University of Regina announces new president, vice-chancellor

Jeff Keshen has been named the eighth president and vice-chancellor of the University of Regina following a yearlong search.

Keshen, who has held both academic and administrative roles at post-secondary institutions across the country, will assume the role on July 1, the university announced during a virtual press conference Monday morning.

He is moving to Regina from Cornerbrook, Nfld., where he has been serving as the president of Grenfell Campus at Memorial University.

Read more: University of Regina’s 7th president resigns to pursue new opportunity

Driving future progress will be research and scholarship, said Keshen during the online event.

“Advancing knowledge improves lives throughout the province,” he added.

Finding ways to appeal to a wider demographic, both geographically and in terms of age, will be a focus, said Keshen, who wants to see increased access to post-secondary education, specifically citing the province’s Indigenous communities as priority.

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He said leveraging the university’s expertise and building more partnerships will be keys “to connect to profit” and to raise the university’s reputation as it looks at ways to emerge from the financially taxing COVID-19 pandemic.

The university’s seventh president and vice-chancellor, Vianne Timmons, resigned in December 2019 to take the top job at Memorial University, which is in her home province.

Thomas Chase, whose CV includes various academic and administrative appointments at the U of R, has been filling the role on an interim basis.

Chase will continue in the position until June 30 and assist with Keshen’s transition.

Read more: University of Regina to sell president’s residence in cost-cutting effort during pandemic

Keshen commended Chase and the University of Regina on navigating the pandemic so far.

“If it was normal times, it would still be an awful lot of learning,” Keshen said of moving to a new city to take on a new job.

He said it helps that Grenfell Campus has very much the same COVID protocols in place.

“I’m confident that we will continue to move ahead in a really positive matter,” Keshen said.

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The University of Regina, with a student population of about 16,000, will mark its 50th anniversary in 2024.

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