University of Alberta president not seeking third term

Indira Samarsekera, President of the University of Alberta, August 23, 2013. Global News

EDMONTON – Indira Samarasekera announced Friday that she will not seek a third term as president and vice-chancellor of the University of Alberta.

During Thursday’s board of governors meeting, she said she will continue to lead the university until her successor is in place.

“While this will not come as a surprise – indeed, I often have referred to the goals that I wish to accomplish before my second term ends on June 30, 2015 – I wish also to formally advise all of you of my intent,” she wrote in a blog post Friday, “and to assure you that I will remain firmly focused on leading the University of Alberta along its path to becoming a top global public university even as the search for my successor begins.”

The president was very vocal last year, when the 2013 provincial budget forced the university to make significant cuts to programs and staff.

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READ MORE: University of Alberta president outlines historic budget cuts 

“In fact, I believe that never has it been more important for us, as a community, to continue to progress toward our collective goals,” she wrote.

“In particular I remain committed to further growth and innovation in our advancement functions and in seeking other sources of funding for our exceptional institution to assure a strong future for the U of A.  Clearly, government advocacy will remain an area of intense focus for me in the months ahead.”

She has also faced criticism about her salary, especially in the wake of the post-secondary school’s budgetary struggles.

An article in the university newspaper, The Gateway, said Samarasekera received $1.172 million in compensation in 2012 and had the highest base salary of any Canadian university president.

In 2013, the university’s financial summary revealed she made a total of $1.172 million, including $529,000 in base salary plus $643,000 in non-cash benefits.

READ MORE: Timing of U of A president’s trip to China questioned 

Samarasekera became the U of A’s 12th president in July 2005.

She has a PhD in Metallurgical Engineering and serves on a number of international and national boards.

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More to come…

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