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Pamela Wallin Named New Chancellor of UoG

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Written by Gonzalo Moreno

After months of search, consultation and short-listing, journalist Pamela Wallin has been confirmed by the University Senate as UoG’s new chancellor. She will begin her term in June, as current chancellor Lincoln Alexander is elevated to an ad-hoc Chancellor Emeritus position. UoG president Alastair Summerlee indicated in the last installment of the Rumour Mill that he would like the new chancellor to “learn the ropes under [Alexander’s] tutelage.”

Wallin is best known as a television journalist. She has co-hosted Canada AM on CTV and The National with Peter Mansbridge on CBC. She has also had stints with CBC Radio, the Toronto Star, and was CTV’s Ottawa bureau chief in the mid-1980s. Upon her departure from the CBC in 1995, Wallin created her own production company and headlined her own Pamela Wallin Live, a critically acclaimed daily interview show. She also hosted the Canadian edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, which will surely come in handy when attending disputed votes in the Board of Governors. Just take the 50-50 lifeline instead of doing a strawpull.

In 2002, after she helped to organize “Canada Loves New York” rallies after 9/11, Jean Chrétien appointed her Consul General to the Big Apple, a term which ended in 2006. Wallin sits on the boards of BMO, Bell Globomedia and various corporate, academic and social institutions, and has raked in an impressive number of awards, fellowships and honorary degrees, including an honorary Doctor of Laws degree awarded by UoG in 2006.

“Pamela is an outstanding role model who has demonstrated the highest levels of integrity and passion both in her career and in her volunteer service,” said Summerlee in a press release. The chancellor is expected to participate in ceremonial university activities (the big one being convocations) and to work with the Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees.

While it is very difficult to follow in the footsteps of a figure as renowned and beloved as Alexander, it is clear that the University is looking for its new chancellor to fulfill more of a strong public relations role. In its Chancellor Search documents, the University expressed the will “look to the new Chancellor being willing to use a network of connections to advocate for the postsecondary system, and the University of Guelph in particular.”

In the aforementioned press release, Summerlee added that “[h]er reputation will bring additional lustre to the University through her public stature and demeanour.” Summerlee already mentioned in the Rumour Mill that the University of Guelph is trying to increase its public profile to attract philanthropic donations to help balance UoG’s horrifying budget shortfalls. The addition of an individual as well-known and well-connected as Wallin will be invaluable for these purposes.

Wallin is excited to be installed: “the University of Guelph has deservedly earned a reputation for quality and excellence and I am thrilled, and truly honoured, to become Chancellor.”

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