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Leading Business Thinker Dr. Don Tapscott '66 Re-Appointed Chancellor of Trent University

Trent alumnus and technology guru re-appointed chancellor for second three-year term


Recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on innovation, media, and the economic and social impact of technology, Dr. Don Tapscott has been reappointed as chancellor of Trent University for a second three-year term.

The reappointment was celebrated at the annual alumni awards held on the weekend and was a fitting venue as Dr. Tapscott is also an alumnus of the University and became Trent’s first alumni chancellor when he was appointed in 2013.

“Over the last three years, Don has made a tremendous contribution to the Trent University community,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor of Trent. “We are lucky to look forward to another three years of his engagement with students and alumni and his work as a key ambassador for our institution.”

Throughout his impressive career, Dr. Tapscott has been an advisor to business and government leaders and has introduced ground-breaking concepts that are part of our understanding of a rapidly changing world. A graduate of Psychology and Sociology at Trent University and a recipient of an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2006, he was re-named one of the most important living business thinkers in the world by Thinkers50 in 2013 and again in 2015. Most recently, Dr. Tapscott was appointed to the Order of Canada for his leadership in the field of business innovation, notably for his research on the economic and social impact of information technology.

In commenting on his appointment, Dr. Tapscott said: "I am delighted with this honour. The last three years as Trent’s chancellor has been deeply rewarding and inspiring for me. I’ve loved every minute of performing my duties and I look forward with great anticipation as Trent continues to evolve and become an even more important institution in this country. On a personal note, I am excited about the opportunity to continue working with President Leo Groarke and the wonderful leadership team that has been assembled at Trent.” 

Dr. Tapscott is the author and co-author of 15 widely-read books including Macrowikinomics; New Solutions for a Connected Planet; the 1992 bestseller Paradigm Shift; and Radical Openness: Four Unexpected Principles for Success. His book Wikinomics was the best-selling management book in the United States in 2007. In 2014 the 20th Anniversary Edition of Dr. Tapscott’s hit The Digital Economy was released with a new foreword by Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google, and 12 new essays addressing the original topics of the book. Dr. Tapscott’s newest book, The Blockchain Revolution, which will hit stands later this month, will explain why blockchain technology will fundamentally change the Internet, what it does, how we use it, and both the promise and peril for our civilization.

A strong supporter of the Trent University learning model, Dr. Tapscott says, "It's no longer just what you know; it's your capacity to solve problems, to think, to research, and to reinvent your knowledge base. Trent's student-focused, customized, collaborative learning experience is the new model for developing knowledge workers who can build more effective social and economic institutions.

"In my parents' generation, you learned a trade or skill and you were set for life. Today, young people are set for fifteen minutes. Employers will need thinkers and problem-solvers, not just heads stuffed with facts." Trent's chancellor considers himself fortunate to have attended Trent. "It was the perfect place for me. I learned through small-group discussion and interaction with teachers. At Trent, I discovered my deep passions. And I learned how to think better, how to write, and how to solve problems."

A proponent of learning that encourages critical thinking and citizens who push the boundaries of new paradigms, Dr. Tapscott encourages undergraduates to study a range of liberal arts and science topics that pique their interest. "They'll discover what they love, equip themselves for citizenship and the next stage of the life-long learning required for success in a knowledge economy," he says.

Dr. Tapscott is CEO of a Toronto-based think tank The Tapscott Group, and was previously founder and chairman of New Paradigm. He is vice-chair of Spencer Trask Collaborative Innovations, a new company building a portfolio of companies in the collaboration and social media space. With a Master's degree in Education from the University of Alberta, he is also an adjunct professor at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and the inaugural fellow of the school's Martin Prosperity Institute where he is currently leading a large investigation of new models of global problem solving, cooperation and governance.

Posted on Monday, May 2, 2016.

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