BU names new president


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After months of searching, Brandon University has found a new president to steer the direction of the Wheat City institution for the next five years.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/08/2018 (1694 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

After months of searching, Brandon University has found a new president to steer the direction of the Wheat City institution for the next five years.

On Thursday, the university announced it had hired Dr. David Docherty from Mount Royal University in Calgary to serve as president and vice-chancellor at BU.

Docherty is nearing the end of an almost eight-year term as president of Mount Royal and will start his new role on May 1, 2019.

Speaking to The Brandon Sun by phone, Docherty said he wanted to give Mount Royal some time to find a successor and allow his youngest daughter a chance to finish her final year of high school before he moved to Brandon.

“People bring different skill sets,” he said. “I think I’m a passionate believer in the value of higher education. It’s something I’ve dedicated my adult career to and so I think that I’ll certainly be bringing my passion and my enthusiasm, and Brandon has a great reputation as a university.”

Docherty holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., as well as a master’s from McMaster University in Hamilton and a PhD from the University of Toronto.

Docherty spent more than 17 years at Wilfred Laurier as a professor of political science, chair of the political science department and dean of the faculty of arts, and is a founding member of the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion.

He became president of Mount Royal in 2011 and oversaw the largest fundraising campaign in the university’s history, raising more than $250 million.

Among the achievements he is most proud of at Mount Royal, Docherty cited an increased commitment to Indigenous education.

One of the ways he did this was by striving to have the same proportion of Indigenous students at Mount Royal as there were Indigenous people in the province.

He said the university is well on its way to accomplishing this and has had a 50 per cent increase in the number of self-identified Indigenous students.

Although he did not say if he planned to do something similar in Brandon, Docherty said he believed in using post-secondary education as a form of reconciliation.

He also commended BU’s commitment to music and said there are opportunities to work with other colleges and universities in Manitoba — Mount Royal currently offers degrees at Medicine Hat College, Red Deer College and Keyano College in Fort McMurray.

Asked about BU’s downtown development project, Docherty said he has seen the property and believes there is great potential for collaboration.

The search for a new BU president began following the departure of former president Gervan Fearon in the summer of 2017.

A search committee, with the support of the firm Perrett Laver, selected Docherty. His appointment was confirmed by the BU board of governors at a special meeting last week.

Interim president Steven Robinson will stay on until April 30, 2019, before returning as vice-president academic, a position he was appointed to in 2016.

BU board of governors chair Derrick Stewart said he couldn’t disclose how many people applied for the president’s job, but noted that Docherty has been doing an “outstanding job” at Mount Royal.

“We received many comments from people, student groups and students on campus, about how approachable he is,” Stewart said.

“He’s shown a strong commitment to diversity, a strong commitment to fundraising, strong commitment to increasing the profile of his current institution, all of which are things, I think, are important to Brandon University moving forward.”

President of Assiniboine Community College Mark Frison said BU was fortunate to have found somebody with previous presidential experience and who has helped create a mix of college and university programs.

Going forward, Frison said he suspects the two institutions would continue to maintain a “two-way flow of students,” but would also look at other partnerships.

“I think there will be lots of opportunity, and certainly any new leadership brings in fresh ideas, and we’ll be looking forward to meeting with him and hearing about which ones he plans to share with the university community over there.”

» mlee@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @mtaylorlee

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