Retired senator, and former P.E.I. premier Catherine Callbeck has been elected as the ninth Chancellor of the University, the University of Prince Edward Island announced Friday.
An installation ceremony for the Central Bedeque native will be held this spring. The position is a four-year term.
The University Chancellor is a volunteer, titular role that presides over convocations and confers degrees, diplomas, and certificates.
“I am deeply honoured and humbled by this opportunity to become more involved in the University community,” says Callbeck. “The University of Prince Edward Island has become a global institution of higher learning that makes the student experience a priority.
“I hope to be excellent ambassador for UPEI as it continues to develop programs that inspire students to contribute solutions, whether it be at home or around the world, to better society.”
Callbeck will replace the University’s eighth chancellor Dr. Don McDougall, who was installed in 2014 and whose extended term concludes this year.
She is the second woman to hold the post: Doris H. Anderson was UPEI’s first female University Chancellor from 1992–96.
“UPEI will benefit greatly from Dr. Callbeck’s vision, passion, and extensive leadership experience. I congratulate her on this new role as Chancellor and thank her sincerely for her dedication to post-secondary education and commitment to UPEI,” said UPEI President and Vice-Chancellor Alaa Abd-El-Aziz. Abd-El-Aziz.
Callbeck has a long and active involvement in business, politics, and charitable and public service groups at all levels, and is a woman of many firsts and honours.
She received her early education in Central Bedeque and Summerside, later receiving degrees from Mount Allison University and Dalhousie University.
After a period of teaching, Callbeck returned to P.E.I. where she became involved with the family business – Callbeck's Limited and Callbeck's Furniture.
She was the second woman ever elected to the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island and, from 1974-78, served as the first female Minister of Health and Social Services, Minister Responsible for the Disabled, and Minister Responsible for Non-Status Indians.
In 1988, she was the first woman elected as the Member of Parliament for Malpeque, making her the second woman ever to be elected to the House of Commons from P.E.I. She returned to provincial politics in 1993 when she was elected Leader of the Liberal Party of P.E.I., and soon after, became the first woman in Canada to be elected as Premier.
In 1997, she was called to the Senate of Canada and retired in July 2014. Callbeck was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2015 and Order of P.E.I. in 2017 and holds honorary doctor of laws degrees from both Mount Allison University and the University of Prince Edward Island (2015).