C.M.; B.Sc., Ph.D.(UBC); F.R.S.C.
Through his visionary leadership, Dr. David H. Turpin transformed a relatively young Canadian university from regional jewel to international star.
During his tenure as President of the University of Victoria, Dr. David Turpin’s vision was clear - develop UVic into one of the best universities in the world. And he did. At the end of his final term in 2013, the University of Victoria was ranked among the best in the world for universities founded within the last fifty years. It was the only Canadian university on the list.
This is what visionaries do.
For more than three decades, Dr. Turpin has shaped the definition of what a publicly-funded university should be. Through positions he has held at multiple universities, he pushed scientific exploration, championed the liberal arts, and advanced Indigenous excellence. The University of Manitoba is proud to award an honorary degree to this innovative leader.
Dr. Turpin trained as a botanist and began teaching at Queen’s University and then at the University of British Columbia. Throughout his academic career, Dr. Turpin stressed that a liberal arts education is the heart of a university and key to the economic and social well-being of our communities. He has infused this idea into his practices, and his own research interests have expanded to include issues related to post-secondary education, and how our society views universities.
In 1995, Dr. Turpin left the classroom to begin serving as Vice-Principal (Academic) at Queen’s University. He proved a gifted leader and in 2000, he took the office of President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Victoria. There, in his thirteen years of service, he radically improved the university’s trajectory by bolstering its research, teaching and student services. He was instrumental in establishing the university’s internationally-renowned Ocean Networks Canada, a set of two oceanic observatories, which, in keeping with his philosophy, were not just about the science, but also focused on law, culture and social science. Dr. Turpin also placed a special focus on attracting and supporting Indigenous students, establishing programs to meet their specific cultural and academic needs.
Dr. Turpin shares his acumen with governing bodies across Canada. As a result, he has earned many honours and distinctions including Queen’s University’s highest award for teaching, the NSERC Steacie Fellowship. He was elected to the Royal Society of Canada, and is a member of the Order of Canada.
On July 1, 2015, Dr. Turpin will re-enter the academic realm, serving as the thirteenth President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Alberta.