Dr. Gary Kachanoski (pronounced catch-an-AW-ski) moved into Memorial’s Office of the President today and will begin his term as Memorial’s new president on July 1, 2010. His first official duty will be 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. Over the next few months we’ll be introducing Gary to the people of the province and the country so he can connect with Memorial University’s students, employees, alumni, funders and donors to hear what they have to say.”
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. It will be vital to now appoint people to these roles so that we can continue to set strategic goals and the work of further planning can begin.
“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. That will be an important focus for me in the coming months.”
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. Dr. Kachanoski has more than 100 publications in refereed journals, papers and book chapters on his research in soil physics, focusing on the fate and movement of water, chemicals and gases through the soil and landscapes, and on water and soil management.
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.
He served as founding chair (2005-07) and driving force behind the creation of TEC Edmonton, a joint venture with the City of Edmonton and other regional partners for advancing technology commercialization and business acceleration. In 2007 he was awarded the Enterprise Award from TEC Edmonton for his contributions to technology transfer and research commercialization in the region.
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 $490 million, growth that moved the institution from fifth in Canada for total research revenue to second, according to independent ranking undertaken by Re$earch Infosource.
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.