Laurier’s new chancellor
During the Oct. 28 fall convocation, Michael Lee-Chin will become Wilfrid Laurier University’s eighth chancellor. The position of chancellor, which was previously held by John A. Pollock, is considered to be largely ceremonial.
Laurier president and vice-chancellor Max Blouw explained, “The Chancellor is the titular he of the university, it is a very symbolic position, with very little in the way of legal and administrative work.”
Among the most critical duties that the role entails is the awarding of degrees to graduating students. Moreover, the chancellor is responsible for advocating for the university on an external level.
With the chancellor effectively serving as the chief of the university, it is no surprise that choosing a successor for the outgoing Pollock was no small feat.
Although the selection process is shrouded in secrecy, Blouw described, “One of the things that struck me about Mr. Lee-Chin is that he is a deeply caring individual; about society, about individuals, and about issues of education.”
These qualities were all imperative when deciding on who would lead WLU into a new century. In addition to possessing the aforementioned qualities, Blouw also highlighted that, “Mr. Lee-Chin has an enormous affinity for students and really enjoys working with them.”
Lee-Chin’s extensive resume, which includes a number of incredibly successful business ventures, as well as numerous philanthropic endeavours will, in his opinion, served to prepare him for his newly appointed role as chancellor.
“[I’ve] been training all my life for this job,” said Lee-Chin.
Aside from being awarded an honorary doctorate degree by WLU in 2008, Lee-Chin has not had any previous ties to the university. Despite this, he has clear expectations concerning the direction in which he hopes Laurier will head towards in the coming years.
In order to illustrate this vision, Lee-Chin recalled, “While I was in India a month ago, in the city of Kampoor, I was sitting in a boardroom, surrounded only by people from India. I asked myself, ‘If I had been educated from primary, secondary and post-secondary school, only in Waterloo or in Burlington, would I be as comfortable in this boardroom and would these people be as comfortable having me here?’”
The sense of international awareness is something that Lee-Chin feels is imperative. Throughout his tenure as chancellor, he he hopes, “To make each student at Wilfrid Laurier a globally oriented a globally conscious individual.”