Dr. Trimbee addresses the mostly virtual audience at the installation ceremony, broadcast from the Triffo Theatre in Allard Hall.
“This is a time of transformation for MacEwan University”
Early in her remarks, Trimbee spoke of a university president’s responsibility to look forward and shape their institution in ways that respond to the world around them. She recalled the first time she heard Senator Murray Sinclair, former chair of the Reconciliation Commission of Canada, speak of four fundamental questions educators must help students address: Where do I come from? Where am I going? Why am I here? Who am I?
“These are not questions I considered during my own education,” she said. “I left Winnipeg the first time at the age of 24 with two degrees yet no knowledge of treaties, residential schools or my own Métis history. I had unfinished business and things about me that I needed to understand.”
However, she explained that her university experience was transformational – as it is for all undergraduate students. “It is the transformational change our graduates’ experience that positions them for miyo-pimâtisiwin – Cree for ‘to live a good life.’”
She went on to speak of how MacEwan University is also in the midst of its own transformational change; how to address the many challenges the institution currently faces: doing more with less, addressing critical social justice issues, helping our province diversify its industries and economy, claiming our place in Alberta’s future post-secondary landscape, shaping our institution and shifting our teaching paradigm to fit a post-pandemic world.
“In light of all of this, looking forward in a meaningful way means that we too should be asking ourselves a variation of Senator Sinclair’s questions,” she said.
Answering those questions, she explained, also affords the university a tremendous opportunity to take what we already have and build it back even better post-COVID-19.
Trimbee spoke of the need to look back and consider what has come before and the big decisions that led MacEwan to where it is today: the university’s connection and responsibility to the First Peoples who first lived on this land; the historical significance of being on what was once the old Canadian National rail yards; the decisions to create MacEwan’s first transfer programs and to become a university while retaining diploma and certificate programs; and to build a campus downtown and embed the university in the heart of Edmonton.
“There’s something about downtown universities – of being in the heart of things – that I find so compelling,” she said. “It’s more than the physical footprint of downtown campuses. We add to the vibrancy of our cities and bring energy, fresh ideas and a keen interest in tackling the issues of our time.”
While looking at and preserving the critical parts of what has come before is important, she said, the university community must also ask itself what needs to change: What does MacEwan want to be in 2030? What are the most impactful things the university can do to help the city and region have a brighter future? How can MacEwan best support and prepare our students for the future?
“We are at a turning point. We cannot take our relevance for granted, and we have some choices to make. Our plans must be more than incremental. We must be bold. We must think like futurists.”
Looking toward 2030, MacEwan must be an agent for change in the community, serve its community by sharing expertise and scholarly work, think globally while focusing on solving issues at home, and figure out exactly where it fits within the ecosystem of post-secondary education.
“We want to be best-in-kind, but our 'kind' – downtown universities – are built on collaboration. Good partnerships are reciprocal, and we must find ways to work together with our post-secondary colleagues, local businesses and our community.”
Trimbee closed her address by explaining that while returning to Winnipeg, her childhood home, to become a university president for the first time closed one circle for her, returning to Edmonton is a step toward completing another.
“I’ve spent most of my adult life in this city. It’s where I built my career. It’s where my children were born and raised and where they live today,” she said. “Much of my public service career was in ministries that aimed to diversify Alberta’s economy, and there is so much more to be done on that front. I care deeply about Edmonton. I care deeply about Alberta’s future. And I’m hopeful that the journey we are on together will help us build back better.”
Presidential Installation photo gallery
A small group of dignitaries and guests took their places on stage after the academic procession that began the installation of Dr. Annette Trimbee, MacEwan’s sixth president. The processional music, Cascades, was composed by Dr. Allan Gilliland, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications.
Dr. Craig Monk, provost & vice-president, Academic, welcomed attendees as master of ceremonies.
Dr. Trimbee’s children, Kieren Trimbee and Gillian Wilson, spoke about their mother’s ferocious love of teaching and learning, her appreciation of diversity and the impact she has had on many people.
Carolyn Graham, chair of the Board of Governors, shared remarks about the search for MacEwan’s sixth president and the selection of Dr. Trimbee.
The Honourable Salma Lakhani, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, called upon Dr. Trimbee to take the oath of office.
Dr. Trimbee raised her right hand and swore to, without fear or favour, truly and faithfully carry out the several duties and powers of the president and vice-chancellor of MacEwan University.
Dr. Trimbee’s family, including her son Kieren, assisted her in donning her new presidential robes.
Roxanne Tootoosis, Indigenous Knowledge Keeper and facilitator, presented Dr. Trimbee with a MacEwan Pendleton Blanket after an Indigenous invocation from Elder Maria Campbell. Fawn Wood, an artist from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, performed an honour song composed by her father.
Dr. Trimbee shared her installation address.
Chandelle Rimmer and Dr. Tom Van Seters, associate professors of music, performed <i>Somewhere Over the Rainbow </i>. The 2020/21 MacEwan University Big Band, under the direction of Raymond Baril, associate professor of music, performed throughout the event.
Several individuals, representing faculty, students and the greater Edmonton and Alberta communities, shared messages of congratulations, and included James Cumming, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre (above), The Honourable Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education, His Worship Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmonton, Grand Chief William (Billy) Morin, Confederacy of Treaty Six, President Audrey Poitras, Métis Nation of Alberta, President Sean Waddingham, Students’ Association of MacEwan University, President Donna Mae Winquist, MacEwan Staff Association, President Rafat Alam, Grant MacEwan University Faculty Association and Chancellor Barb Gamey, The University of Winnipeg.
Mace bearer Dr. David McLaughlin, associate vice-president, Planning & Analysis and university registrar, prepared to lead the recessional, ending the presidential installation ceremony.