Dr. Kevin B. Wamsley has been installed as Nipissing University’s seventh President and Vice-Chancellor.
Last spring, the Nipissing University Board of Governors announced Dr. Wamsley’s appointment to the role following an extensive search. Wamsley officially took the helm on August 1, 2021, however, a formal installation ceremony was not held until today due to the pandemic.
Wamsley's installation kicks off a busy week at Nipissing as eight convocation ceremonies for graduates spanning the classes of 2020–22 are scheduled.
"People have a particular way of doing things," Wamsley says following the ceremony. "So, if I was going to be the president of a university — I never thought I would assume that role — because I watched other presidents and I didn't feel comfortable. I finally realized I had to do it my way."
Wamsley says finding the needed comfort zone to have strong relationships with members of the public and donors at first seemed daunting to him, although he spoke graciously and thoughtfully, Tuesday, thanking the many who had helped him along the way to reach this lofty position, including family, colleagues, and mentors.
"If you bring your own personality to the role, there is tremendous comfort in that," he adds. "Leadership is about listening. It's about assessing a situation and it's about inspiring others and getting out of the way so they can do good work."
As he highlighted in his address, Wamsley has a keen interest in academic leadership, gleaned from his 30-year career in teaching, research, and administrative roles. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. In addition to his research record, Wamsley has received teaching awards at the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, and at both the Faculty and USC Teaching Honor Roll level at Western.
Before accepting his position at Nipissing, Wamsley completed a five-year term as academic vice-president and provost at St. Francis Xavier University and served for one year as interim president in 2019-20. Previously, he served as a professor, associate dean, acting dean, and the Director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies over the course of 18 years at Western University. He also worked as an assistant/associate professor and associate dean at the University of Calgary.
Nipissing's President and Vice-Chancellor is also recognized as one of the world's leading Olympic Games experts and historians. Dr. Wamsley has appeared over 1,700 times across various media over his academic career, including with such news agencies as the BBC, CNN, The New York Times, The Times of London, and The Wall Street Journal.
And as he leads those convocation ceremonies for Nipissing students this week, what advice does he have for them?
"It's not enough to just get your degree," he says. "You need to take the skills you learned here, you need to learn compassion, and diplomacy, you need to learn how to communicate with others and you need to bring that to your workplace. You can't just go in the corner and only talk to the people who think like you, you've got to build that bridge and talk to everybody."