Oppal named TRU chancellor
Thompson Rivers University has a new chancellor.
The university's board of governors announced today (Feb. 11) it is naming former B.C. attorney general Wally Oppal its new chancellor.
"I'm absolutely honoured, thrilled and excited to be named chancellor of this wonderful institution," Oppal said, joining the board of governors meeting via video from the TRU Open Learning Vancouver office.
In addition to his role as attorney general and minister of multiculturalism between 2005 and 2009, Oppal was previously a justice on the B.C. Court of Appeal.
Prior to that, he was a judge in B.C. county court and a justice in the B.C. Supreme Court.
Given his background in the justice system, Oppal said he's excited to be a part of TRU's new law school, which is slated to open next fall.
"I'm particularly excited about the fact that the university will be opening a law school," he said.
"I think that we will be fulfilling a huge need with the establishment of a third law school."
TRU's law school will be the first new one in Canada in 35 years.
TRU president Alan Shaver called Oppal's appointment "fantastic," but admitted the former AG has no ties to TRU.
"There are no direct links," he said.
"In a sense, we're building links."
Shaver said Oppal knows he'll have to attend a number of events on campus, and represent the university elsewhere.
On Friday, Oppal said he intends to continue to reside in the Lower Mainland, but will travel to Kamloops as needed.
"I don't think that will be a disadvantage for me," he said.
"Particularly in this age where you have ready transportation and you have technology available.
"I intend to be fully engaged. Kamloops isn't that far away, you know. It's only 40 minutes by plane. It's not the end of the world."
Oppal's appointment ends the tenure of Sen. Nancy Greene Raine, who had been chancellor since 2004, serving two three-year terms.
"I've really enjoyed my term but it's over, sadly, for me," she said.
"To be a part of it was really special."
Greene Raine welcomed Oppal to the role via video on Friday. The new chancellor replied indicating he might be calling her for help.
"Well, Senator, you're a tough act to follow," he said.
"But you'll have to give me your cellphone number."
Oppal and Shaver, who assumed the role of president in December, will be formally installed on June 8.