A pledge to ‘listen and engage’
Anne Mahon, the 14th Chancellor of the University Manitoba, was officially installed at a ceremony this morning in UMSU University Centre.
A celebrated writer, volunteer, philanthropist and alumna, Chancellor Mahon was commended by the many honoured guests in attendance from around campus and across Canada for her commitment to sharing the stories of Manitoba’s many communities, especially the marginalized.
University president David Barnard, who led Mahon [BHECOL/87] in her pledge to the U of M and officially installed her as Chancellor, explained that in addition to conferring all degrees and diplomas and advising on matters of governance, the Chancellor is also an ambassador for the university in the broader community, “forging empowering connections with those near and far.”
“Anne Mahon has a demonstrated ability to build bridges through integrity and understanding,” said President Barnard. “I am pleased to formally install her as Chancellor today so that she can begin the incredible work she is destined to achieve.”
Dr. Brenda Austin-Smith, professor and head of the department of English, Theatre, Film & Media who served on the Chancellor’s Selection Committee, elaborated on what Chancellor Mahon will bring to her role. “When Anne talks about her work, what comes through most powerfully is her dedication to listening carefully and intently to people. It is through this listening that Anne confirms for us she is an ally, as well as an accomplished storyteller. She is someone who uses her gifts to lift the voices of those who share their stories with her.”
A customary part of proceedings for a chancellor’s installation involves the Presentation of Representatives from universities and colleges across Canada. In attendance for Chancellor Mahon’s ceremony were dignitaries from the universities of St. Boniface, Brandon, Ryerson, Western Ontario, and Victoria.
Dr. Mike Mahon, President & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lethbridge offered an address that was both professional – in his role as Chair of the Board of Directors of Universities Canada – and personal, as Anne Mahon’s brother-in-law. Remarking that he has known her for 35 years, he told the audience that the U of M has chosen a chancellor who is “authentic, passionate, and humane.”
Also part of the platform party were officials from government, and university faculty, staff and students. Her Honour, the Honourable Janice Filmon, Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Manitoba began with greetings, followed by Ian Wishart, Legislative Assistant, Manitoba Education and Training; Carl Neumann, President, University of Manitoba Graduate Students’ Association; Jakob Sanderson, President, University of Manitoba Students’ Union; and Sandra Woloschuk, Associate Director, Learning and Development Services.
In welcoming Chancellor Mahon on behalf of the U of M’s 142,000 alumni, Dawn Nedohin-Macek, Chair, University of Manitoba Alumni Association, reminded the audience of the power and inspiration that comes from inclusive communities: “I’m a strong believer of ‘you can’t be what you can’t see.’ With Anne in this high-level, highly visible and highly influential position at the university, she will be inspiring thousands of young women and girls as they look towards their future education paths.”
Chancellor Mahon began her installation address by thanking her predecessors, Chancellor emeritus Arthur Mauro and former Chancellor Harvey Secter, who encouraged her to make the role of chancellor her own. She also thanked Grandfather-in-residence Wanbdi Wakita, who led a river-side Sunrise Pipe Ceremony to welcome her and honour Secter at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation on May 31.
In preparing for her installation, she reflected on the legacy of Dr. Isabel Auld – the University of Manitoba’s ninth, and first female, chancellor.
“One of Auld’s unique characteristics that especially piqued my interest was her way of building bridges,” explained Mahon. “I aspire to follow her path. Of course, Dr. Auld and I share the same gender. I am the second female chancellor in 142-year history of this university. Many of you know me well enough to appreciate that my gender will not characterize my approach as chancellor. Rather it is my desire to connect with people of heart: people with a deep commitment, substance and authenticity, all traits that transcend gender.”
Chancellor Mahon concluded with her promise to serve the University of Manitoba. “My commitment to the university community as your chancellor is to listen and engage in the same way that I have when writing my books. Asking questions to clarify and understand the context, making no assumptions. I pledge today to offer my best to the university, with generosity, compassion, humility and courage.”
You can follow Chancellor Anne Mahon on Instagram @chancellormahon