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article imageOp-Ed: New Chancellor at Canadian university SFU

By Gibril Koroma     Oct 21, 2010 in World
Vancouver - Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby, British Columbia has named a new chancellor. She is Carole Taylor, a former BC Finance minister, former Member of the Legislative Assemby (MLA) and Canada Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) board chair.
Reaction to Taylor's appointment from the university community has so far been largely positive; she is an extremely charismatic person that political analysts here thought would succeed Premier Gordon Campbell as leader of the BC Liberals and possibly become the next premier.
But Carole has announced that she has has no further interest in politics, provincial or federal. She would rather operate, she said, in an environment like SFU where issues can be debated freely, something not common in the political field, according to her.
SFU, like most Canadian universities, is always looking for good funding prospects to implement its numerous programs, and Carole, well connected and known to the business community, is the quintessential fundraiser and network guru that will open the doors.
Another excellent choice the university made recently is the appointment of Andrew Petter, another former BC Finance minister and Attorney General, to the post of president or chief executive officer. With two former Finance ministers at the pinnacle of its administration, many observers here are convinced the hill top university is heading for a funding nirvana.
But there is a little problem: This is a university with a left-leaning heritage and tradition that came into being during the heady days of the revolutionary 60s. This tradition still manifests itself from time to time in the behaviour of some students, faculty and alumni. Recently a "gift" of $10 million from mining conglomerate Goldcorp that was accepted by the university raised a hue and cry from several members of the SFU family. So Carole is going to have a lot of heated debates on campus, no doubt about that.
Carole is however very optimistic and enthusiastic about the new job. She told told the university's media relations department:
"At the Economic Advisory Council, we recently spent a lot of time questioning what Canada's role in the world would be going forward. And it didn't matter what slice of the issue you were looking at, the answer always came back to education."
"I look forward to working with president Petter and all the faculty, students, alumni and staff at SFU with that goal in mind. What kind of Canada do we want? And what is SFU's role in that particular future?
President Petter is equally enthusiastic. He said:
"Carole Taylor is known across Canada as a leader who embraces change, and challenges us to think creatively about the major issues of the day."
"SFU is fortunate to have attracted a person of such vast experience and so profound an understanding of the value of higher education."
The post of chancellor is ceremonial and unpaid. Carole will be the tenth SFU chancellor and will assume office in June next year.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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