Manitoba

Michael Benarroch named 12th president of the University of Manitoba

The University of Manitoba says it has appointed "a demonstrated bridge-builder and a committed leader in community engagement" as its new president and vice-chancellor.

'He has a track record as a compelling visionary with the ability to make great things happen'

Michael Benarroch has been named the new president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba. (Alia Youssef/University of Manitoba)

The University of Manitoba says it has appointed "a demonstrated bridge-builder and a committed leader in community engagement" as its new president and vice-chancellor.

Michael Benarroch, the former dean of the U of M's Asper School of Business, has been lured back from Toronto to take the university's reins, the university announced Wednesday.

He becomes the 12th president in the university's 142-year history.

"I am excited about the opportunity to return to the University of Manitoba … and to contribute to the success of the outstanding students, faculty, staff and alumni," Benarroch said in a news release from the university.

"My years at the University of Manitoba were among the most rewarding of my career. I look forward to playing a lead role in building new successes in teaching, research, service, community engagement and reconciliation."

He takes office July 1, 2020, succeeding David Barnard, who completes his term on June 30, 2020, ending 12 years in the role.

"It is an honour and a privilege to serve this university as its president. I offer Michael my congratulations and wish him and the whole UM community great success in the years ahead," Barnard said.

David Barnard, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba, says he loves higher learning so much, he's almost 65 and still at university. (Mike Latschislaw/University of Manitoba)

Benarroch has been the provost and vice-president academic at Ryerson University in Toronto since 2017, overseeing academic policy, strategic planning and the institutional budget.

Before his work at Ryerson and the Asper school, he was the founding dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Winnipeg.

Now he is prepared "to lead the University of Manitoba into the next stage of its illustrious history," Jeff Lieberman, chair of the presidential search committee and the U of M board of governors, said in the news release.

"His academic and leadership experience and his deep love of the province and the university make him an ideal candidate to help bring about positive transformation."

Benarroch helped strengthen the Asper school's Aboriginal business education program, setting it up for its recent "unparalleled success" in graduating more diverse students than ever before, Lieberman said.

"He has a track record as a compelling visionary with the ability to make great things happen by connecting meaningfully with community and stakeholders."

Under Barnard, the university expanded in both physical size and student population, increasing Indigenous and international student populations, Lieberman said, and also achieved new heights in research accomplishments and unprecedented success in philanthropy.

In 2011, Barnard made a formal statement of apology and reconciliation to Indian residential school survivors in front of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada — the first leader of a post-secondary institution to do so.

Benarroch was three when his family immigrated to Winnipeg from Tangier, Morocco.

He was among the first generation of his family to attend university and the first to earn a graduate degree. He holds a bachelor of arts (honours) from the University of Winnipeg, a master of arts in economics from Western University and a doctorate in economics from Carleton University.

He has taught economics at Canadian universities since 1989, with research that focuses on the global economic outlook, globalization and the impact of trade on the environment.

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