UVic president receives national honour
University of Victoria President David Turpin has been appointed to the Order of Canada. The appointment was announced June 30 by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada. Turpin was recognized for “his contributions to education in Canada as a scholar, scientist and administrator, and for his community service in Victoria, serving with United Way of Greater Victoria and Leadership Victoria.” The Order of Canada, one of our country’s highest civilian honours, was established “to recognize a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to community and service to the nation.”
“It’s an honour for Dr. Turpin, and the entire UVic community,” says incoming university Board of Governors Chair Susan Mehinagic. “We can all take pride in Dr. Turpin’s achievement. On behalf of the university I want to congratulate him on this richly-deserved recognition. He’s an outstanding scholar and teacher, an extraordinary leader and someone whose efforts have made a difference in the lives of Canadians and communities across the country throughout his career. His impact on UVic and higher education in Canada has been profound.”
Turpin was appointed President and Vice-Chancellor of UVic in 2000. At UVic, Turpin oversaw a major period of growth, initiating a dramatic expansion of graduate education and a more than doubling of student financial assistance. Under his leadership, the university established a major emphasis on Indigenous issues and study which has resulted in a significant increase in aboriginal student enrolment. He was instrumental in the development of the Island Medical Program and led UVic’s initiative to purchase and develop the Vancouver Island Technology Park. He also oversaw the opening of an Office for Community-Based Research to bring researchers and community groups together to tackle community-based issues.
Research funding to UVic has quadrupled during his tenure and UVic was successful in securing more than $100 million in funding for the VENUS and NEPTUNE ocean observatory projects. Turpin championed the establishment of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions at the university, securing a $90 M endowment - the largest single contribution to a university endowment in Canadian history.
Nationally, he serves on the executive and board of directors of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and currently chairs that group’s Standing Advisory Committee on International Affairs. He has chaired the Canadian Research Knowledge Network and the Research Universities Council of British Columbia. He also serves on the board of the Business Council of British Columbia, has chaired the annual Greater Victoria United Way campaign and is responsible for the close partnership between UVic and Leadership Victoria that is developing the next generation of volunteer leadership in the region.
Before coming to UVic, Turpin was vice-principal academic at Queen’s University. A biologist, he is one of the most highly cited scholars in Canada and was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1998 for his contributions to science. He also received Queen’s University’s highest teaching honour, the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Turpin is one of 74 new appointments to the Order from across Canada. Two, including the Honourable David Anderson, are from Victoria. More on the appointments.
Order of Canada recipients at UVic include former chancellors Ron Lou-Poy and Norma Mickelson, ethnobotanist Nancy Turner, NEPTUNE project director Chris Barnes, trombonist and composer Ian McDougall, screenwriter Brian Paisley and novelist Jack Hodgins.