Trent University names Dr. Cathy Bruce 9th president and vice-chancellor

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Trent University selects Dr. Cathy Bruce as new president, vice-chancellor
After a nationwide search, Trent University’s Board of Governors has picked a new president and vice-chancellor. Dr. Catherine Bruce will assume the role in the summer as the second woman ever selected. Germain Ma takes a look at her vision and the challenges ahead. – Feb 2, 2024

Following a nationwide search, the board of governors of Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., has selected Dr. Catherine Bruce as the university’s ninth president and vice-chancellor.

Bruce will assume the positions on July 1, replacing Dr. Leo Groarke whose second term concludes on June 30. Bruce has a 35-year career in education with more than two decades in higher education.

She joined Trent in 2003 and has served as a professor, director of graduate programs, founder of the Centre for Teaching and Learning, dean of Trent’s School of Education, and, most recently, as vice-president of Research and Innovation.

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The university says she has “significantly contributed” to its growth by spearheading the development of new strategic research priorities. She is credited with establishing the Early Career Researcher Awards, and creating a Trent-specific Research Grant Incentive Program.

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“Trent University is an extraordinary place of learning that is deeply committed to student success in a vibrant learning community,” stated Bruce. “I am honoured to serve as Trent’s ninth president, ushering the university forward into our next period of strategic growth and sustainability. This is a pivotal moment for Trent as we undertake some major projects including the development of the seniors’ village, new colleges and residences, the Trent Research Farm, and continued expansion of the Durham campus in Oshawa.

“There are also some significant challenges on the horizon, but Trent has grit and a highly capable community of staff, faculty, Board members, and students. I look forward to the exciting developments on the horizon and to navigating challenges through engagement and creativity.”

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The search for Trent’s ninth president and vice-chancellor began in the fall 2003. Debra Cooper Burger, chairperson of Trent’s board of governors and head of the presidential search committee, says Bruce is a qualified leader both at Trent and in the community and is an accomplished, award-winning professor (which includes the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations Teaching Award) and has co-authored multiple books.

Bruce will be only the second woman to hold the roles, following Bonnie Patterson who served from 1998 to 2009.

“We sought a leader who profoundly understands the unique qualities of Trent University,” stated Burger. “Dr. Bruce embodies this spirit, bringing an impressive track record of excellence here at Trent and beyond. She is indeed the right person to build upon Trent’s successes and propel the university into an exciting new chapter.

“Her appointment as only the second woman to lead the university as president signifies our ongoing commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, while her dedication to academic excellence and robust governance aligns perfectly with Trent’s ambitious vision.”

Groarke says he is “extremely pleased” with the selection of Bruce as Trent’s next president.

“Having worked closely with Cathy, I’ve witnessed firsthand her leadership and commitment to the university,” he said. “Her blend of academic insight and administrative acumen positions Trent well for the future. I am happy to pass the ;residency on to someone with the passion and innovation that have been the hallmark of her work since she arrived at Trent.”


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