30 Years Later

As the first alumna to serve as President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Elizabeth Cannon led the University of Calgary through a period of transformative growth and community impact.

She launched a comprehensive institutional strategy, Eyes High, aimed towards sharpening the university’s focus on research and scholarship, enriching the quality and breadth of learning and integrating the university within the community. Cannon’s presidency also featured a campus-wide celebration of the university’s 50th anniversary as an autonomous institution. From 2010 to 2018, campus infrastructure expanded to include such facilities as the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning, the Canadian Natural Resources Limited Engineering Complex, W.A. Ranches at the University of Calgary, the Life Sciences Innovation Hub, and the future Mathison Hall and Integrated Science Innovation Centre. She led the development and implementation of entrepreneurial thinking on campus through the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking, as well as the transfer of the University Research Park lands, leases and three buildings to the university from the Government of Alberta. Under Cannon’s tenure, UCalgary launched the $1.3 billion Energize campaign, which encompassed the naming of the Cumming School of Medicine and the Werklund School of Education. Prior to her appointment as president, Dr. Cannon was dean of the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering, propelling it into the top ranks of Canadian engineering schools.

Dr. Cannon is a Professional Engineer, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and an elected foreign associate of the National Academy of Engineering. Currently, she serves on the Aga Khan University Board of Trustees and as a Director of the Gairdner Foundation. Previously, she was Chair of the Canada Research Knowledge Network and of Universities Canada. Throughout her career, Dr. Cannon has championed women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). From 1997 to 2002, she held the NSERC / Petro-Canada Chair for Women in Science and Engineering. In this capacity, she worked to raise public awareness about science and engineering careers for women, developing several innovative programs to encourage women to explore careers in STEM fields. An accomplished engineer who has commercialized technology to over 200 agencies worldwide, Dr. Cannon holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Mathematics from Acadia University, as well as a BSc, MSc and PhD in Geomatics Engineering from the University of Calgary. She was awarded the Engineers Canada Gold Medal in 2013 and was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2019. Dr. Cannon holds four honorary degrees.

Nominated by: University of Calgary

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