Latest memos from the President's Office:

Beginning our work together

January 15, 2020

I am honoured and humbled to begin my service today as Dalhousie’s 12th president and vice-chancellor. Thank you to all who have offered such a warm, inspiring welcome to me and my wife, Rani. I look forward to meeting many more of you in the days, weeks and months to come.

My thanks, as well, to our leadership team for its guidance during my first introductions to the Dalhousie community, and for its impressive work over the past year of transition. Teri Balser deserves particular recognition for her service and leadership as interim president — her extensive engagement with our students, staff and faculty have been noted by many, and I have no doubt that her thoughtful and collaborative approach as provost will continue to serve our community well. I would also like to thank Peter MacKinnon for his willingness to take time away from his family and other commitments to serve as Dalhousie’s interim president before Teri.   

I’m truly excited about what lies ahead for Dalhousie University.  

Across my academic career, in Canada and abroad, I’ve long admired Dalhousie. In blending the comprehensiveness of a major research university with the intimacy and community of a smaller institution, Dalhousie’s intellectual environment is rich and inspiring. It attracts a pan-Canadian student body, and a growing number of international students, through a student experience immersed in a deep tradition of research and scholarship. Dalhousie’s founding idea of a university “open to all” resonates particularly close to my heart and offers a beacon of a more inclusive vision for higher education’s future. And perhaps most impressive of all is how Dalhousie plays an anchor role in the economic and social development of Atlantic Canada while increasingly, and rightfully, claiming its place on the world stage.  

Working together across this great university, I am confident we will find ways to not only build on the impressive gains of Dalhousie’s recent past, but also raise our sights boldly higher. Dalhousie has all the ingredients to truly become a global institution, with all that entails, and to grow, strengthen, and transform our region in the process. For a university with two centuries of achievement behind it, there is nothing old or stodgy about where Dalhousie’s mission sits at the dawn of this new decade: Dal is more connected, more vibrant, and more impactful than ever before. It has evolved to include new faculties, new departments, and new campuses. Yet, for all that growth, Dalhousie remains a community united by a shared pride in what we achieve and contribute together. I dare say that the next chapter in the Dalhousie story — the one it is my privilege to join you in writing — might just be its most compelling one yet.  

Best regards,  

Dr. Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Canada-wide moment of silence Wednesday for Iran disaster

January 13, 2020

Last week’s tragedy in Iran has impacted communities across Canada, especially our collective academic community. At Dalhousie, we mourn the loss of one of our students, Masoumeh Ghavi — as well as her sister, Mandieh — and one of our instructors/alumni, Dr. Sharieh Faghihi. We share our grief with Saint Mary’s University, who lost two students of their own last Wednesday morning, and with the family and friends of three other individuals with ties to Halifax who lost their lives. We are joined by more than 20 other Canadian universities who have reported that members of their communities — be they students, faculty, staff or alumni — were killed on board Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752.

To share our solidarity and support all those affected by this tragedy, and to recognize the unprecedented and far-reaching impact on our peers at institutions from coast to coast, universities across Canada will be holding a nationwide moment of silence on Wednesday, January 15. The moment of silence, organized by Universities Canada, is set to begin at 2 p.m. Atlantic Time and will last for approximately one minute.

We encourage Dalhousie faculty, staff, students and others in our community to take this moment on Wednesday to reflect, to recognize and to remember.


Dr. Teri Balser
Provost and Vice-President Academic

Dr. Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor

Update on tragedy in Iran

January 9, 2020

We continue to have an immense sense of grief over yesterday’s news. The deaths of those aboard Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 represent a huge loss: to Halifax, to Canada, to our broader academic community across the country and beyond, and, most of all, to the family, friends and colleagues of those who lost their lives.

We can now share that there were two known Dal individuals on the flight

Masoumeh “Masi” Ghavi was a master’s student in Internetworking in the Faculty of Engineering, who moved to Nova Scotia from Iran last summer. She also working locally with a Bedford-based I.T. company. She was travelling with her younger sister, Mandieh, who was coming to Halifax to begin studies of her own.

Sharieh Faghihi came to Dal in 2014 as a Qualifying Program student in the Faculty of Dentistry. Born in Tehran, she obtained her DDS from Tehran University followed by a masters in periodontology. With her husband and two children, Sharieh immigrated to Canada in 2011. After graduating from Dal in 2016, she returned to the Faculty to teach in the Division of Periodontology in 2017 and also worked in private practice in Halifax. She loved Nova Scotia and her colleagues at Dal and described dentistry as “my career of passion all my life.”

Two additional individuals on the flight were headed for Halifax: Saint Mary’s University students Maryam Malek and Fatemeh Mahmoodi. Other Canadian universities are recognizing members of their communities who were killed as well. We share in their grief. This is truly a Canadian tragedy.

On behalf of Dalhousie University, we express our condolences and reaffirm our support to all those impacted, especially the family, friends and colleagues of Masoumeh and Sharieh. We stand beside you in this moment of grief and loss.

The Iranian Cultural Society of Nova Scotia and Dalhousie Iranian Students Society, together with the DSU and the broader university and community, are planning a local vigil this Saturday.

  • Date: Saturday, January 11
  • Time: 2:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Location: Dalhousie University Club, 6259 Alumni Crescent

We extend an invitation to attend to all from Dalhousie, Saint Mary’s and our communities who wish to be part of sharing condolences and remembering Masoumeh, Sharieh, Mandieh, Maryam and Fatemeh and all others who lost their lives in Wednesday’s tragedy. In light of the broad community impact of this tragedy, please note there will most likely be other vigils and commemoration events taking place in Halifax and elsewhere for people to gather and grieve.

Finally, a reminder that resources for students are available through Dalhousie’s Student Health & Wellness Services, including Multifaith Services. Staff and faculty resources are available through Dalhousie’s Employee & Family Assistance Program. Morneau Shepell, which provides this program, has also opened up a Crisis Support Line for anyone in the community (not just employees) in need of emotional support in relation to these events. The Crisis Support Line is open 24/7 and can be reached at: 1-866-885-6540. Additional outreach is being made to our communities in Dentistry and Engineering regarding available supports.

With sincerest condolences,

Dr. Teri Balser                                                              
Provost and Vice-President Academic

Dr. Deep Saini
President and Vice-Chancellor