Wade MacLauchlan installed as Chancellor of UNB | NEXUS Magazine | Alumni | Faculty of Law | UNB

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Faculty of Law

Wade MacLauchlan installed as Chancellor of UNB

On Thursday, October 19, 2023, H. Wade MacLauchlan, CM, O.P.E.I. (LLB’81) was officially sworn in as the seventh modern day Chancellor of the University of New Brunswick. The oath of office was administered by Her Honour Brenda Murphy, Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, and Dan Mills, New Brunswick’s Deputy Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training, and Labour during the 69th Convocation.

Addressing the crowd of distinguished guests, deans, faculty members, and a sea of new graduates, Chancellor MacLauchlan shared advice from Lord Beaverbrook’s 1947 graduation address, “do your part, and be the best you can be.”

He emphasized the enduring significance of these words, originally heard by students whose studies were interrupted to serve overseas during the Second World War. Now, these words resonate for students whose lives and academic pursuits have been disrupted by a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, and the escalating instability of the geopolitical landscape worldwide.

“Our greatest concern must be for the cruel impact of war and conflict on innocent civilians,” asserted the Chancellor. “When it comes to doing our part, we can start by counting our blessings to live in peace and democracy. To have an education and be part of a great University.”

Chancellor MacLauchlan urged students to recognize and embrace the great challenges we face today: Truth and Reconciliation, climate action, income inequality and economic opportunity, health and wellness, education, and defending and strengthening democracy. He reminded the class of 2023 that in doing so, they should never forget our everyday responsibility to look after and look out for each other. In his address, he shed light on another pressing concern that has increased steadily since the onset of the pandemic: mental health and loneliness.

“These are complex problems. They call for attention and resources. They call for research and innovation. Not least, they call for us to look out for and look after each other. When we think about doing our part and being the best we can be, we can start by asking each other ‘how are you today,’ and do it in a meaningful way. We can offer a smile, a helping hand, a pat on the back. We can cheer each other on. We can look out for signs of distress and respond as best we can. We can work together to build a strong and resilient Community.”

Greetings from fellow UNB Law graduates

Two members of the UNB Law alumni family were present to deliver official greetings and welcome Chancellor MacLauchlan back home: Dr. Aldéa Landry, CM, P.C., K.C. (LLB‘79) and Graydon Nicholas, CM, O.N.B., LL.D. (LLB‘71).

Speaking on behalf of the worldwide UNB alumni community, Dr. Landry shared the following words of welcome: “I have confidence that—guided by your insight and passion for learning, innovation and inclusion—great things will emerge for UNB during your term. Your track record as a proven agent of change is without a doubt an indication of what the future holds.”

The Hon. Graydon Nicholas, representing Indigenous peoples and communities of New Brunswick, echoed this message adding, “Our Indigenous peoples and communities welcome you and look forward to working in partnership with you in meeting the challenges that lie ahead. May your term of office be characterized by success, achievement, and good works. That is the heart of good leadership.”

An incredible career of service and leadership

Chancellor MacLauchlan brings to his new position an impressive career that truly defines leadership. His diverse roles as a Canadian legal expert, academic, university administrator, politician, and community leader are a testament to his versatility and influence.

From 2015 to 2019, he served as the 32nd Premier of his home province of Prince Edward Island. Prior to his political career, Chancellor MacLauchlan held the distinguished position of the longest-serving President of the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) and was later appointed as President Emeritus of UPEI in 2012.

Currently, he chairs the Independent Advisory Board for the Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments, a role of great national importance. Additionally, he has played pivotal leadership roles in various national and regional organizations, such as the Muriel McQueen Ferguson Centre for Family Violence Research at UNB. 

Chancellor MacLauchlan's strong ties to UNB have deep roots. He began his academic journey at UNB Law as a Beaverbrook Scholar and received the Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Medal upon graduation. After completing his law degree, he obtained a Clerkship at the Supreme Court of Canada. His academic career commenced in the 1980s when he served as an Assistant and subsequently Associate Professor at Dalhousie University. He later returned to UNB, assuming the role of Dean of Law from 1991 to 1996, during which he led the establishment of a $1.5 million heritage fund that continues to support UNB Law students to this day.

In 1993 and 1994, Chancellor MacLauchlan chaired the University’s Faculty/Staff component of UNB’s venture campaign, which resulted in a successful $40 million initiative. From 1997 to 1999, he played a crucial role as the founding director of UNB's multidisciplinary Centre for Property Studies.

“Chancellor MacLauchlan’s remarkable career exemplifies the qualities of a genuine leader,” said Dean Michael Marin. “UNB is incredibly lucky to have him as Chancellor; I am incredibly lucky to have him as a friend. I have benefitted greatly from his guidance and support throughout my work in developing the UNB Law strategic plan and during my time as dean.”

Chancellor MacLauchlan is immensely positive about the strategic vision and direction of the university.

“The priorities that UNB has laid for the next decade are clear and well thought-out. This is a very good time for the University of New Brunswick; there's a real feeling of momentum and what I call a happy confidence throughout the entire operation. It's going to look different; it's going to feel different, and that sense of growth and momentum is equally evident on both campuses. The changes that are being implemented now toward a one University model are timely, and UNB’s leadership at all levels is very strong.”