The Trent University community is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Erica Cherney, the first woman chair of Trent’s Board of Governors, honorary degree recipient, and distinguished business leader.
“The entire University community mourns the death of Erica Cherney, who was such a strong supporter of Trent – and the first woman to chair our Board of Governors,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor of Trent University. “Erica was deeply committed to the values of Trent and ably led and participated in a number of key initiatives in support of our goals. On a personal note, I will always be grateful to Erica for taking the time to introduce me to the community when I first arrived at the University two years ago. Her absence will be deeply felt in Peterborough and at Trent University, but her legacy will live on in countless ways.”
Ms. Cherney joined the Trent University Board of Governors in 1979 and served as Trent’s first female chair from 1980 to 1984. Since that time, she continued her involvement with the University, as past chair of the Physical Planning and Development Committee, and as a fundraising leader, volunteer, and honorary member of the Board. An honorary Doctor of Laws degree was conferred upon Ms. Cherney in 2005 for her significant volunteer contributions to the arts, education, and business communities. She was also an active member of the Trent Business Council, supporting many student competitions and special projects.
In addition to the many roles she served at Trent and in the community, Ms. Cherney was also a strong supporter of Trent as a long-time donor. For over 40 years, she has left her legacy through annual donations to the Board of Governors Leadership Scholarship, as well as many other funds. Ms. Cherney, family and friends also established the Harry Cherney Memorial Bursary in memory of her late husband. This bursary is awarded annually to three students in either Business, Economics or Computing & Information Systems.
Ms. Cherney moved to Peterborough in 1971 and ever since has been actively engaged in making the community a better place to live and learn. A well-known member of the Peterborough business community, she was managing partner at H&M Cherney Realty, the first woman member of the local economic council, and served on the Board of Directors of the Greater Peterborough and Area Economic Development Corporation. She was also a respected mentor in the community, helping many individuals, particularly young people, get started in business.
A tireless volunteer, Ms. Cherney served in leadership roles with the United Way Board of Directors, and the Peterborough Information Centre and Volunteer Bureau, on committees of Peterborough Civic Hospital and Ontario Audio Library Service, on the Peterborough Utilities Board, the Board of the YMCA, and on the Board of Peterborough’s Beth Israel Congregation. She also holds numerous awards, including the Trent University’s Eminent Service Award, the YMCA Woman of the Year award, the City of Peterborough Award of Merit and a Province of Ontario Bicentennial Medal.
The University extends heartfelt sympathies to Ms. Cherney’s family and friends, and to all who knew her. In honour of Ms. Cherney, the University has lowered the flag atop the Bata Library to the half-mast position.