James (Jim) Vanstone was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario. While majoring in History and Philosophy at the University of Windsor, Jim was elected President of the history society called the Lord Acton Club. Graduating with an Honours B.A. and the University’s gold medal in history Jim went to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario majoring in “Imperial”, now more popularly called Third World history. He obtained his M.A. (1967) and Ph.D. (1974) from Queen’s. While in Graduate School Jim was a tutor, a graduate assistant and also the editor of the Graduate Review. Doing research for his Ph.D. in Southern Africa (1969-1970) Jim was awarded two Canada Council scholarships. Jim and Bev, his wife, spent a year in Africa and some time at England’s Oxford University’s New College completing the research. Returning to Queen’s, Jim taught Imperial History for one year before going to John Abbott College in Ste. Anne de Bellevue in 1972 where he is teaching history and chairing, for the past twenty years, the History, Classics, Economics and Political Science Department.
Jim was elected a member of the Academic Council of the college in 1974 and elected Chairperson in 1975 being re-elected Chairperson by faculty, administration, students, professionals and support staff every year down to the present time.. He serves on the Academic Programs Coordinating Committee, which developed the college’s Institutional Policy on the Evaluation of Student Achievement (IPESA) amongst other responsibilities.
Each year, since 1975, the faculty has elected Jim, Chairperson of the Faculty Professional Development Committee. It has a mandate and a budget to assist professors become better teachers. From 1979-1985 Jim was elected to serve on the college’s Board of Governors and for four of those years was a member of the Executive of the Board.
Outside of the college, Jim served as a teacher and, for seven years, Superintendent of Ste. Genevieve United Church Sunday School. He served for five years as Chairperson of the Official Board of the church. At the present time, he is a lay representative to Montreal Presbytery of the United Church of Canada and had the distinct honour to be elected Chairperson of Montreal Presbytery from 2000 to 2002 responsible for the oversight of sixty pastoral charges at that time. In 2007 Jim was elected the President of the Montreal and Ottawa Conference of the United Church of Canada. At the Annual Meeting of the M & O Conference he presided over the ordination of ten United Church ministers. Jim is also a member of the Board of Governors of the United Theological College of McGill University and is currently the Chair of the Montreal School of Theology of McGill University.
Jim is a member of the Masonic Order and was Master of Meridian Royal Alexandra Lodge #125 in 2001-2002. He is a Shriner and a member of the Karnak Shrine Greeters Unit. At the present time, he is serving as Deputy Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Quebec.