Former premier named Chancellor of Yukon College

Piers McDonald was announced as the new chancellor at a ceremony on Thursday. He takes over the ceremonial role from Geraldine Van Bibber.

Piers McDonald takes over role as ceremonial head of the college

Piers McDonald was Yukon's premier from 1996 to 2000. He'll serve a two-year term as chancellor of Yukon College. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Former Yukon Premier Piers McDonald, who also played a role in establishing Yukon College, has been named the college's new chancellor.

The College's board of governors made the announcement on Thursday at the college. McDonald takes over the role from Geraldine Van Bibber who held the post since 2012.

"It's certainly a big honour," McDonald said after the announcement.

The chancellor is the ceremonial head of Yukon College. It is a voluntary position held for a two-year term.

According to a college news release, the chancellor serves as "a bridge between the institution and the students, and the broader community."

Former Premier Piers McDonald is named chancellor of Yukon College. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

McDonald is the former leader of the Yukon NDP and served as premier from 1996 to 2000. Before that, he served in former Premier Tony Penikett's government as education minister, from 1985 to 1992.

As education minister, McDonald oversaw passage of the Yukon College Act, the construction of the main campus in Whitehorse and the expansion of community campuses throughout the territory.

At Thursday's ceremony, McDonald reminisced about the 1986 ground-breaking ceremony on what was then a "desolate, windswept hilltop" in Whitehorse, and remarked on how the institution has grown.

"We recognized that the college had to be relevant not only to the Yukon community and communities, but also it needed to be relevant domestically and internationally, outside the Yukon's borders," he said.

In 2008, McDonald was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

With files from Philippe Morin