Welcoming the new university presidents of 2021

November 1, 2021
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Get to know the new faces leading Canada’s universities:

Gilles Savard

Gilles Savard is the acting president of Polytechnique Montréal. Professor Savard has a PhD and MSc in Operations Research from Polytechnique Montréal and has been a professor there since 1998. In addition to his rich career as an educator and researcher, he has served as a department director at Polytechnique and executive director of the Institute for Data Valorization.

Jacqueline Ottmann

Jacqueline Ottmann is the tenth president of First Nations University of Canada. Originally from Saskatchewan, Professor Ottmann is Anishinaabe (Saulteaux) and a member of the Fishing Lake First Nation. She brings experience promoting Indigenous education as the former Director of Indigenous Education at the University of Calgary and Vice-Provost of Indigenous Engagement at the University of Saskatchewan.

Ghislain Samson

Ghislain Samson is the ninth president of Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC). Dr. Samson holds a PhD in education sciences and was formerly the dean of academic management and faculty affairs at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR).

Lauretta Frederking

Lauretta Frederking is the 13th president of Brescia University College, after serving as its vice-principal and academic dean since 2018. Dr. Frederking holds degrees in political science from the University of Toronto, Columbia University and Washington University and brings over 20 years of teaching and research experience.

Kevin Wamsley

Dr. Kevin Wamsley is the seventh president and vice-chancellor of Nipissing University. Dr. Wamsley is a world-renowned expert and historian on the Olympic Games. Over his 30-year career in teaching, research and university administration, he has worked at Western University, the University of Calgary and, most recently, served as academic vice-president and provost at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.

Jeff Keshen

Dr. Jeff Keshen is the eighth president and vice-chancellor of the University of Regina. A professor of history, Dr. Keshen is an expert on war and society. He has worked at Mount Royal University, the University of Ottawa and the University of Calgary, and, most recently, served as vice-president of Memorial University.

Lynn Wells

Lynn Wells is interim president of Brock University. A Canadian scholar, teacher and university leader, Dr. Wells has held senior roles at postsecondary institutions across western Canada, including MacEwan University, First Nations University of Canada and the University of Regina.

Vivek Goel

Vivek Goel is the seventh president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo. A leading public health researcher and distinguished scholar, Professor Goel has held senior roles at the University of Toronto and was previously the founding president and CEO of Public Health Ontario. He also serves as a member of the federal government’s COVID-19 Immunity Task Force and as Scientific Advisor for the CanCOVID Research Network.

Serge Miville

Dr. Serge Miville is the president and vice-chancellor of the University of Sudbury. Dr. Miville is an accomplished historian with a PhD from York University. As a former research chair in Franco-Ontarian history at Laurentian University and director of the Institut franco-ontarien, he is well-positioned to lead the francophone university.

David Zietsma

David Zietsma is the interim president of Redeemer University, after serving in various roles there over the past 14 years. Dr. Zietsma holds a PhD in history from the University of Akron in the U.S., as well as degrees from the University of Waterloo and McMaster University.

Ramona Lumpkin

Dr. Ramona Lumpkin has returned as interim president and vice-chancellor of Mount Saint Vincent University after holding the position from 2010 to 2017. She holds a PhD in English literature from the University of Kentucky and is a former Fulbright Scholar to England. Throughout her career, she has been an active advocate on women’s issues and enhancing access to higher education for adult and Indigenous learners.

Deborah Meyers

Deborah Meyers is interim president of Athabasca University, after serving as its vice-president finance and administration and its chief financial officer. Ms. Meyers is an inclusive, consultative and mindful leader with significant experience in senior executive leadership.

Ms. Myers’ term comes to an end in December and Professor Peter Scott will begin his term as president in January.

Vincent Rousson

Vincent Rousson is president of the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT), after having served in senior roles there over the past two decades. Dr. Rousson is an accomplished researcher and an active member of his community—having been awarded Personality of the Year by the Chambre de commerce de Val-d’Or in 2018.

François Deschênes

François Deschênes is the ninth president of the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR). Having grown up in Rimouski and served as the university’s vice-president of education and research since 2012, François is a familiar face in the community. He also holds a PhD in mathematics and in computer science, robotics and automation, and taught as a professor at the Université de Sherbrooke early in his career.


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Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, advancing higher education, research and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians.

Media contact:

Lisa Wallace
Assistant Director, Communications
Universities Canada
[email protected]

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