University announces new president

March 1, 2017


Dr. Deborah Saucier will take the helm on July 1, 2017.

An accomplished academic and successful university administrator, Deborah comes to MacEwan from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa, Ontario, where she is the provost and vice-president, academic and the former dean of science.

Deborah is excited to be returning to Alberta to lead MacEwan University. Before joining the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in 2011, she was the chair of the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge and a Tier 2 Canada research chair in behavioural neuroscience, with a specialty in spatial cognition.

“I am delighted and honoured to have been selected to serve as the next president of MacEwan University,” she says. “The enthusiasm and energy of the university shines through its people and I am excited to join such an innovative and unique institution that is so focussed on making transformational change in the lives of Albertans.”

The incoming president sees a bright future for MacEwan. “I will work to ensure that the university’s programs and priorities continue to attract the very best people who are highly regarded – locally, provincially, nationally and internationally.”

Acting board chair, Edmonton lawyer Enzo J. Barichello, QC, noted that the presidential search process included an extensive consultation with the university community and external stakeholders as well as a comprehensive international outreach. “We are so fortunate to have had such a tremendous response to our search for a new president. Dr. Saucier was the unanimous choice of the Board of Governors and we look forward to working with such an impressive academic leader and community connector.”

“There are similarities between the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and MacEwan which helped make Dr. Saucier such an outstanding candidate – both are relatively new universities with long histories that focus on the student experience, excellence in teaching and an emphasis on education as a life-changing experience,” added Barichello. “Dr. Saucier is absolutely the right choice for the next stage in MacEwan’s journey.”

Barichello expressed the university’s appreciation to outgoing president David Atkinson. “In his six years as president, David made an enormous difference to MacEwan University and his impact will be felt for years to come. Through his vision and dedication, MacEwan has matured as an undergraduate, student-focused university and garnered national and international attention. It is my pleasure to thank David, on behalf of the Board of Governors, for his truly outstanding contributions.” Atkinson will return to teaching in the university’s department of English in July 2018.

Originally from Saskatoon, Deborah is a member of the Central Urban Metis Federation Incorporated. She is deeply committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and to the power of education to transform lives.

She is married to curator and contemporary artist Chai Duncan. They have an eight-year-old daughter who is the light of their lives.

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