Something's Happening Here
Saint Mary’s Introduces New Vice-President, Finance and Administration
In July, Michelle Benoit BComm’91 was appointed as the Vice-President, Finance and Administration at Saint Mary’s University. A senior finance leader, Benoit has a proven track record of developing and executing strategy, leading growth, and empowering cross-functional teams through collaboration to optimize business results.
“After a national search, I am pleased to announce Michelle Benoit as our new Vice-President, Finance & Administration,” said Robert Summerby-Murray, President and Vice-Chancellor. “Saint Mary’s takes pride in the strength of its financial and administrative practices, particularly our strong focus on exceptional financial management. We are very pleased to have someone joining us, who will continue that tradition and uphold our shared Santamarian values with pride.”
Benoit earned her Bachelor of Commerce degree from Saint Mary’s University in 1991 and obtained her CPA, CMA professional accountancy designation in 1998.
New Saint Mary’s Lab Tackles Society’s Wicked Problems
In November, Saint Mary’s launched the new Wicked Problems Lab, a teaching, learning, and research hub that brings big data, software, analytic techniques, and resources together to tackle wicked problems.
Made possible by gifts from The Windsor Foundation, the Hewitt Foundation, and Dr. Daniel McCarthy BComm'76 DComm'11, the lab’s mandate is to help students and researchers across the university tackle some of society’s most wicked problems. Wicked problems are complex and multifaceted issues that are difficult, if not impossible, to solve.
“Our lab is working to build capacity in employing the large quantities of data currently available and advanced analytical tools to track, assess, and tackle wicked problems both locally and globally,” said Dr. Mathew Novak, a Saint Mary's associate professor and director of the Wicked Problems Lab. “We invite students and faculty to bring us their wicked problems, and we will work with them to use data in new and complex ways to find a solution.”
Master of Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation Receives $2 Million Gift
In November, the Master of Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MTEI) program at Saint Mary’s received a major gift from a leading figure in Canada's business and entrepreneurship community. "I have always been impressed by Saint Mary's University and the Sobey School of Business, from my time as a student and in every interaction I have with a Saint Mary's student," says Dr. Robert Steele DComm'18. “I know that through this gift, Saint Mary's will be able to continue to attract amazing students from Atlantic Canada, Canada and around the world to the MTEI program and the Sobey School.” Dr. Steele’s $2 million gift will help double the program’s size, create new resources for entrepreneurship research, and provide scholarships and awards to student entrepreneurs. “On behalf of Saint Mary’s University, I thank Dr. Steele for his commitment to the continued success of our institution and entrepreneurship in Atlantic Canada and beyond,” says President Summerby-Murray.
Saint Mary’s Joins Universities Nationwide to act on Anti-Black Racism
Saint Mary’s was one of 60 universities and colleges that participated in the National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities, a virtual event held by the University of Toronto in October. “This conversation is an important early step to a broader national discussion about the impacts of racism, and the actions we can take to address anti-Black racism,” says Deborah Brothers-Scott, Chair of Saint Mary’s University President’s Standing Committee on the Prevention of Racism. “I am confident that this series of dialogues will serve as a strong foundation for self-reflection as a sector and inform the systemic changes needed on the path towards equity.” Topics included access to post-secondary education and ensuring success, supporting faculty and staff, inclusive learning, representation, and best practices around race-based data. Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray is on the national committee tasked with reviewing the recommendations and providing a charter of principles and actions for participating institutions.
Saint Mary's University Climbs into Top Tier of Maclean’s Rankings
In October, Maclean’s magazine ranked Saint Mary’s fourth among undergraduate universities in Canada for 2021. In addition, both Saint Mary's and the Sobey School of Business's national prominence continue to rise. Saint Mary's is now ranked 33rd in the country when it comes to the national reputational ranking of all universities. This year, the Sobey School of Business ranked among Canada's top 15 business programs. The university's business program is tied for 14th in the country and has the highest reputation for business research in the Atlantic region. Saint Mary’s also ranked 1st in student awards (national awards won by students), 5th in medical/science grants for faculty, 5th in student services (under student support), 5th in library acquisitions and expenditures, 5th in the reputational survey, and 6th in faculty awards (national awards won by faculty members).
Saint Mary's Clean Catch Baits wins the Atlantic Canada 2020 AquaHacking Challenge
Clean Catch Baits, a company that creates biodegradable fishing lures, won the inaugural Atlantic Canada 2020 AquaHacking Challenge, netting the top prize of $20,000. The company addresses the issue of microplastics in fishing gear with a 100% biodegradable, PVC-free soft-bait fishing lure for recreational fishing. The winning team is fourth-year Commerce student Robel Berhane, Guillermo Villarreal De Lara BComm'20 and Katherine vanZutphen BComm'20. “We are very happy to be the inaugural AquaHacking Challenge winners here in the Atlantic region,” says Villarreal. “With this prize, we can expand the scope of our business and bring this solution into the hands of anglers across Atlantic Canada.” The Atlantic Canada AquaHacking Challenge is a start-up competition designed to help young tech entrepreneurs create innovative solutions to water issues. Through the competition, they develop their solution into commercially viable products or services and establish start-up companies.