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Dr. Gary Kachanoski begins term as Memorial’s new president

Dr. Gary Kachanoski began his term as Memorial’s new president on July 1, 2010. His first official duty was to lay a wreath on behalf of the university community at the July 1 Memorial Day commemorations at the National War Memorial in St. John’s.

Memorial’s new president was born in Manitoba and raised in Saskatchewan, and recently finished serving as vice-president (research), Bentley Research Chair (Soil, Water and Environment) and professor of soil physics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

Bob Simmonds, chair of Memorial’s Board of Regents, welcomed the new president.

“We are delighted to have Gary, along with his wife Teresa, join our community,” Mr. Simmonds said. “With his roots in rural Canada, his exemplary academic career and administrative experience at several universities, he is well prepared to continue growing Memorial.”

Dr. Kachanoski will be ceremonially installed at Memorial’s fall convocation on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010.

“I am delighted to start work in this position,” Dr. Kachanoski said. “I was attracted to the role by the unique history and culture of Newfoundland and Labrador, and by the special role the university plays in the life of this province. I am keenly interested and lucky to be joining Memorial at this stage in its history. The province is a place of great optimism and growth, and when I see how Memorial has been contributing to the economic, social and cultural life of this province, I feel optimistic and eager to be part of its future success.”

Several issues are top of mind for the new president, including filling gaps in the university’s senior leadership, and continued development of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College on the province’s west coast.

“One of the first things on my agenda is to fill the posts of vice-president (academic) and the vice-president (Corner Brook),” he said. “I want to thank several individuals – Drs. Chris Loomis, Reeta Tremblay and Holly Pike – for serving so diligently and successfully in these roles temporarily during the last couple of years.

“I believe that Grenfell College, the university‘s west coast campus, is positioned for success and I look forward to a successful search for the vice-president who will continue to forge Grenfell’s path within Memorial. We also have to recruit for the role of dean of Student Affairs and Services, as Dr. Lilly Walker concludes her second term this summer with a record of strong leadership over the past 10 years. Hiring a strong leadership team is a critical first step towards shaping our direction for the next few years.”

Dr. Kachanoski is a world-renowned soil scientist and an experienced university administrator. He is a past-president and a Fellow of the Canadian Society of Soil Science (1999), Fellow of the Soil Society of America (1997) and editor of the Canadian Journal of Soil Science. He was inducted into the Canadian Conservation Hall of Fame in 1997, an award that recognized his dedication and commitment to soil and water conservation in Canada.

He has also served as executive director of folkwaysAlive!, a joint initiative of the University of Alberta and the Smithsonian Institute that provides leadership and support for the creation, preservation, dissemination and application of knowledge about the musical cultural heritage of communities. In 2006 he was awarded an honorary gold record at the Kennedy Centre in Washington, D.C., by the Smithsonian for his vision and leadership.

During his tenure as vice-president (research) at the University of Alberta, research revenue at U of A increased from $250 million a year to $490 million.
Dr. Kachanoski succeeds Dr. Christopher Loomis who served as Memorial’s president and vice-chancellor, pro tempore, from July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010.

To listen to a conversation with Dr. Kachanoski, check out

Memorial President Dr. Gary Kachanoski (centre) visited the west coast’s Bonne Bay Marine Station recently. St. Barbe MHA Wally Young is seen at right.

President tours western Newfoundland

Dr. Gary Kachanoski toured the western region recently as Memorial’s president continues to familiarize himself with the university and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

After meeting with Dr. Holly Pike, vice-president of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, and Dr. Bill Iams, vice-principal, on Tuesday evening, Dr. Kachanoski travelled up the Northern Peninsula to tour the Bonne Bay area.

On Wednesday, Dr. Bob Hooper, director of the Bonne Bay Marine Station and associate professor of biology, arranged a lively tour of the facility as well as opportunities to meet faculty, staff and students.

A trip across Bonne Bay Pond afforded the opportunity to visit many of the artists’ galleries and shops in the Woody Point area, several of which were either founded by graduates of Grenfell College’s visual arts program or exhibit alumni work on a regular basis.

Farther up the peninsula, Dr. Kachanoski had an opportunity to take in the SS Ethie Dinner Theatre, presented at Gros Morne Theatre Festival (GMTF) by Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador. Several members of the GMTF company are graduates, current students or former employees of Grenfell College.
Thursday brought more exploratory opportunities, as the president participated in a tidal walk with a Memorial field course at the marine station and kayaked in Bonne Bay.

“It was a thrill to spend some time travelling the beautiful west coast, meeting faculty, staff and graduates of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College and touring the area. I’m already looking forward to future visits,” said Dr. Kachanoski. “I believe it is essential to understand the people and places that make Newfoundland and Labrador such a remarkable place. Memorial has a special role to play in the life of this province and I look forward to shaping its future success.”

Dr. Kachanoski was in Labrador this week.