Francolini named first-ever chancellor for Brescia

By Communications Staff
February 15, 2013

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Community activist Joan Francolini, an alumna of Brescia University College and past chair of Brescia University College Foundation, spoke to 467 graduates from the Faculty of Health Sciences, Brescia, Huron University College and the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at the June 18, 2012, afternoon session of Western’s 299th Convocation. Francolini was named chancellor for Brescia University College starting her inaugural four-year term in this honorary position on July 1.


Joan Francolini has been appointed chancellor for Brescia University College by the Council of Trustees of Brescia. She will commence the inaugural four-year term in this honorary position on July 1.

“We are delighted that Joan has accepted this appointment and we know that her service in this new role will enrich Brescia by setting a strong example of service leadership for our students, employees, alumnae and Joan’s fellow citizens,” said Colleen Hanycz, Brescia principal. “Joan’s passionate engagement in city and university life and her generous giving of time, talent and treasure have enhanced life in London and the wider community for decades.

“Brescia is again blessed by Joan in her willingness to continue her service to Brescia and to post-secondary education in this way.”


In her capacity as chancellor, Francolini will preside over Brescia’s annual baccalaureate and magisterial exercises and serve as an honorary Trustee of the Council of Trustees in addition to continuing her role as an engaged and active member of the Brescia community.

“The council is very pleased to have established the role of chancellor at Brescia as it provides another opportunity to highlight women’s leadership in this country,” said Liz Hewitt, Council of Trustees coordinator. “The fact Dr. Francolini is willing to serve in this role serves to further establish Brescia as an institution committed to service and leadership, and there is no better choice to set that example for our students than Dr. Francolini.”

Since her graduation from Brescia and Western in 1955, Francolini has served in countless community roles and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Order of Ontario, YMCA’s Women of Excellence Award and an honorary doctorate from Western in 2012.

While raising six children with her husband, Geno, Francolini volunteered for many organizations, including the London Community Foundation, YMCA and United Way of London and Middlesex. In addition, she has served on the Medical Advisory Committee at Western, Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital Board, Tillsonburg Hospital Auxiliary, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Ontario Hospital Association and Board of St. Joseph’s Health Care. She just concluded a term on the Selection Committee for the Order of Ontario.

Francolini was the first executive director of The Lawson Foundation, serving from 1992-2001, and was recognized with the Dr. Ivan Smith Alumni Award of Merit, the highest honour a Western graduate can receive.


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