McDonough named interim president of MSVU

Former provincial and federal NDP leader Alexa McDonough is the new interim president of Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.

Former provincial and federal NDP leader Alexa McDonough is the new interim president of Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.

McDonough's one-year term begins in August. During this time, the school will search for a permanent replacement for Kathryn Laurin, who resigned as president to take a position at a university in British Columbia.

Janet MacMillan, chair of the university's board of governors, said McDonough won't be just a figurehead.

"She's very much going to come in and provide the leadership and the continuity. We're in the middle of a capital campaign, so to keep that momentum going is really important to us," MacMillan said Monday.

McDonough said she's a big fan of the university, which was started by the Sisters of Charity to provide higher education for women. The school is now completely co-ed, with about 5,000 full- and part-time students.

McDonough led the Nova Scotia NDP for 14 years. When she took the reins in 1980, she became the first woman to lead a recognized political party in Canada.

She was leader of the federal NDP from 1995 to 2003, and continued to sit as the member of Parliament for Halifax until last year.

In the 2006 federal election, McDonough became the first woman to win four consecutive terms representing Nova Scotia in Parliament. She was also the only woman elected among 32 MPs in Atlantic Canada.

McDonough received an honorary degree from MSVU last month.