University of Calgary


March 25, 2010

New president to lead University of Calgary

Elizabeth CannonA new chapter began yesterday for the University of Calgary, with the selection of the university's eighth President and Vice-Chancellor. The University of Calgary's Board of Governors endorsed Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, a U of C triple alumna and current Dean of the Schulich School of Engineering, as the next President, effective July 1, 2010.

"The University of Calgary is now embarking upon a new era of momentum with a bold new leader," said Jack Perraton, Chair of the University of Calgary Board of Governors. "Elizabeth Cannon is both visionary and practical. Her international reputation and her local knowledge and expertise will serve this institution well as we continue to build one of the best universities in Canada and in the world."

"We conducted an international search, so I am especially proud to say that, Elizabeth, one of our own, was the best candidate from among a group of very talented candidates," Perraton added.

Elizabeth, a professor in the Department of Geomatics Engineering who has served as Dean of the University of Calgary's Schulich School of Engineering since 2006, has a long history of leadership at the University of Calgary and in the broader community. After earning her undergraduate degree in applied science from Acadia University and undergraduate engineering (BSc'84), master's (MSc'87) and doctoral (PhD'91) degrees at the University of Calgary, Elizabeth went on to become a professor in the engineering faculty.

In its consideration of candidates, Perraton said the Presidential Advisory Search Committee sought leaders who expressed passion and innovative ideas for improving on the University of Calgary's priorities and strengths, including a commitment to student success, promotion of excellence in research and scholarship, interdisciplinary research and education, and building upon the university's strong connection to the greater Calgary community. Personal qualities the committee looked for in a new president included a proven track record of team building and transparency, outstanding communication skills, integrity, sensitivity and respect for diversity.

"I speak on behalf of the 17 other members of the Presidential Advisory Search Committee when I say that it has been a privilege to be involved in choosing the person who will move the University of Calgary forward," Perraton said. "I sincerely thank the members of the search committee for their time and commitment to selecting the new president."

In the research community, Elizabeth is known as a leader whose innovative work focuses on geomatics engineering and the commercial application of geomatics technology. She has been involved as an expert at the frontiers of global positioning systems (GPS) since 1984 and her work has resulted in advancements in satellite-based navigation systems worldwide. She has served on several dozen public, private and community boards, including the Canada Foundation for Innovation where she is Interim Chair, the Royal Society of Canada Council and the Enbridge Income Fund. Elizabeth has also led several very successful initiatives designed to increase the number of women and girls involved in science and engineering.

"There are great things ahead for the University of Calgary and I am honoured to lead the university towards an exciting future," said Elizabeth. "This institution has come a long way, gaining recognition nationally and internationally and becoming known as one of Canada's top research-intensive universities. Have we achieved our full potential? Not yet. So I look forward to working with the incredibly talented students, staff and faculty here to realize that potential."

Elizabeth will take over from Interim President Dr. Warren Veale on July 1, 2010. She becomes the first female president of the University of Calgary. Elizabeth, 47, is married to geomatics engineering professor Gérard Lachapelle, and has two children: a daughter, Sara, 21, currently studying engineering at Cornell University, and a son, René, 18, an economics student at Queen’s University.

Visit for more information about the new President, the U of C's history and past presidents.

Read Dr. Elizabeth Cannon's speech

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