Board of Regents names Memorialís next president

Nov. 18, 2009

The Board of Regents of Memorial University of Newfoundland announced today the appointment of internationally-renowned academic and scholar Dr. Gary Kachanoski as the next president and vice-chancellor of Newfoundland and Labrador’s only university.

The announcement was made on behalf of the Board by Robert Simmonds, chair of the Board and chair of the university’s Presidential Search Committee.

Born in Manitoba and raised in Saskatchewan, Dr. Kachanoski currently hails from Alberta where he most recently served as vice-president (research) with the University of Alberta [For more detail, see attached backgrounder].

“On behalf of the Board and the entire Memorial University community, I am pleased to welcome Dr. Kachanoski to our great institution,” said Mr. Simmonds.

“After a long and detailed process, we have found our next president; a man with foresight, strong leadership skills, and a commitment to lead Memorial into its future. The experience he has gained from holding senior academic and administrative positions in a university which has twice as many students as Memorial will be a tremendous asset for our university and our province.

“Dr. Kachanoski’s love of the North, awareness of the challenges facing rural communities, coupled with a keen appreciation of the arts, make him well-suited for a leadership position in Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said.

Mr. Simmonds added: “This decision is shared by many. We formed a representative search committee, we consulted widely inside and outside the university, and we kept our communities informed as we moved through every step of the process. The interest in this position was outstanding with almost 50 candidates from leading national and international academic institutions. This reflected well on Memorial’s reputation as a great university.”

Mr. Simmonds said that in accordance with the Memorial University Act, the Senate of the university, the institution’s academic governing body, has been consulted on the appointment and the provincial cabinet has received and accepted the Board of Regent’s unanimous recommendation for appointment. “We made one recommendation to government and I am pleased to say that, without question, that recommendation was accepted,” said Mr. Simmonds.

Dr. Kachanoski will commence his new role as Memorial’s president and vice-chancellor July 1, 2010.

Dr. Chris Loomis will continue leading the university as president and vice-chancellor pro tempore until then.

“I want to thank all those who assisted us in this process, with special thanks to our consultants, Janet Wright and Associates, and the Presidential Search Committee for the hard work they undertook in bringing this complex search to such a positive conclusion for the university and the province,” said Mr. Simmonds.

Dr. Gary Kachanoski

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.

He currently serves as professor and Bentley Research Chair (Soil, Water & Environment) at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Concurrently he serves as executive director of folkwaysAlive!, a joint initiative of the University of Alberta and the Smithsonian Institution 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 by the Smithsonian for his vision and leadership.

He served as founding chair (2005-2007) 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.

Prior to this (2001-2007) he served as vice-president (research) at the University of Alberta. During his tenure in that position 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 started his academic career in 1987 at the University of Guelph where he served as professor, researcher, program director and department chair. At Guelph his leadership work with rural communities and organizations was recognized in 1992 when he was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Extension Award.

In 1996 he then took up a new challenge at the University of Saskatchewan as dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research where he served until he moved to University of Alberta in 2001.

Dr. Kachanoski has had over 100 publications in refereed journals, paper 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.

In the statement he was asked to prepare during the competition, Dr. Kachanoski cited the contribution and importance of Memorial University to the intellectual, social, cultural and economic development of Newfoundland and Labrador and he acknowledged that this constituted the primary reason for his interest in the position of president and vice-chancellor.


B.Sc. (Honours), Biology, University of Saskatchewan, 1976

M.Sc., Soil Science, University of Saskatchewan, 1980

PhD, Soil Physics, University of California (Davis), 1984


Born:   Oct. 31, 1954, in Dauphin, Manitoba, raised in rural Saskatchewan

Dr. Kachanoski is married with three children. His partner, Teresa Kachanoski, holds a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Alberta and is president (2006-present) of the Society of Northern Alberta Print Artists (SNAP). SNAP is a not-for-profit, artist-run organization that operates an exhibition gallery, print production and education centre in downtown Edmonton.

His hobbies and interests include the north, recreational and sport fishing and hockey (he played Junior A hockey in Saskatchewan and varsity hockey for University of Saskatchewan Huskies).

Presidential Search Committee

Chair: Robert Simmonds

Board of Regents’ representatives: Jennifer Guy, Jim Keating

Faculty representatives: Prof. Shane O’Dea, Department of English; Dr. Donald McKay, Faculty of Medicine; Dr. Sonya Corbin Dwyer, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College; Cyr Couturier, Marine Institute.

Student representatives: Cameron Campbell, MUNSU; Kimberley Keats, GSU

Academic administrator: Dr. Mark Abrahams, dean, Faculty of Science

Non-academic administrator: Ann Marie Vaughan, Director, Distance Education and Learning Technologies

Representative of the public-at-large: Steve Belanger, Belanger Clarke Follett & McGettigan

Secretary: Tina Pardy, Office of the Board of Regents

Advisor: Glenn Collins, University Registrar

Consultants: Janet Wright and Associates [Dr. Janet Wright and Jim Lundy]


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