Dr. Shirley McClellan is the U of L's 12th Chancellor

Dr. Shirley McClellan, an advocate for education, veteran Alberta politician and former deputy premier of the Province of Alberta, was selected on Feb. 5 by the University of Lethbridge Senate to serve as the institution's 12th Chancellor.

Chancellor-elect McClellan succeeds current Chancellor Richard Davidson, QC, whose four-year term will conclude on Mar. 15, 2011.

"On behalf of the U of L, I look forward to welcoming Shirley into our community in the same way I was welcomed when I began my term," says U of L President Mike Mahon. "As she settles into her new role, I am confident that she will bring a new perspective to the role of Chancellor."

Dr. Shirley McClellan is the University's 12th Chancellor.

Since leaving the Government of Alberta in 2007 after a 20-year career as a member of the Alberta Legislature, McClellan has matched her interests in farming and education with a long tradition of community service, most recently as a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the University of Alberta's Rural Economy/ALES Faculty Office and The School of Business.

She is also a member of the Olds College Board of Governors, and is active in the governance of Horse Racing Alberta.

Mahon says that her time in government, and her work since leaving government, has focused strongly on education issues and supporting rural and regional interests.

"Our students come from all over the country to attend the U of L, and many of them are from smaller communities," says Mahon. "As a parent of a University of Lethbridge graduate, Shirley understands and appreciates the challenges they face and the interests they have. She is also a strong ambassador for Alberta and the Campus Alberta program, so we are fortunate to have her on our team."

Louella Cronkhite, a member of Senate and Chair of the Chancellor Selection Committee of the University of Lethbridge, says that as the U of L moves forward as an institution and grows its programs and services across the province, finding a person with a broad view of what the U of L stands for was a key selection criteria.

"Shirley is well known and well respected both locally and provincially. We believe her enthusiasm for education and her commitment to our goals will be helpful in taking the University of Lethbridge forward in many different ways."

McClellan served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Drumheller-Stettler constituency from 1987 to 2007. During her six terms in office she held such diverse ministerial portfolios as health, community development, agriculture, food and rural development, international and intergovernmental relations. Additionally, she served as deputy premier and finance minister.

"I am very honoured to be selected to serve as the U of L's Chancellor," says McClellan. "I've a had a strong affinity for the U of L, which dates back to my days not only as a parent of a U of L student, but in the continuing education field, where we worked with the University and the college to develop credit programming for rural communities."

McClellan says that over the years, she has followed the development of the U of L's water research programming and other programs and services with keen interest.

"In my area of the province, water and irrigation issues are critical to the success of the agriculture industry, and the U of L is a real leader in that area, and many more," she says. "I am looking forward to participating in as many activities as possible to help tell the U of L story."

McClellan has been involved in bringing further education to rural areas, serving on the board of directors for the Alberta Association of Continuing Education and the Canadian Association for Continuing Education. She also served as co-ordinator of the Big Country Further Education Council for 12 years, among other volunteer roles.

She retired as an MLA in 2007 and now farms near New Brigden, Alta., with her family, which includes husband Lloyd, son Mick and daughter and U of L graduate Tami (BEd 89) who, with her spouse Jeff, have four children ages 10 to 14. New Bridgen is approximately 250 km north of Medicine Hat, Alta. near the Saskatchewan border.

She shares a notable connection with members of the internationally famous musical group Nickelback – her hometown is also Hanna, Alta., where she was born in 1942.

Several community organizations have named facilities in her honour, in particular Olds College, which unveiled the Shirley McClellan Riding arena in 2009, and the Town of Oyen, which dedicated their aquatic centre to her. In 2010, McClellan received an Honorary Degree from the
U of L.