REF NO.: 38
|SUBJECT:||Memorial’s president to step down in December to take new post; VP (academic) to serve as interim president|
|DATE:||Oct. 19, 2007|
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 as president, 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, and until a new president is recruited.
Gil Dalton, chairman of Memorial’s Board of Regents, made the announcements today, following a board meeting yesterday. 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. Eddy 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.”
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Biography – Dr. Axel Meisen
Axel Meisen is a professional engineer with a career in both academia and the private sector. He came to Memorial University in 1999 from the position of dean of Applied Science and professor of chemical engineering at the University of British Columbia. He has been a strategic advisor to both national and international petroleum and chemical companies. He holds degrees in chemical engineering from McGill University (PhD), California Institute of Technology (master's) and Imperial College of Science and Technology (bachelor's) in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Meisen was recently chair of the Atlantic Association of Universities, chair of the board of Petroleum Research Atlantic Canada, and has served as a member on the board of both the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, and the Association of Commonwealth Universities. He was recognized in 2005, 2006 and 2007 as one of the top 50 CEOs in Atlantic Canada.
Since Dr. Meisen's appointment in 1999, Memorial's enrolment has grown from approximately 15,500 to 18,000 students. Statistics show that more than 70 per cent of Memorial graduates now remain and work in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador following graduation.
Many existing programs have been reviewed and enhanced and major new programs have been added, including programs in Education, Pharmacy, Music, Applied Health Services Research, Instrumental Analysis, Oil and Gas Studies, Police Studies, Business, Tourism Studies and Sustainable Resource Management (the last three at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College).
Services to students have been improved: new chalet-style student residences were built at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook, a new student centre (the Smallwood Centre) was created on the St. John's Campus and the Harlow Campus in England has been modernized. Wireless computer access is now available to students on all campuses in the province. General computing infrastructure has been upgraded, making Memorial University a leading university in information technology.
Memorial University has been developing strong programs in research and other scholarly activities. The university's external research funding has risen from $35 million in 1999 to approximately $90 million in 2007.
Substantial funding was raised for new infrastructure for advanced research and teaching, including the Inco Innovation Centre, Petro-Canada Hall for music, the Landmark Graphics Visualization Laboratory for rendering complex data in four dimensions, the Bonne Bay Marine Station in western Newfoundland and the Atlantic Computational Excellence Network. Many of these initiatives are the results of collaboration with other universities and/or public and private sector organizations in Atlantic Canada.
In 2006-07 a new institutional strategic plan was developed collaboratively by the faculty, staff, student and alumni of Memorial University and the people of the communities that the university serves in Newfoundland and Labrador and beyond.
Biography – Dr. HEA (Eddy) Campbell
Dr. Eddy Campbell is a mathematician who holds two degrees from Memorial University and a PhD from the University of Toronto. Before taking up the post of Memorial’s vice-president (academic) on May 1, 2004, Dr. Campbell was an associate dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. He completed postdoctoral studies at the University of Western Ontario before joining Queen's Department of Mathematics and Statistics in 1983. His main research interest is the invariant theory of finite groups.
He served as president of the Canadian Mathematical Society from 2004 to 2006. He has also been involved in a variety of fund-raising activities on behalf of universities, the Canadian Mathematical Society and the United Way. He is presently serving a three-year term as a member of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
For further information please, contact Ivan Muzychka, associate director (communications), Memorial University, at 687-9433.