Atlantic News

Julie Payette Canada's Governor General - Designate's Strong UWC Connections

Julie Payette (UWC Atlantic College) class of 1982 from Canada.

Canada’s Governor General-Designate, Julie Payette O.C., Q.C., has strong connections to Victoria’s Pearson College UWC and is a long-time supporter of the UWC (United World Colleges) mission to make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.

The 53-year-old Montrealer, a former astronaut who speaks six languages, served on the volunteer Pearson Board of Directors between 2010 and 2013 and graduated from UWC Atlantic College in Wales in 1982. Pearson and Atlantic colleges are the two original members of the 17 – and growing – schools in the worldwide UWC network.

“Mme. Payette is a fantastic role model for all young Canadians, particularly for women and girls,” says Tony Macoun, Chair of the Pearson College Board of Directors and co-chair of the UWC National Committee of Canada. “She is an inspiration, not only for her remarkable career achievements in science, technology and space exploration, but also for the global perspective she brings to her new role.

“This would have been instilled in her at a young age through her UWC education -- living and learning alongside students from around the world, and through her continuing support of organizations such as Pearson College. This ongoing commitment to the UWC’s mission will serve her well in this new role.

“Mme. Payette reflects the very best of Canada and embodies the values of the UWC movement that reflect service to the community, intercultural understanding and challenging one’s self,” says Desirée McGraw, President and Head of Pearson College UWC. “We are so proud that she began her journey of leadership and accomplishment at our sister UWC Atlantic College and continues to this day to support the UWC mission.”

Payette was named 29th governor general of Canada today at an announcement hosted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa.

One of Canada’s first astronauts, a veteran of two flights to the International Space Station, Payette honoured the then-upcoming 50th anniversary of the founding of the UWC in 2009 by taking the UWC flag into space on a mission to the ISS. The flag was subsequently presented to UWC Atlantic College.

In the mid-1980s, shortly after becoming a UWC alum, Payette volunteered with the provincial arm of the UWC National Committee of Canada in Québec. National Committees in Canada ( and more than 150 countries around the world, play a key role in selecting some of the world’s best and brightest students to attend UWC schools.

About the Governor General of Canada

Payette will succeed academic, author, and statesman David Lloyd Johnston, CC CMM COM CD FRSC FRCPSC, as governor general. The governor general, appointed by the Queen on the advice of the prime minister for a five-year term, acts as the Queen's representative in Canada, serves as commander-in-chief of the Canadian Armed Forces and represents Canada at events, ceremonies and official visits at home and abroad.

‘From the person who donated £20, to the person who donated £2000 - thank you. I am extremely grateful and indebted… I will do everything in my power to make sure that the contribution made is going to mean something more…’

Sheryl Ofwona, Class of 2019, from Kenya

The difference of a scholarship

Harvard’s UWC Impact Study has kicked off - and we need #UWC Atlantic College alums to join the biggest and most im…

1 day ago

This is what the UWC Atlantic journey is all about. Capturing the spirit, sharing the joy. Leavers 2019 montage v1…

4 days ago
Atlantic Calendar
Full Calendar