Tuesday, March 30, 2021, Peterborough
The Trent University Board of Governors held its fourth regular meeting on March 26, 2021, virtually via Zoom, with the following highlights:
Appointment of Board Chair and Vice-Chairs for 2021-22
Trent University’s Board of Governors approved the appointment of Debra Cooper Burger as the new chair of the Board for a two-year term, effective July 1, 2021.
Ms. Cooper Burger was first appointed to the Board of Governors July 1, 2018. Throughout her tenure on the Board, she has demonstrated leadership and strong strategic acumen, which she has brought to her current roles as vice-chair of the Board and chair of the Finance & Property Committee, as well as her previous role as the chair of the Nominating & Governance Committee. Ms. Cooper Burger brings a wealth of community engagement experience to the role of chair.
A healthcare leader with a proven track record in management and the delivery of services and programs, Ms. Cooper Burger has held leadership roles at the Peterborough County-City Health Unit, and Peterborough Community Access Centre, and served as the chief executive officer at St. Joseph’s at Fleming for eight years. Ms. Cooper Burger started her career in healthcare as a registered nurse and holds a B.Sc. (Nursing) from the University of Western Ontario, a Master of Continuing Education from University of Calgary, and is a graduate of the Advanced Healthcare Leadership Program at the Rotman School of Management.
“Debra Cooper Burger has an impressive background serving on and leading institutional Boards,” said Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor of Trent University. “It is especially notable that her experience includes a term as chair of the Board at Fleming College and many years of leadership in healthcare and long term care. We will be lucky to have someone with her experience leading us. Debra will move into the role of chair as Armand La Barge (‘95), a community leader and proud alumnus of Trent, completes his two-year term on June 30, 2021. We wish to thank Armand for his dedication and vision, particularly in the very different year where we benefited from his strategic and steady leadership.”
“It is a privilege to have been elected,” said Ms. Cooper Burger. “With the confidence of my fellow Board members, I am committed to continue the work of Chairman Armand La Barge to transition out of the COVID-19 pandemic and to continue to see Trent flourish by balancing sustainability and strategic visioning.”
The Board also approved the appointment of two vice-chairs of the Board of Governors. Scott Sinclair was reappointed as a vice-chair and Saäd Rafi was appointed as a new vice-chair. They will each serve for a one-year term from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022.
Scott Sinclair ’90 is a leader in the financial services industry, community volunteer and Trent alumnus with a B.A. in Political Studies. With more than 30 years of experience in the finance industry, his areas of expertise include life and health insurance, segregated and mutual funds, with additional exposure to pension and employee benefits in the U.S. markets. Mr. Sinclair recently retired from the role of senior vice-president of Underwriting and Medical at Transamerica Life of America. Mr. Sinclair is a member of the newly amalgamated Strides Toronto Board (formerly East Metro Youth Services and Aisling Discoveries) and is the past president of the Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre board, as well as past president of the Aisling Foundation board. Mr. Sinclair has also been the major gifts leader for United Way at Transamerica, past chair of the YMCA Scarborough regional council, and a founding board member and advisor to the Day Trippers Children’s Charity. Mr. Sinclair’s second three-year appointment on the Trent University Board of Governors began July 1, 2019.
Saäd Rafi brings over 24 years of experience in the Ontario Public Service to his role as vice-chair, with knowledge of pension governance, financial administration, change management, and transformation and risk management. Mr. Rafi was also a partner and the national public sector leader at Deloitte LLP. Previous to this position, he was the chief executive officer of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Administrative Corporation (ORPPAC) where he was responsible for starting up Ontario’s attempt at a provincial pension plan. Other former positions include: chief executive officer of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am & Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee; and deputy minister of the ministries of Health and Long-Term Care; Energy and Infrastructure; Transportation; and Community Safety. Mr. Rafi holds a B.A. in Law and an M.A. in Public Administration from Carleton University. In April 2020, Mr. Rafi was appointed to lead the Toronto Office of Recovery and Rebuild to begin post-pandemic planning. Mr. Rafi is currently serving his second term on the Trent Board of Governors.
Board of Governors Reappointments
Trent’s Board of Governors also approved the re-appointment of Julian Smith, for his second
three-year term commencing July 1, 2021 and ending June 30, 2024. Mr. Smith is in his second year as vice-chair of the Audit & Investment Committee, where he has lent time and expertise to the critical work on the endowment fund investment portfolio. Mr. Smith also sits on the ad-hoc Pension Transition Committee.
Virtual Dialogue with Student Leaders
The Board of Governors welcomed student leaders to engage in a virtual dialogue regarding post-pandemic education at the University. Students and governors collaborated in breakout sessions to discuss topics such as remote and in-person learning; student supports, including student mental health; university life, student engagement and extracurricular opportunities; equity and accessibility; academic programming; and career services.
Approval of the 2021/22 Operating Budget
Governors also received a presentation and approved the 2021/22 operating budget for the University, including 2021/22 tuition, housing and dining fees. The budget is based on modest enrolment growth, the resumption of “normal” in-person learning and on-campus activities for fall 2021, and a proposed international tuition fee strategy which will see single-digit percentage increases for international student tuition.
The budget also outlines key strategic priorities where the University will invest which include: balancing the operating budget, enhancing research opportunities, improving the university’s ranking and reputation, growing enrolment (with an emphasis on international), and the continued expansion of Trent University Durham GTA’s academic programs and services.
About Trent University
One of Canada's top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of interactive learning that's personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. Today, Trent's unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent's students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent's Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Durham Greater Toronto Area, delivers a distinct mix of programming in the east GTA.
For more information contact:
Cara Walsh, communications & media relations officer, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6240 or firstname.lastname@example.org