Choral director Susan Knight says she's thrilled to be appointed as the chancellor of Memorial University, the first woman named to the job. 

"It took my breath away," Knight said of the phone call from Premier Kathy Dunderdale.

Knight has been well known for her work in music and for founding the award-winning youth choir, Shallaway, and Festival 500, the international choral festival held every two years in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Knight has become the sixth chancellor of Memorial, taking over from retired general Rick Hillier who resigned as chancellor on Aug. 31. 

The university chancellor is responsible for presiding over convocation and serves on the university's academic governing body. Former chancellor Hillier also proved to be an effective fundraiser, garnering $63 million in donations for the university.

Knight said she's prepared to carry on with Hillier's fundraising work.

"I think perhaps one advantage is that I'm an artist and I've spent my whole life trying to raise money," said Knight.

"Part of that [role] will be putting forward the brand and hoping to influence generous people to give to Memorial. "  

Knight  has been familiarizing herself with all aspects of activity at the university, and she plans to seek advice from Hillier and another former chancellor, current Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie.