Queen's eighth Chancellor (1960-1974), Stirling was one of Canada's leading engineers and businessmen. He was born in Dundas, Ontario and educated at Queen's (BA 1909, BSc 1911, LLD 1951), where, among other things, he was a founder of the Queen's Bands.
Stirling served with the Canadian Corps of Engineers in France during the First World War. He was an engineer of international repute and became president of the Montreal-based EGM Cape and Company Ltd. He served terms as president of the Engineering Institute of Canada, the Montreal Board of Trade, the Canadian Construction Association, and other business organizations.
Stirling was married to Edith Carey Goodwin, who was also a Queen's graduate and the daughter of the well-known Professor Goodwin. They had two daughters together, but in 1923 she died tragically in childbirth along with their third child.
A long-time Trustee of Queen's, Stirling was elected Chancellor in 1960. He worked tirelessly to raise money for the university and was intimately involved with the university's administration. He resigned from the position in 1974 at the age of 86.
Stirling received the Order of Canada in 1969. The Alumni Association's prestigious Montreal Medal for "Makers of Queen's" was renamed the Stirling Medal in his honour in 1988, his 100th year, shortly before his death. Stirling Hall is also named after him.
His papers are held in the Queen's Archives.