St. Thomas University Extends Dawn Russell’s Term as President and Vice-Chancellor

The Chair of St. Thomas University’s Board of Governors, Mr. Peter R. Forestell, QC announced today that Board of Governors has extended the term of President Dawn Russell for two years to June 30, 2023.


“Our Board recognizes the challenges ahead of us and the need to maintain our focus on financial sustainability, enrolment stabilization, fundraising, and external relations,” said Forestell.  “The progress that President Russell has made in these and other areas has been invaluable. We are confident she has created important and permanent institutional changes and has the experience and leadership qualities to lead the University in the coming years.”


Russell began her tenure on July 1, 2011 following a national search and consultation process and underwent a successful renewal review in 2015. 


Forestell said that Russell’s accomplishments over the past nine years have allowed St. Thomas to progress during a challenging period.  Early accomplishments were in establishing inclusive methods for consultation, planning, and implementing new initiatives. These include organizational modernization, a wider distribution of governance responsibilities, building an effective senior management team, developing and implementing a strategic plan, and improved transparency and accountability.  All of these factors, including her ability to build consensus while making difficult decisions, have proven to be foundational and resulted in an improved working environment and institutional success. 


He added that Russell has built a national reputation among university presidents and within Universities Canada that has enhanced St. Thomas University’s profile. 


“The reach and success of our capital campaign, currently sitting at more than $12 million, has surpassed our expectations.  It has also resulted in new and beneficial relationships with friends and supporters among philanthropic foundations and leading citizens in the region and across Canada.  In the always challenging area of government relations, President Russell has stood out for being determined in addressing inequities that have been to our disadvantage.”


“I want to congratulate President Russell and thank her for accepting this extension to her term.  She is the longest-serving university president in New Brunswick and continues to match this valuable experience with exciting plans for the future.” 


“The Board of Governors is proud of the distinct and vital role that St. Thomas University has in post-secondary education, and we are excited about the future and looking forward to working with President Russell,” said Forestell.