Dr. Leo Groarke has announced that he will not pursue a third term as president. He has instead decided to conclude his tenure as president and vice chancellor of Trent University at the end of June 2024, leaving a legacy of accomplishments that have advanced Trent’s academic, administrative, and community profile.
“A university president and vice chancellor wears many hats, and President Groarke has donned them all,” said Debra Cooper Burger, chair of Trent University’s Board of Governors. “Over the past decade, the postsecondary sector has evolved in the face of both opportunities and challenges. President Groarke, through careful, critical, and compassionate leadership, has helped Trent University flourish as an academic institution, here in our local communities in Peterborough and Durham GTA, as well as globally. We are confident in the future of Trent, due in large part to President Groarke’s work ensuring a strong and healthy position for our University.”
President Groarke’s achievements over two terms of service are significant. Among the many highlights, he has led unprecedented year-over-year undergraduate and graduate enrolment growth, establishing a strong financial basis for the future of the University across both its Peterborough and Durham GTA campuses. Other fiscal successes have included a groundbreaking inaugural debenture, program development, the careful fiscal management of the institution, and, most recently, Trent’s partnership with the University Pension Plan established by the University of Guelph, Queen’s University, and the University of Toronto.
Emphasizing student success through the interdisciplinary education that Trent values, President Groarke spearheaded the launch of four Schools of Study at Trent—focused on the Study of Canada, Environment, Business, and Indigenous Studies. More than 20 undergraduate and 13 new graduate programs have also launched during President Groarke’s tenure. They include: Conservation Biology, Social Work, Data Science, Logistics & Supply Chain Management, the Medical Professional Stream, and Child & Youth Studies, as well as Master of Instrumental Chemical Analysis, Master of Nursing, Master of Management and Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Social Research.
Other initiatives have included creative international partnerships like the Law & Arts/Business, Chemical Engineering dual degrees and medical science programs with Swansea University, as well as innovative agreements for medical pathways with several institutions in the Caribbean.
Recent initiatives include: the launch of paid co-op streams in more than 20 academic programs across the Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences; the creation of the Jarislowsky Chair in Trust and Political Leadership; the addition of eight prestigious Canada Research Chairs; and a major expansion of experiential learning opportunities and study abroad programming. During President Groarke’s two terms, international enrolment at Trent has grown from 7% to 15.5% of University enrolment.
“I have been very fortunate to work with a strong Executive team, supportive Boards of Governors, and positive labour and student unions,” Dr. Groarke commented. “Together it has allowed Trent to evolve in ways that are good for our students, our researchers, and our communities. I am inspired when I see the hustle and bustle on our two expanding campuses, note the growth of the reputation of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni, and witness the breadth of our community engagements. There is always more that can be accomplished and I hope to contribute more in the year to come, and then as a professor when I pass the torch on to a new president on June 30, 2024.”
President Groarke has made connections with alumni and a culture of philanthropy key priorities during his two terms. He has overseen the successful completion of the $56.8M Unleash the Potential Campaign, a $6.6M Campaign for Trent Durham GTA, and recently launched the University’s most ambitious campaign to date – the $100M Campaign for Momentous Change. These campaigns have added dynamic new spaces to Trent’s campus landscapes – including the Student Centre, Forensic Crime Scene Facility and Trent Durham’s residence and academic building. A personal philanthropic supporter of the University, President Groarke established the Louis and Paul Groarke Philosophy Endowment.
Equity, diversity, inclusion has been another priority during Dr. Groarke’s presidency. He has continued to emphasize Trent’s role as a leader in reconciliation and Indigenous education; prioritized the health and well-being of students, the campus and our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic; supported initiatives stemming from an anti-racism task force report; and emphasized positive labour relations between administration and Trent’s unions.
Trent University’s continued ranking as the #1 undergraduate university in Ontario for 12 years in a row is further reflection of President Groarke’s contributions to the institution’s growing reputation nationally and internationally, and testimony to his leadership and pursuit of excellence for the institution and its staff, faculty, and students.
Celebrations to honour President Groarke at the end of his term in June 2024 will be planned and announced at a later date. The Board is currently developing the new Presidential Mandate, and details regarding the search for Trent’s ninth president and vice-chancellor will be shared as they are developed. Updates will be shared at https://www.trentu.ca/governance/board-governors.