News Releases

The Divison of Marketing and Communications provides access to the most up-to-date information released by Memorial University of Newfoundland. Archives of previous news releases are also available.

To access news releases from Grenfell Campus please click here.

REF NO.: 323

SUBJECT: Memorial University president honoured as one of Atlantic Canada’s Top 50 CEOs

DATE: May 12

Dr. Axel Meisen has been named one of the Top 50 CEOs by Atlantic Business magazine. Dr. Meisen has been the president of Memorial University, the only university in Newfoundland and Labrador, since 1999.

Since 1999, Atlantic Business magazine’s Top 50 CEO recognition program has saluted the region’s management talent. Nominations come from Atlantic Business readers and are judged by a select panel of business executives. Judging criteria include: the size and growth of the individual’s organization; his or her proven managerial acumen; plus, demonstrated community and industry leadership.

The award was presented at a gala dinner at the Westin Hotel in Halifax on Wednesday, May 11. Winners will also be profiled in the May/June issue of Atlantic Business.

Memorial University has recorded a number of significant successes during Dr. Meisen’s tenure. In relation to industry, a new oil and gas development partnership was launched, with Memorial establishing itself as a premier university in oil and gas studies and research. New programs have been created, including a master’s program in oil and gas studies. In other areas, a master’s program in music, a doctoral program in education and a diploma program in police studies have been created. Over the past five years, research funding from external agencies has more than doubled – rising from $30 million to $80 million – and Dr. Meisen is striving to ensure that Memorial’s annual research funding can reach $100 million per year by 2010.

Student enrolments have also risen (from 15,500 to 17,700) and the university is expanding its marketing efforts both inside and outside the province. In addition, Dr. Meisen has championed the expansion of programs and renovation of the Memorial University campus in Harlow, England. On Newfoundland’s West Coast, he has overseen the creation of the outstanding Bonne Bay Marine Station at Norris Point and the construction of first-rate residences on Memorial University’s Sir Wilfred Grenfell College campus in Corner Brook. Important current objectives are to grow the college by adding innovative, high-demand programs in areas such as tourism and to give the college a strong research dimension. The university’s Office of Student Affairs and Services has created award-winning support programs for students and a new student centre, the Smallwood Centre, has replaced the outdated Thomson Student Centre. A $13 million Field House was constructed and incorporated into The Works, a new recreational complex that is widely used by members of the university and outside community. It is also the home of the Sea-Hawks teams and the location of a new wellness program for university employees.

“While being named to the Top 50 CEOs by Atlantic Business magazine is recognition of my activities, it is also recognition of the outstanding accomplishments of the university as a whole. Memorial University has effective leaders throughout the organization, who make it one of the most exciting universities anywhere,” said Dr. Meisen. “I particularly want to acknowledge the strong support of our provincial government and the people throughout our great province. With their continued support, Memorial University will become widely recognized as one of the great universities of the world, known for its ingenuity and creativity. Their support will also enable the university to play a key role in the transformation of the province’s economy.”

Other CEOs honoured by Atlantic Business included several Memorial University alumni: Jerry Byrne, president & CEO, D.F. Barnes Ltd. (B.Eng.'77) ; Neil Chaulk, president and CEO, ICAN (B.Eng.'89); Ann Marie Hann, CEO, Workplace, Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (B.Comm.'81; MBA'83);Ken Marshall, regional president, Atlantic, Rogers Cable Communications Inc. (B.Comm.(Hons.)'84; MBA'85);Karl Smith, president and CEO, Newfoundland Power Inc. (B.Comm.'81); and Robert G. Steele, president and CEO, Newfoundland Capital Corporation (BA'84).

Dr. Axel Meisen: Biographical notes

Prior to joining Memorial in 1999, Dr. Meisen was a professor of chemical engineering at the University of British Columbia (UBC) where he also served two terms as dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and, earlier, in other administrative capacities. Dr. Meisen has worked as a special adviser to Methanex Corporation in Vancouver, an engineer with Imperial Oil Ltd. and as a consultant to national and international petroleum and chemical companies. He also taught chemical engineering at McGill University.

Dr. Meisen holds a PhD in chemical engineering from McGill University in Montreal(1970), and an M.Sc. from the California Institute of Technology (1966). He completed his B.Sc. degree at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London, England(1965).

A fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, Dr. Meisen is a professional engineer (P.Eng.) and European engineer (EurIng). He has been awarded the Medal of Distinction by the Government of Peru. He is a member of the Peruvian Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland. He was also elected as a fellow of the Canadian Institute of Chemistry. He has received awards for his research papers from the Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, the Professional Service Award from the Association of Professional Engineers of British Columbia, and the ERCO Award for outstanding contributions to the field of chemical engineering.

Dr. Meisen has published extensively in subjects related to chemical engineering, education, international development and professional accreditation.

Editors note: A photo of the award presentation to Dr. Meisen can be viewed at

- 30 -

For more information, please contact IvanMuzychka, manager, Memorial University News Service, at 737-8665, 687-9433or


Marketing & Communications

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000