New Brunswick

Lieutenant-governor appointee wants to inspire youth

The woman named to replace Graydon Nicholas as New Brunswick's next lieutenant-governor says her appointment shows rural youth they can achieve lofty career goals with hard work.

Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau has small-town roots, engineering background, plans to focus on literacy

New Brunswick's next lieutenant-governor says she hopes her appointment will inspire young New Brunswickers.

Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau was named last week by the prime minister to succeed Graydon Nicholas in the role.

Roy-Vienneau was born in Newcastle and raised in Robertville in a rural family. She has had a career as an engineer and educator and was one of the first women to graduate with an engineering degree from the University of Moncton.

Roy-Vienneau submitted her resume to the committee searching for candidates in June, but said she didn't expect to get the job.

"It was a great surprise for me," she said.

Roy-Vienneau said her appointment sends a message to small-town New Brunswick.

"You can be born in a small, rural area and you can achieve quite [a lot] during your career and you can get access to this big position."

Roy-Vienneau said she's used to defying expectations.

She was just the third woman to graduate in engineering from the University of Moncton.

"I remember my first class there were 110 guys and I was the only girl. There was only one other girl in the engineering faculty," she said.

That was a good preparation for her subsequent career as an engineer and educator, said Vienneau.

"I guess it made me stronger. It helps me not take certain things too personally, to laugh, to have a good sense of humour. That was the impact," she said.

Roy-Vienneau said the greatest asset she brings to the position is a comprehensive view of education.

"Literacy would be one of my prime social causes because literacy is the base of all kinds of education. It can be university, college, trade, technology, apprenticeship training - literacy is the base. It will be my main focus," she said.

Roy-Vienneau will be the first Acadian woman to hold the lieutenant-governor position.

She said she does not have strong feelings about representing the monarchy because of her heritage.

"We are New Brunswickers and this is part of our system," she said.

"For me, it's natural because I'm an Acadian, of course - you can hear by my accent - but I am a New Brunswicker first."

The exact date of her installation has not been decided.

It's expected Nicholas's last act in the job will be to swear in a new cabinet after the Sept. 22 election.