The end of the spring semester is already upon us and as we prepare to celebrate our graduates at what promises to be another fantastic Convocation, I’d like to thank everyone for their tremendous efforts throughout the past year.
Over the course of the last few weeks, there have been some significant changes both here at the University and as well in the provincial political landscape.
Here, we’ve introduced a new Vice-President (Research) in Dr. Erasmus Okine, who comes to us very highly regarded from the University of Alberta. I look forward to working with Dr. Okine in the future and am confident he will quickly feel comfortable as a part of the U of L family.
I am extremely grateful to Dr. Lesley Brown, who took on the role of Interim Vice-President (Research) this past year and led some very important initiatives. In particular, Lesley spurred the development of AGILITY and played a major role in the success of its recent launch. Her passion for entrepreneurship and innovation will see her play a lead role in the continued development of AGILITY as we move forward.
I also want to thank those on campus who did such a fine job in responding to the water line break we recently experienced. Their swift action and professionalism undoubtedly limited the damage to the affected areas.
Provincially, a massive shift in the political landscape has taken place and while it is too soon to tell how this will affect the University of Lethbridge in particular and post-secondary education in general, we look forward to working with the new government and our new minister.
We believe that a post-secondary education continues to be a vital part of the future of Alberta in terms of economic development and diversification, strengthening our communities and improving the quality of life of all Albertans and we will continue to carry that message to the Alberta government.
We will also continue to work on the development of the Destination Project. It remains the most important capital project for the University of Lethbridge and now that the election is over, we will be circling back to continue to have conversations with the new government about how we can move this project forward.
There is also change at the national level, where recently, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) repositioned itself as Universities Canada. More than a cosmetic name change, this move was done to clarify our mandate and as one element of a broader advocacy strategy on a national level to try and position universities as positively as possible, in particular, on the eve of a federal election.
You will see more change at this spring’s Convocation ceremonies as we welcome a new chancellor into the fold, Janice Varzari. I urge everyone to come out for her installation and to attend any of the events associated with Convocation. Convocation is, without a doubt, the highlight of any academic year and always leaves me feeling a great sense of pride in our University. I look forward to seeing you there.