On Friday, Asima Vezina was officially installed as the third President and Vice-Chancellor of Algoma University in a series of intimate ceremonies held on the campus of the University.
Vezina is well known to the community of Sault Ste. Marie and surrounding areas. Vezina has worked in various educational administrative roles within communities across Northern Ontario, including 15 years as a Superintendent of Education with the Timmins and Algoma District School Boards. She has also worked in government for the Ministry of Education as a Provincial Lead within the Leadership Branch of the Student Achievement Division. Before her tenure as President and Vice-Chancellor, she served as a member and Chair of the Algoma University Board of Governors and member and Vice-Chair of the Council of Chairs of Ontario Universities.
“The investiture of a university president is an important ceremony steeped in tradition,” shared University Registrar, David Marasco. “The event provides the University with an avenue to recognize past achievements and to reaffirm its mission and strategic priorities to its
internal and community partners, while also allowing the new president to communicate their vision for the future.”
The installation ceremony commenced on Algoma’s campus with a sacred fire and drum honour song at the Fire Arbour, in advance of the private investiture in the Bishop Fauquier Memorial Chapel. The University’s annual Convocation Gala followed the ceremony, honouring graduating students and special award recipients.
During the Gala, Vezina was led to the stage to deliver her inauguration speech by an “Escort of Honour” that included Chiefs of Garden River, Batchewana, and Missanabie Cree First Nations, as well as the President of the Historic Sault Ste. Marie Métis Council.
Vezina’s inaugural address highlighted her vision for the next five years. The theme of transformation was woven throughout the address as Vezina spoke of the focused priorities of the University. She emphasized that Algoma would strive to be a university that offers an exemplary learning experience for all students, both within and outside of the classroom.
“We will focus deeply on being a student-centred organization where student success and the student experience is at the heart of all decision-making,” stated Vezina.
She stressed the importance of Algoma’s special mission and a continued commitment for the institution to serve as leader in national Truth and Reconciliation efforts. Enhancing experiential learning opportunities, continued development of strong partnerships with community stakeholders, and expansion of programming in Brampton were also highlighted as priorities for the institution. Vezina noted that enrollment growth would be crucial to long-term success and current strategic enrollment management efforts are already generating positive results.
During the inauguration, Vezina received numerous congratulatory messages from internal stakeholders, as well as from a number of dignitaries, including Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano, Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano, Timmins Mayor Steve Black, and leaders from many Canadian universities.