The University of Ottawa has named a new Chancellor to replace Michaëlle Jean, who resigned from the position to focus on her role as secretary-general of the International Organisation of La Francophonie in April.
Calin Rovinescu, president and chief executive officer of Air Canada, was named as the university’s 14th chancellor on Nov. 9. The chancellor is the titular head of the university, and represents it in a number of functions and events.
“I’m extremely honoured to accept this appointment and I thank the members of the Board of Governors and the Senate, as well as the president of the University, for the trust they have placed in me,” Rovinescu said in a press release.
Rovinescu received a degree in common law in 1978 before going on to have a career in corporate law, becoming a managing partner at Stikeman Elliott law firm, and eventually becoming president and CEO of Air Canada. He also received an honorary doctorate from the U of O in 2014. “It is a great honor to welcome Calin Rovinescu. He is an outstanding alumnus, who will engage with the university community and beyond to help propel the University to its next stage of accomplishment,” said university president Allan Rock.
The university also took the time to recognize Michaëlle Jean, outgoing university chancellor and former governor general of Canada, by announcing that it will rename its student volunteer centre the Michaëlle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement, in an event held on Nov. 5.
“I’m honoured by the university’s touching tribute,” Jean said at the event. “Rest assured that the University of Ottawa will always hold a special place in my heart.”
“To see my name associated with such a centre, one that fosters community engagement as well as a connection and openness to the world, makes me extremely proud,” she said. The Michaëlle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement, which opened in 2011, was designed to improve the community in and around the university, largely by helping students find ways to volunteer.
Rock also used the event to reminisce on Jean’s time as chancellor, including one event during which students had the opportunity to meet with her. “(Jean was) there until midnight that night speaking with students, and they were thrilled,” he said.
Rock shared a memory of the pair hauling boxes of university promotional material together. “The image is still clear in my mind,” he said, “Of Canada’s 27th Governor General pitching in to lug those boxes.” “That’s just typical of the attitude and energy that Michaëlle Jean brought to that post,” said Rock.
Afterwards, Jean did some reminiscing of her own.
“The University of Ottawa is a reflection of Canada,” she said. “This campus is a place where we all come together to live, interact, and engage in the fabulous adventure that is the pursuit of knowledge, of new discoveries, and of solutions to the many problems that plague our society.”
Rovinescu will be sworn in as chancellor at a ceremony on a later date.