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Board chair reappointed; members added, renewed

By David Sorensen

Even for a high-energy guy like Bob Simmonds, the past three years as chair of the Board of Regents has been a whirlwind. Now renewed as chair for a further three years, the St. John's lawyer is looking forward to an agenda filled with growth for the university.

"It has been an absolutely wonderful experience," said Mr. Simmonds of his first term. "When I was appointed, the university was facing significant challenges, from the autonomy of the university to the place of Grenfell to the presidential search. We're way past that now. It's tremendous that three years later, we have a new president, Dr. Gary Kachanoski, we have a much better line of communication and a collegiality and an interaction with Grenfell. I think they now are feeling that they are a big, vital, important part of Memorial University."

Mr. Simmonds said from his discussions with faculty and staff, the attitude around the university is more positive now than at any time during his three-year tenure, thanks in large part to the choice of the new president.

"That compliment comes about because of a tremendous search committee, because of the great pick in Dr. Kachanoski, because of the people that he was then able to pick and to a great Board of Regents."

Mr. Simmonds also praised both Drs. Eddy Campbell and Chris Loomis who sat in the president's chair pro tempore prior to the hiring of Dr. Kachanoski.

The board chair said with the challenges of leadership firmly in the rear-view mirror, the university must now turn to current needs, the primary one being aging infrastructure.

"Our next challenge is the Science building," he said. Another area of focus is the growth of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

Mr. Simmonds' re-appointment to the board chair was made by the provincial cabinet.

The province also reappointed to the board Donna Stone, Gilbert Bennett, Noreen Greene-Fraize and Jerry Byrne.

Eleanor Swanson and Steve Belanger were also appointed to the board. While it is Mr. Belanger's first term on the board, Ms. Swanson had previously served two terms as an elected alumni representative and also as the vice-chair of the board.

These appointments are all three-year terms, starting Nov. 21, 2011.

Michael Walsh was appointed by the provincial government as a students' union (MUNSU) representative for a two-year term.

The Board of Regents is responsible for the governing of the university. The management, administration and control of the property, revenue, business and affairs of Memorial are vested in the board.

The 30-member board consists of three ex-officio members including the chancellor, president and provost; six members elected by the university's alumni; as well as four full-time students and 17 other members appointed by the provincial cabinet.