Trinidad-born Dr. Rhonda McEwen was installed on Wednesday, Oct 12th, President and Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University.
The installation ceremony took place as part of the university’s Charter Day celebrations which included steelband music and a live calypso performance by David Rudder.
In her address at the installation, Dr. McEwan noted that Victoria University has “a well-articulated vision to continue to evolve as an outstanding place for students to pursue undergraduate studies in arts and science and graduate studies in theology.”
She said her role as President and Vice-Chancellor “is to really see, to really discover what has made Vic U such a special place for nearly 200 years, but to also see and anticipate the opportunities and challenges ahead.
“For example, to prioritize mental health for our students and staff. To contribute to our planet’s wellness. To work with the Board of Regents, and the senior administrative management team to determine the best risk versus reward ratios, communicate and implement the activities to bring the plans into reality, and in so doing chart the best possible path for the university in the years to come.”
Dr. McEwan said it is her sincere hope “that my status as the only Black woman serving as President in a university in Canada, will not be long-lasting.
“My professional work and academic research foci is how emerging technologies impact human behaviour and cognition, including both neurotypical and neurodiverse populations. The questions that I’m asking as a STEM researcher, are technical and also deeply human, and philosophical. Which is why the opportunity to lead a university mostly known for its academic offerings in the humanities is so inspiring and exciting for me. The thing that has always driven me, is the art in the science. The human impulse to create, discover and understand.”
She told the gathering at the installation ceremony that over the coming months “we will build an implementation plan that allows us to hone in on clear deliverables to serve our students.
“I envision animating (pardon the emerging media pun) Vic’s ambitions, dreams, goals and values, through the activities that we choose.”
Dr. McEwen completed a Bachelor of Science degree in sociology and management at the University of West Indies, St. Augustine, an MBA in Information Technology at City, University of London, a Master of Science in telecommunications at the University of Colorado Boulder, and a PhD from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information.
Victoria University, federated with the University of Toronto, was founded in 1836 and is one of the oldest universities in Canada.