Presidential Installation 101

November 4, 2020 | Campus Life, Society
On November 6, Dr. Annette Trimbee will officially be installed as the sixth president of MacEwan University.

Presidential installation ceremonies have a long history in academic institutions. In 1959, the elements of these ceremonies were formalized in the Committee on Academic Costumes and Ceremonies’ Academic Ceremony Guide, though many of the traditions in the book date back centuries. MacEwan’s own installation ceremonies build upon these traditions to create an experience that honours the university’s own unique history as an institution.

Here are a few facts about presidential installations to get you prepared for the upcoming event.

What is an installation ceremony?

An installation serves two purposes. The first is to officially transfer institutional power to the new president. “That power is passed in two ways,” explains John Beke, assistant registrar. “Authority from the Government of Alberta is passed through the Lieutenant Governor, and then academic authority is usually transferred by the chancellor to the new president and vice-chancellor. Because MacEwan doesn’t have a chancellor yet, the Lieutenant Governor could conduct the installation or the chair of the Board of Governors could act as the intermediary.”

The second purpose of an installation ceremony is to allow the president to address the people they will be working for and with – the same way a head of state might at an inauguration ceremony. “Installation allows a new president to get in front of major constituents from inside and outside the institution, and speak publicly about their vision for the institution for the first time”



Presidential Installation Ceremony

On November 6, 2020, Dr. Annette Trimbee will be installed as the sixth president and vice-chancellor of MacEwan University.

What happens at an installation ceremony?

There are a few ceremonial elements that honour both academic and MacEwan history and traditions. A few you can look out for include:

  • Academic procession: A typical installation ceremony begins with a procession of the university’s administrative officers, the Board of Governors, faculty, representatives from other academic institutions, dignitaries and speakers. For Dr. Trimbee’s installation, the procession will be a little smaller than usual to account for COVID-19 safety protocols.

  • Regalia: Members of the procession wear gowns, hoods, stoles and hats representing their discipline and their alma mater.

  • Mace: The procession is led by a mace bearer, carrying the institution’s ceremonial mace. MacEwan’s mace is particularly meaningful – it’s a walking stick hand-carved by the university’s namesake, Dr. J.W. Grant MacEwan.

  • Oath of office: Dr. Trimbee will take an oath of office, issued by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.

  • Installation address: Dr. Trimbee will address members of the MacEwan community following the Oath of Office.

But wait … hasn’t Dr. Trimbee already been the president for a few months?

Though the installation ceremony will formally inaugurate Dr. Trimbee, she has been leading MacEwan since August. MacEwan’s presidential installation ceremonies often take place after a president’s term has already begun and typically during convocation ceremonies, which occur at fixed times during the academic year.

Why should I attend?

Students, employees, alumni and community members all have a vested interest in the direction of the university. “This is your first opportunity to hear what the president's vision is, and how it’s going to impact you,” says Beke.

How do I attend?

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Dr. Trimbee’s installation will be a primarily virtual event. Though it might look a little different from past ceremonies, it will still embrace MacEwan’s unique history and traditions. You can attend virtually by tuning into the live stream. Get the details and program here.

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