Starting the search for Dal’s next president

Search committee's work now underway

- May 24, 2012

Dalhousie president Tom Traves, who will step down from the role in June 2013. (Danny Abriel photo)
Dalhousie president Tom Traves, who will step down from the role in June 2013. (Danny Abriel photo)

When Tom Traves leaves his post as Dalhousie president next June, he’ll have served in the role for 18 years – the full lifetime of a first-year undergrad.

It’s been a long tenure, but its legacy will be even longer: since becoming president in July 1995, Dr. Traves has led Dalhousie through a period of unprecedented growth in students, faculty, research dollars and global reputation. In 1995, Dalhousie was just beginning to emerge as a national university. Today, Dalhousie is a leading member of Canada’s U15, one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, attracts more than $130 million in external research funding each year and contributes more than $1 billion to the local economy.

And now, he’s preparing to hand the presidency over to a successor who will continue to advance Dalhousie’s mission.

“This is a real transition for me, but I’m truly proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish as a university in my time as president,” he says. “The possibilities and potential for Dalhousie going forward are vast, and though my tenure is winding to a close, it’s easy to be excited about what Dal’s future has in store.”

Dr. Traves says he hasn’t decided how he’s going to spend his post-presidency years quite yet, though as a tenured professor, he says that returning to the classroom is certainly an option. For now, he’s looking forward to leading Dalhousie through the events of the next year—including the NSAC merger—and starting preparations for his successor. 

Search underway; committee seeks input

With the formal announcement that Dr. Traves will not be seeking another term, the search has begun for Dalhousie’s 11th president. The Search Committee has been created and is comprised of six members appointed by the Board of Governors, six members appointed by Senate and two student members: one undergraduate, one graduate. Its chair will be Jim Spatz, also chair of Dalhousie’s Board of Governors.

“Dr. Traves has led Dalhousie through what could arguably be described as its most significant period of growth” says Mr. Spatz. “The Board is excited to determine who will carry on that tradition and lead Dalhousie into its third century of inspiring minds.”

Laverne Smith & Associates, a leading Canadian executive search firm that has worked extensively with universities across North America, will assist in the search. The committee will also seek input from the Dal community throughout the process on the requirements, challenges and opportunities for the president’s position. The committee is asking for feedback on these issues until June 8, but will also consider contributions throughout the process.

The committee expects to recommend a candidate for appointment to the Board of Governors in early 2013.

For ongoing information on the search process, please visit the Presidential Search website at


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