ANTIGONISH — St. Francis Xavier University’s (StFX) Board of Governors is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Kent MacDonald as the University’s 18th President and Vice-Chancellor.
“The Board of Governors and the Presidential Selection Committee conducted a thorough and comprehensive search to identify a President and Vice-Chancellor who embodies the academic experience, values, and leadership skills necessary to be president of one of the best institutions in the country,” said Mark Wallace, Chair of the Presidential Selection Committee, and the StFX Board of Governors. “We are delighted to have found such a leader in Dr. MacDonald, an alumnus whose exemplary qualifications will build on StFX’s extraordinary strengths, and further position the university for long-term, sustainable success.”
The selection of Dr. MacDonald concludes an eight-month international search in which the Board established a thoughtful and deliberate selection process and received expressions of interest from across North America and beyond. The search was supported by one of Canada’s premier executive search firms -- Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette.
Dr. MacDonald was born in Halifax and raised in New Glasgow, NS. He is a graduate of StFX with a Master of Education in 1993, and a Bachelor of Science, Physical Education, in 1986. He completed his Doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania where his research focused on higher education management. He also holds an MBA from Université d'Ottawa.
“I am very passionate about higher education and am a believer in the model of education at my alma mater. StFX University delivers on a commitment to provide the very best educational experience. I feel tremendously fortunate to have the opportunity to work closely with exemplary faculty and staff in shaping StFX’s future,” said Dr. MacDonald.
Dr. MacDonald is currently President and Chief Executive Officer at Algonquin College, an institution with over 20,000 students and campuses in Ottawa, Perth, Pembroke, Saudi Arabia, and a newly constructed campus in Kuwait that will be opening later this year. He has held increasingly complex roles within higher education, having served as an Academic Chair; Dean, School of Business; Executive Director, Strategy and Business Development; Vice President, Student Services and Development; and Vice President Academic. He has lectured and addressed audiences in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He brings a deep understanding of higher education enrolment management and the pragmatic application of digital technologies in the learning environment.
In addition to his post-secondary academic pursuits, Dr. MacDonald has led private sector and not-for-profit organizations in Ontario and has been a teacher in the K-12 system in Canada and New Zealand.
The Board of Governors’ appointment of Dr. MacDonald as StFX’s 18th President and Vice-Chancellor was well received by members the StFX community.
“Kent is a highly respected national leader in education and well suited to lead the university into the next chapter of its legacy,” said StFX President Dr. Sean Riley. “His demonstrated leadership abilities will provide an invaluable asset to this institution, especially within a period of a rapidly changing higher education landscape ahead. Based upon my tenure as President, I know he will have a rewarding and fulfilling career here.”
“Dr. MacDonald has emphasized his unwavering commitment to academic excellence, and recognizes that it is paramount to the development of the whole person. He also brings with him a long track record of leading in an open and transparent environment, and is committed to working with faculty, staff, alumni, and students in pursuing StFX’s academic mission,” said Dr. William Sweet, Professor of Philosophy and Presidential Selection Committee Member.
”Dr. MacDonald has a true understanding and appreciation for the role of a liberal arts education in today’s society. Obviously this fits perfectly for us as StFX students,” said Ben Gunn-Doerge, President, 2014 StFX Students’ Union.
”I am impressed by Dr. MacDonald’s passion for education and his decisive, yet personal approach to leadership,” said Dr. Charmaine McPherson, a senior Professor from StFX’s School of Nursing, as well as Member of the Presidential Selection Committee.
Andrew Howlett, President of StFX Alumni Association said, “Dr. MacDonald’s passion for StFX and his ability to mobilize communities will further strengthen the X-alumni connections throughout the world.”
Dr. MacDonald is married to Mary-Ellen MacPhee, also a StFX graduate, and they have four children: Adam, a 2013 StFX graduate; Matthew, a junior at Algonquin College; Meagan enrolled in her first year at StFX; and Patrick, a junior at Sacred Heart Catholic High School in Stittsville, ON.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board and the Presidential Selection Committee,” said Dr. MacDonald. “I would also like to thank Dr. Sean Riley for his leadership that led to the extraordinary growth of StFX during his 18 years as President and Vice-Chancellor; truly making StFX one of Canada’s best universities.”
Dr. MacDonald assumes his duties as StFX President and Vice-Chancellor on August 1, 2014.