UPEI grants title of Chancellor Emeritus to Honourable Catherine Callbeck

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Honourable Catherine Callbeck
The Honourable Catherine Callbeck addresses graduates at one of UPEI's 2023 Convocation ceremonies during her final year as the University's Chancellor.

The Honourable Catherine Callbeck, former Chancellor of the University of Prince Edward Island, has been named Chancellor Emerita in recognition of her outstanding service to the University from 2018 to 2023.

The UPEI Board of Governors made the decision to grant the title to her at a meeting held on April 2, 2024. The UPEI Senate had previously endorsed the honour at their meeting on March 15, 2024. She will officially be granted the title during Convocation this May.

“UPEI bestows the title of Chancellor Emeritus to honour chancellors who have rendered distinguished service to our University during their terms and to acknowledge their continued support. Ms. Callbeck has exemplified the role of Chancellor in an extraordinary way,” said Shannon MacDonald, chair of the UPEI Board of Governors. “The University has benefited greatly from her vision, wisdom, passion, and leadership.”

“It is fitting for the University to honour Ms. Callbeck as Chancellor Emerita, given her exceptional commitment and service,” said Dr. Greg Keefe, UPEI president and vice-chancellor (interim). “As Chancellor, she was an unwavering supporter of UPEI—from co-chairing the Alex Bradshaw Campbell Entrance Scholarship campaign cabinet to attending Panther Sport games to presiding over Convocations. She continues to be engaged in initiatives she kickstarted at UPEI related to literacy as well as mentoring women interested in leadership, public life, and business. We are grateful for her wise counsel, dedication to post-secondary education, and commitment to UPEI and our students.”

Chancellor Emerita Callbeck has had 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 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.

She was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2015 and the Order of PEI in 2017 and holds honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Mount Allison University (1996) and UPEI (2015).

Chancellor Emerita Callbeck will participate in the installation ceremony of her successor, the Honourable Diane Griffin, on Friday, April 5, 2024.

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