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Lakehead University lands a new president

Former faculty member Gillian Siddall to replace Moira McPherson in July
Gillian Siddall named new president of Lakehead University (Supplied)

Lakehead University has turned to a former faculty member to take over as president.
Gillian Siddall, the ninth president in the Thunder Bay university’s history, has been named to replace Moira McPherson. She moves in on July 1.

The selection was made by the board of governors and announced by board chair Maria Vasanelli on Jan. 20. McPherson who leaves the university in June.

Siddall comes from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver where she’s been president since 2018.

She is familiar with the university having first joined Lakehead University in 1998 in a tenure-track appointment in the Department of English. She was founding director of Lakehead’s Teaching and Learning Centre before serving as dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities for six years.
In her time at Emily Carr, Siddall help develop the institution’s first equity, diversity and inclusion action plan; advancing the university’s commitment to reconciliation and Indigenization by way of curriculum, research and adding Indigenous faculty and staff.

A Lakehead news release said Siddall is an advocate of Indigenization and decolonization within the university sector. She holds an honours BA and MA in English from the University of Guelph, and a PhD in English from the University of Western Ontario.  

“I am very proud of all the time and work members of our Presidential Search Committee undertook to arrive at this point,” said Vasanelli in a statement, “including a thorough review of a competitive list of applicants and our engagement in a consultation process that heard from many segments of our university community.”

“Lakehead University is a vibrant place where I’ve spent much of my career and I’m thrilled to rejoin the community that is very special to me,” said Siddall in a news release..
“I look forward to working collaboratively to advance priorities in reconciliation, equity, diversity and inclusion, climate action and excellence in research, teaching and learning. In addition to my personal connection to Lakehead, the university’s diverse offering of programs, strong international presence, stellar research record and clear commitment to the student experience energizes me. There is so much good to build on and I’m looking forward to achieving excellent work together in the years ahead.”