When people have talked about normalcy at the University of Guelph these last few years, they’ve been talking about the pandemic, and whether or not students will learn in-person on campus. On the other hand, a return to normalcy might refer to permanence for the leadership team at the U of G. Charlotte Yates just formally assumed the position of president, so it’s about time that we get the announcement of a new chancellor.
On Thursday night, the U of G announced that Dr. Mary Anne Chambers would be the tenth person to serve as the institution’s chancellor. Chambers succeeds business woman Martha Billes who resigned in protest in 2020 when the university’s Board of Governors voted in favour divesting the U of G’s holdings from fossil fuels.
“Mary Anne Chambers embodies our University’s purpose and promise to ‘Improve Life,’” Yates said in a statement. “She has dedicated her life to improving the lives of others. She has worked tirelessly to make higher education accessible and inclusive for everyone and to improve circumstances for children, youth and families, especially in racialized communities in Canada and around the world. Mary Anne is the perfect choice for our chancellor.”
Who is Mary Ann Chambers? She immigrated to Canada in 1976 from Jamaica and rose through the ranks of Scotiabank to the position of senior vice-president. In 2003, she entered public service as the MPP for Scarborough East with the Liberal government under Premier Dalton McGuinty where she held two different cabinet posts as the Minister of Children and Youth Services and the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.
After one-term in government, Chambers stayed active in education, helping to fund 60 different scholarships including a bursary for Black students at the U of G’s College of Social and Applied Human Sciences. She would also join the U of G’s Board of Governors in 2010, and in her seven years served on a number of committees.
“I have always been passionate about education as being the door to opportunities for a better quality of life for individuals, their families, communities and, ultimately, our entire world,” Chambers said in a statement.
“This University has so much to contribute to the achievement of the ambitions of the people of this province, our country and beyond, given its areas of specialty and its long-standing commitment to sustainability in its broadest sense. I am truly honoured to be chosen to serve the University of Guelph as its chancellor.”
There’s no word on when Chambers will officially be installed as chancellor.