President Deep Saini will be leaving Dalhousie at the end of 2022 as he prepares for a new chapter and new challenges leading one of Canada’s largest and most longstanding universities.
On Monday, McGill University announced the appointment of Dr. Saini as its next principal and vice-chancellor — their university’s equivalent of president. In a release, McGill Board Chair Maryse Bertrand championed Dr. Saini’s “exceptional breadth and depth of leadership experience, both with Dalhousie and several other U15 universities.”
Bob Hanf, chair of Dalhousie’s Board of Governors, shared the news with the Dal community in a memo Monday afternoon. His announcement is printed below in full.
Dr. Saini expressed his mixed emotions regarding the news on Twitter.
“It has been an amazing journey at Dal and I look forward to continuing to champion the sector,” he said. “I’ll have more to share soon, but for now let me simply express my immense gratitude to our entire Dal community. This is an exceptional university, and one I am incredibly proud to have served these past three years.”
Update, Nov 15 - Dr. Saini has shared a personal message with the Dal community, which can be read in full here.
"Rani and I agreed that the opportunity to be closer to family was not to be ignored — but my love of Dalhousie and its people made this one of the more difficult decisions of my career," he writes.
"This exceptional constellation of students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters is poised to accomplish truly great things in the next few years, and I am sad I won’t get to be an active part of it. At the same time, I know Dalhousie is so much bigger than its president. While I am proud of what we have accomplished during my time here, I am prouder that there is an entire institution of committed, inspiring people who will ensure Dalhousie continues its ascension into the ranks of the world’s most esteemed and impactful universities."
Dalhousie Provost Frank Harvey will serve as acting president until such point that a new president is appointed. Dr. Saini’s last day as Dalhousie president will be December 31, 2022.
To: The Dalhousie University community
From: Bob Hanf, K.C., Chair, Board of Governors
Date: Monday, November 14, 2022
Re: Important announcement regarding President Deep Saini
Today, McGill University announced the appointment of our own Dr. Deep Saini as its next Principal and Vice-Chancellor. His last day as President and Vice-Chancellor of Dalhousie University will be December 31st, 2022.
It should come as no surprise that a leader as talented and capable as Dr. Saini would be of great interest to our colleagues at McGill. In becoming the university’s 18th Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Saini joins a long line of esteemed individuals to hold the position at one of our peer institutions in the U15 group of Canadian research universities.
That said, goodbyes such as these are rarely easy, and I know this was a tough decision for Deep and his family. From my seat on the Board, I’ve gotten a first-hand look at how much it has meant to Deep to lead our Dalhousie community these past three years. At the same time, the city of Montreal is an important place for him — the city where he got his first taste of academic leadership, and where his love of Canada truly took root. And the chance to be even closer to his children and grandchildren makes this a great opportunity even beyond the merits of the position itself. I am sad to see Dr. Saini’s time with us end much sooner than we had hoped. But as a colleague and great admirer of his, I am excited for Deep as he prepares to embark on the next stage of his incredible life and career.
Dr. Saini’s tenure as Dalhousie President and Vice-Chancellor began at the start of 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was about to become a focal point in our lives. In the months that followed, Dr. Saini ably guided Dalhousie through the uncharted, challenging waters of remote work and learning, proving a steady hand at the wheel who always put the interests of our Dal community at the forefront. His thoughtful, earnest and collaborative approach helped bring people together even when we had to work apart. As activity returned to campus, Dr. Saini provided renewed vision through his leadership, helping revive the strategic planning process and launch our Third Century Promise last year. Having reached new levels in enrolment, fundraising and research funding, alongside impressive growth in Dal’s international presence and partnerships, Dr. Saini leaves Dalhousie in an incredibly strong position to deliver on our promise to our students, our community, our region and our world.
I am sure there will be many opportunities to wish Dr. Saini well before he leaves us, just as I am sure he will have more to share about this news himself. For now, let me simply thank Deep for all he has contributed to our university, and for helping set Dalhousie on a strong, confident course towards the brighter horizon ahead.
Soon, we will launch a comprehensive search for Dalhousie’s 13th President and Vice-Chancellor. This process will take time, as it always does. But I have no doubt Dalhousie will attract exceptional candidates from around the world, as it always has, welcoming a new President to our university and our region who will grow Dal’s impact and ensure continued success in delivering academic excellence, transformative research and building stronger communities.
To the extent a leadership transition represents change, Dalhousie is also a place where one constant is the leadership talent across our community. In these moments of transition, we rely on them to keep our mission moving forward.
I am pleased to share that Dr. Frank Harvey has agreed to serve as Acting President and Vice-Chancellor during the transition period, which will begin upon Dr. Saini’s departure in January and continue until a new President is appointed. Dr. Harvey, currently Provost and Vice-President Academic, is an award-winning teacher and political scholar with three decades of impact at Dalhousie. The former Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Dr. Harvey’s vast experience working collaboratively across our Dal community and steadfast commitment to our academic mission makes him an ideal choice for this appointment. An announcement on an Acting Provost and Vice-President Academic will be made soon.
Please join me in congratulating Deep and Frank on their new roles. Dalhousie has been well served by their leadership, and our university is in excellent hands through the transition ahead.
Bob Hanf, K.C.
Dalhousie University Board of Governors
Dalhousie University is located in Mi'kma'ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi`kmaq. We are all treaty people.
We recognize that African Nova Scotians are a distinct people whose histories, legacies and contributions have enriched that part of Mi'kma'ki known as Nova Scotia for over 400 years.
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