'd like to return to teaching.

Ignatieff led the Liberals to a historic defeat in Monday's election, in which the party was reduced to just 34 seats in the House of Commons and lost its title as the Official Opposition party. Ignatieff also lost his own job as a member of Parliament for the Toronto riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

He announced Tuesday morning at a news conference that he was quitting as Liberal leader and said he wanted to return to the classroom.

"I'm a teacher born and bred and I'm really looking forward to teaching. No offers yet and no reasonable offers refused, but that's where I'll go," Ignatieff said.

He didn't have to wait long. Ignatieff was appointed senior resident at U of T's Massey College and will teach in the faculty of law, the Munk School of Global Affairs, the School of Public Policy and Governance and the department of political science.

The announcement of Ignatieff's new job came in a statement Thursday from John Fraser, chair of Massey College.

"It has been a tradition for some time to offer the position to political leaders making transitions in their professional lives," he said, naming Pierre Trudeau, Bob Rae and Preston Manning as past Senior Residents. Fraser said Ignatieff is an internationally respected academic and author who will be welcomed by the university community in Toronto and "honoured for his commitment to our national life."

"In return, we shall have the benefit from his learning and experience," said Fraser.

Political leadership often comes with onerous burdens and Ignatieff met them with "both fortitude and imagination," Fraser also wrote.

The University of Toronto is where Ignatieff began his career in academia. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a history degree in 1969 and later earned his PhD at Harvard. He eventually taught at that alma mater as well, and other top-rated schools including Oxford, Cambridge and the London School of Economics.

This will not be the outgoing MP's first appointment at U of T. He also received one with the Munk Centre in 2005 when he decided to come back to Canada after living abroad for years in England and the United States. He then ran for a seat in the House of Commons in the January 2006 election and won.

He took over the Liberal leadership in late 2008 from Stéphane Dion.

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