Neil was born and raised in Belleville, Ontario. He obtained an Honours B.Sc. (Biology) from Queen's University and completed his M.Sc. at McGill University. Neil began teaching career at McGill while completing his Master’s thesis before moving to John Abbott College in the Fall of 1981. Neil is a serious golfer and has coached the Abbott golf team since 1981. Other interests include travel and the study and photography of coral reefs.