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P.E.I. native named University of Calgary president


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Elizabeth Cannon

Charlottetown native Elizabeth Cannon is set to become the first female president of the University of Calgary.
Cannon, 47, will become the university's eighth president and vice-chancellor on July 1.
"To take on the leadership role as president is exciting,'' she told The Guardian Monday. "It's exciting times for the university.''
Jack Perraton, chair of the university's board of governors, said in a statement that the university is embarking upon a new era of momentum with a bold new leader.
"Elizabeth Cannon is both visionary and practical," he said. "Her international reputation and her local knowledge and expertise will serve this institution well as we continue to build one of the best universities in Canada and in the world."
The daughter of Mickey and Fred Cannon of Charlottetown has given her parents plenty of cause to smile.
"I'm very proud of her ... my, she's done well,'' said Mickey.
"She just had that look on her from the time she was born - a bright light ... she was always curious.''
After earning her undergraduate degree in applied science from Acadia University and undergraduate engineering, master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Calgary, Cannon went on to become a professor in the engineering faculty.
Cannon became the first female dean of engineering at the university in 2006.
She has voiced concern in the past over the decline in the number of women in engineering schools. Her daughter, for one, is bucking that downward trend.
Sara Cannon, 21, is currently studying engineering at Cornell University. RenÉ, 18, an economics student at Queen's University is the second child of Elizabeth Cannon and her husband GÉrard Lachapelle, a geomatics engineering professor.
Still, as president, she hopes to break down stereotypes that face
both male and female students which may result in some not following their dreams.
"Certainly we are very open to have young men and women think about all careers,'' she said.
Cannon,who has served on several dozen public, private and community boards, says she wants students to not only be excited by what they do in the classroom, but also to strive to take on strong roles in their community.
Perraton says Cannon is known in the research community as a leader whose innovative work focuses on geomatics engineering and the commercial application of geomatics technology. She has been involved as an expert at the frontiers of global positioning systems since 1984 and her work has resulted in advancements in satellite-based navigation systems worldwide.
Cannon says returning to her home province to take the top administrative post at UPEI is "certainly not something that has crossed my mind.'' A search committee has been established to recommend a successor for current president Wade MacLauchlan, who will retire from UPEI on June 30, 2011, after leading the university for 12 years.
Cannon has received a five-year appointment as president of the University of Calgary but agrees 10 years is typically a good run to make a strong mark in the direction - and accomplishments - of a university.
She says she looks forward to working with the "incredibly talented students, staff and faculty'' to realize the university's full potential.


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