University of Guelph Research Park, Guelph, Ontario
Change: Discourse. Debate. Deliver. Alastair Summerlee is a man who refuses to shy away from taking on and speaking truths - and the University of Guelph is a better place for it. In 1988, Alastair Summerlee was lured away from his native Britain to the University of Guelph as a professor in the Department of Biomedical Science. Since his arrival, he has gone on to fill in the years with incredible depth, breadth and variety, taking on myriad roles including scholar, professor, researcher, and university administrator. For the last nine years, he has been known as President and Vice-Chancellor of the university. How things change with time... The university’s origins were grounded in three areas - agriculture, veterinary science and domestic science. In the 60s, there was a general push to be like everyone else - a generalist more than a specialist. So we expanded our focus into the humanities and social sciences, moving away from our roots. Recently, we’ve re-examined this shift. We have acknowledged that what the world needs us to be now is different from other universities based on our unique roots and what we do well. We acknowledge our strengths are food, health, environment and communities, as well as a pre-eminent approach to teaching and learning. This is what we will take with us moving into the future.
“Innovation means change. It begins with a willingness to debate and take a leadership position that challenges the process.”