McClellan named University's 12th Chancellor

The University of Lethbridge announced the appointment of its 12th Chancellor Monday, Dr. Shirley McClellan, who will officially take over for outgoing Chancellor Richard Davidson, QC, on Mar. 15, 2011.

The veteran Alberta politician and former deputy premier of the Province of Alberta was selected on Feb. 5, 2011 by the University of Lethbridge Senate as the University's next Chancellor.

"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 in to her new role, I am confident that she will bring a new perspective to the role of 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.

"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."

Mahon says that McClellan's 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," Mahon said. "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, adds 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," says Cronkhite. "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.