TRU officially welcomes Brett Fairbairn into his role as the university’s fourth president and vice-chancellor during the opening ceremony of convocation week. Amidst a sea of caps and gowns of education and social work graduates, President Fairbrain swapped his academic garb for that of the president’s robe.
Fairbairn has been operating under the title of TRU president since December 2018 and it all became official at the first Spring Convocation ceremony honouring the education and social work graduates.
Fairbairn taught and conducted research in history, public policy and interdisciplinary studies at the University of Saskatchewan for over 30 years before taking on the leadership role at TRU.
Fairbairn spoke of a gift his friend gave him with a popular quote from naturalist and preservationist John Muir: “the mountains are calling and I must go.”
“The mountains have always called me and my family. The mountains have led us to many hiking trips. Well, now the mountains truly called me,” Fairbairn spoke of his move to B.C. “The mountains aren’t just a place to be but a place to learn and work.”
“I’ve spent the last six months getting to know TRU and listening to people as well as getting to know the students,” Fairbairn added.
The general air around Fairbairn was cheerful and lighthearted as he thanked TRU for the warm welcome to the community.
Since his time at TRU, Fairbairn has been working closely with the TRU community.
“A couple of weeks ago I got some evidence that my efforts were successful. I was walking past the Arts and Education Building when a social work student saw me and called out compulsively to me ‘Hey are you that new president guy?’,” Fairbairn joked. “So, yes to those of you who haven’t met me, I am that new president guy.”
“I’m grateful to the students and the faculty and the staff of TRU for the warm and gracious welcome I’ve received,” Fairbairn said, “This is a community that gives the new president guy the benefit of the doubt and I’m very grateful. I aim to live up to TRU’s best hopes and aspirations.”
“Every university has a character, a history and a trajectory for the future. So what is TRU’s story?,” Fairbairn said. “I once heard someone say this was the little university that could. There’s something in that but TRU is not so little anymore.”
Fairbairn spoke highly of the growing importance of post-secondary education.
“We are here today because education changes lives,” Fairbairn said, directed to the morning’s grads.
“I think it’s clear you’re graduating into a world that’s full of opportunity and uncertainty but that’s fixed by the education you’ve received. Education has changed and will continue to change lives,” Fairbairn said to the incoming grads of 2019. “Education makes individual people better off, but it’s ultimately about making all people better off.”