May 26, 2021
For Immediate Release
Waterloo – The Board of Governors of Wilfrid Laurier University has appointed Deborah MacLatchy to a second five-year term as president and vice-chancellor of the university. Her current term began July 1, 2017 and runs until June 30, 2022; her second term will run from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2027.
“Dr. MacLatchy has set a compelling vision and strategy for the university, building upon its reputation for excellence in teaching, research, and student experience, with a focus on growth of graduate programming, and a strong commitment to Indigenization, equity, diversity and inclusion,” said Lynda Hawton Kitamura, chair of the Board of Governors. “Laurier’s reputation for excellence, delivered in the warmth of a caring community, is widely recognized and we are pleased and fortunate that Dr. MacLatchy will continue her leadership of this vibrant university as president and vice-chancellor for another term.”
Since becoming president, MacLatchy has set a strong vision for the future of Laurier, leading the development of the Laurier Strategy: 2019-2024, which is grounded in the interconnected themes of Thriving Community and Future Readiness. She has continued to build on Laurier’s legacy in Waterloo and expanded the reach and impact of Laurier’s Brantford campus. MacLatchy’s leadership has supported a number of strategic initiatives aimed at strengthening the university’s values and multi-campus vision, including: an enhanced focus on credential innovation resulting in strong partnerships with industry and community organizations; the expansion of learning opportunities for international students; and, a number of equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigeneity initiatives including the Dimensions Pilot Program and increased supports for Indigenous students. MacLatchy has also championed women in leadership and women in science through community events and speaker series and more recently she has provided thought leadership on the future of work and learning in op-eds and panel discussions that have national reach. She also created the associate vice-president roles for Indigenous Initiatives and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as part of the President’s Cabinet.
Recently, MacLatchy guided the university community in its pandemic response and recovery, successfully transitioning university operations to focus on health and safety while maintaining Laurier’s academic excellence and student experience for which Laurier is known.
“I look forward to working with Laurier’s faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners to further the ambitious vision we have set for our university,” said MacLatchy. “This is a university that develops engaged global citizens and supports innovative research that addresses some of society’s most pressing challenges. It is an honour to lead this institution.”
MacLatchy is Laurier’s seventh president since the university became a public institution in 1973. A distinguished biologist with extensive experience in research, teaching and administration, MacLatchy served as dean of Laurier’s Faculty of Science from 2007 to 2009 and as provost and vice-president: academic from 2009 until 2017. Previously, she spent 13 years at the University of New Brunswick where she was dean of Science, Applied Science and Engineering, and director of the university’s International Office.
MacLatchy earned an honours B.Sc. in biology from Acadia University and a PhD in zoology from the University of Manitoba. She is a founding fellow and past chair of the science directors of the Canadian Rivers Institute, and is a past-president and council member of the Canadian Society of Zoologists.
She has been recognized for her many achievements with a number of significant awards including an honorary doctorate from Acadia University in 2016 and the 2015 Recognition Award from the Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada. As well she was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women for 2012 in a Top 100 List compiled by the Women’s Executive Network.
“Through her leadership, Dr. MacLatchy has strengthened Laurier’s foundation and expanded its vision,” said Hawton Kitamura. “Laurier is poised to thrive amid the challenges and opportunities of the future, while remaining grounded in its values and sense of community. I look forward to Dr. MacLatchy’s next five years.”
As part of the process for a second-term renewal, a 15-member Presidential Committee was formed to evaluate the work of the president and to determine if renewal was recommended. The committee met during the period of March 17 to May 18, 2021, with a final meeting to form a recommendation taking place on May 18. There was opportunity for faculty, staff and students to provide feedback as well as external stakeholders that were selected by the review committee. The process was also posted on the wlu.ca website.
Lori Chalmers Morrison, Director: Integrated Communications
External Relations, Wilfrid Laurier University