UPEI announces Hon. Catherine Callbeck as Chancellor-Elect

Friday, February 16, 2018
The Honourable Catherine Callbeck of Central Bedeque, PEI will be installed as UPEI's ninth Chancellor at a ceremony this spring

The University of Prince Edward Island announced today that retired business leader and senator, and former PEI premier, the Honourable Catherine Callbeck of Central Bedeque, has been unanimously elected as the ninth Chancellor of the University for a four-year term. An installation ceremony will be held this spring (date yet to be determined).

The University Chancellor is a volunteer, titular role that presides over convocations and confers degrees, diplomas, and certificates.

“It is my privilege to officially announce the Honourable Catherine Callbeck as the University’s Chancellor-elect,” said UPEI President and Vice-Chancellor Alaa Abd-El-Aziz. Abd-El-Aziz, along with UPEI Board of Governors Chair Pat Sinnott, co-chaired the Chancellor Electoral Committee.

“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.”

The Honourable Catherine 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 PEI 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 PEI. She returned to provincial politics in 1993 when she was elected Leader of the Liberal Party of PEI, 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 PEI in 2017 and holds honorary doctor of laws degrees from both Mount Allison University and the University of Prince Edward Island (2015).

“I am deeply honoured and humbled by this opportunity to become more involved in the University community,” said 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.

The University of Prince Edward Island prides itself on people, excellence, and impact and is committed to assisting students reach their full potential in both the classroom and community. With roots stemming from two founding institutions—Prince of Wales College and Saint Dunstan’s University—UPEI has a reputation for academic excellence, research innovation, and creating positive impacts locally, nationally, and internationally. UPEI is the only degree granting institution in the province and is proud to be a key contributor to the growth and prosperity of Prince Edward Island.

UPEI’s Chancellors and their installation dates

  • The Honourable Thane A. Campbell, CC, MA, LLD – May 14, 1970
  • Gustave Gingras, CC, MD, FRSA, LLD, FRCP(c) – May 12, 1974
  • David Macdonald Stewart, OC, CStJ, KLJ, FRSA, FHS(c), LLD, DBA – October 1, 1982
  • The Honourable Gordon L. Bennett, OC, BSc, MSc, LLD, DCL – March 9, 1985
  • Doris H. Anderson, CC, BA, LLD – October 24, 1992
  • Norman Webster (chancellor emeritus), CM, BA, MA, DCL – November 2, 1996
  • William (Bill) Andrew, DipEng, BEng – March 6, 2005
  • Donald (Don) McDougall, BA, MBA, LLD – March 30, 2014



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