Dalhousie’s Board of Governors will have a new chair as of July 1.
With Jim Spatz, the current chair, reaching the end of his term, the Board has elected Halifax lawyer Lawrence Stordy as his replacement. His selection was confirmed at Tuesday’s Board meeting.
Stordy, a partner with the Halifax law firm Stewart McKelvey, has been a Board member since 2007, serving in a number of different roles. Currently, he is chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee and a member on the Executive, Steering, Audit and Human Resources Committees.
Like many who sit on the Board, Stordy has deep Dal connections: he’s earned two degrees from the university (a Bachelor of Laws and Master of Business Administration) and is a past lecturer in the Schulich School of Law in business law and corporate finance. In addition to Dal’s Board, he also serves on his firm’s Partnership Board and is completing a term on the QEII Health Sciences Centre Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
Stordy was not able to attend Tuesday’s Board meeting due to a prior commitment that took him out of the country, but he sat down for an interview with Dal News beforehand to discuss his appointment.
“When I went to Dalhousie Law School it was all about the Weldon tradition, and that idea of giving back has always been part of my life,” he says. “My serving on Dal’s Board is part of that: it’s a volunteer board, and takes a lot of time and commitment, but it is a pleasure to do so.”
He sees two key elements to the role of Board chair. The first is the set of formal responsibilities: presiding over meetings, serving as signing officer of the Board, representing the Board at official functions, and so-on. But he also sees the chair as a consensus builder, bringing together Board members and the university administration to come to important decisions.
Stordy says his most memorable experience as a Board member to date has been serving on the presidential selection committee that nominated Richard Florizone, as he feels selecting a president is perhaps the most important task a board can undertake. He also says he’s learned a lot from his predecessors as chair, Senator Jim Cowan and current chair Jim Spatz.
“A good chair is a master at directing traffic and getting to a consensus: making sure to take the temperature of the room, allowing everyone a chance to speak, but at the end of the day they have to be able to wrap it up into a decision. That was a strength of both Jims.”
He is optimistic about Dalhousie’s future, and eager to help the Board support the university around key initiatives such as improving student retention. “Student life and student experience are so important, and we need to make sure that when people come here it’s not just for a degree: it’s a life-changing experience and they get an education that’s second-to-none.”
As for his role as chair, he’s keen to get started.
“Being chair of Dalhousie’s Board is a big challenge, but it’s exciting. It’s a great Board, and a quality institution, and it’s a real honour to be its chair.”
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