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Vol 40  No 5
November 1, 2007


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Memorial’s president to step down

Memorial University’s president, Dr. Axel Meisen, will finish his term eight months early in order to accept an appointment as chair of foresight with the Alberta Research Council (ARC). The university’s Board of Regents has accepted Dr. Meisen’s resignation which takes effect Dec. 31, 2007.

The board also announced that Dr. Eddy Campbell, Memorial’s vice-president (academic), will serve as acting president, effective Jan. 1, 2008, until a new president is recruited.

Gil Dalton, chair of the Board of Regents, made the announcements following a board meeting Oct. 18. Mr. Dalton thanked Dr. Meisen for his outstanding leadership of the province’s university since 1999.

“Axel Meisen has given so much to Memorial in his time as president; his legacy of careful planning, strategic growth and continuous quality improvement, plus his special focus on innovation, will stand the institution in good stead as it moves forward. We wish him well in the upcoming new phase of his career,” said Mr. Dalton.

Dr. Meisen said that he is gratified by the developments he has been able to oversee at Memorial during his eight years at the helm.

“It has been both professionally and personally satisfying to see the many positive developments that have occurred at the university during my term,” said Dr. Meisen.

“Amongst the most satisfying developments are the increase in our student enrolment, the success of our graduates, the increase in annual research funds to approximately $90 million and improvements to our infrastructure.

“The establishment of a collegial and respectful working environment with all members of our community was one of my primary aims and I think that good progress has been made in that regard.

“Today, Memorial University is not only well respected in our province, but also in Canada and abroad.

“I have had the pleasure of working with fine students and colleagues in the university, in government and in the wider community. I thank them sincerely for their support and understanding since I came to the university in 1999,” he said.

He added that the prospect of making the job change is bittersweet.

“Barbara and I are sorry to leave the university and the province,” Dr. Meisen said. Barbara Girard is Dr. Meisen’s partner. “We value the many people whom we have come to know and now call friends here,” he said.

“At the same time, I am excited by the prospect of the ARC position, which is a brand new post. The key responsibility will involve conceptualizing and implementing foresight activities that will permit ARC to select new initiatives and address key issues.”

To do so, Dr. Meisen will engage and access pre-eminent thinkers from Canada and around the world with a focus on defining issues where ARC can strengthen its role as a strategic agent for economic development across Alberta.

“I will have a new range of challenges and opportunities, some of which may give me an opportunity to partner with researchers and others in Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said.

Mr. Dalton said he is pleased Dr. Campbell has agreed to serve as acting president until the ongoing search for a new president is completed in the spring.

“Anticipating Dr. Meisen’s departure in August 2008, the board had already begun the selection process for a new president, hoping to recruit an individual by early spring to start work by September 2008. His earlier departure won’t really affect that process,” he said.

“We are deeply appreciative of Dr. Campbell’s willingness to provide leadership in the interim. As the second-in-command presently, he has a deep understanding of both the institution and the community, making him the ideal person to step into the presidential role now.”

Mr. Dalton added that the university will recognize Dr. Meisen’s leadership and accomplishments formally through events in the next few months. More details will be forthcoming.

An extended interview with Dr. Meisen will appear in an upcoming edition of the Gazette.

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