Frederick E. Hyndman, Chair of the UPEI Board of Governors, announced today that Dr. Alaa S. Abd-El-Aziz has been selected as President-designate of the University of Prince Edward Island.
“The presidential search committee unanimously recommended Dr. Abd-El-Aziz to the Board of Governors and I am delighted that the board has supported that recommendation,” said Hyndman. “Dr. Abd-El-Aziz is a talented academic and a successful university administrator. His considerable accomplishments and qualifications, his infectious enthusiasm, and his collaborative experience in developing scholarship are all qualities that are essential for UPEI’s continued positive development.”
Dr. Abd-El-Aziz is the Provost of the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus in Kelowna, which he joined in 2006. As Provost, he provides leadership and direction in the areas of planning, policy development, and resource management. His responsibilities also encompass the Okanagan campus’ academic and research mandates. Throughout his administrative career, he has remained actively engaged as a chemistry professor and has made significant contributions to research and teaching in his field.
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Dr. Abd-El-Aziz received his BSc and MSc degrees from Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, and his PhD from the University of Saskatchewan. After completing an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto, he joined the chemistry department of the University of Winnipeg, becoming a full professor in 1997. He served as Dean of Science, Associate Vice-President of Research and Graduate Studies, and Vice-President, Research, International & External Affairs.
Two of the six commenters so far at the corresponding CBC article mourn the fact that the president won't be Canadian, even from the east coast. One CBC article suggests that Abd-el-Aziz' appointment may mean that more Arab students will come to Prince Edward Island. (Of course, the sole commenter on that article wonders why UPEI should be particularly attracting Arab students, as opposed to students from elsewhere in the world.)
It's worth noting that Lebanese-Canadians have for a long time constituted the only ethnic minority on Prince Edward Island neither northwestern European background nor First Nations, a relatively successful mercantile minority that even produced the Ghiz political dynasty (two premiers so far!).