Former city councillor and gay activist Michael Phair is the new chair of the board of governors of the University of Alberta.

"I am honoured to chair the board and am committed to the teaching and research excellence of a great Canadian University," Phair said in a news release Thursday.

The popular city councillor represented central Edmonton from 1992 to 2007.

Phair has been an instructor at Grant MacEwan University, Mount Royal University, and is currently an adjunct professor with the University of Alberta's faculty of education.

He is also the executive director of the North Saskatchewan River Valley Conservation Society.

Doug Goss, appointed in 2012, resigned as the chair last summer, three months after he warned Edmontonians not to vote for the NDP.

The chair is a three-year appointment.

The position does not pay an honorarium, though the chair and board members are reimbursed for expenses as per the board's bylaws.

The board is responsible for setting the direction for the university and is accountable for ensuring public funds are used effectively and appropriately.