Thompson Rivers University

University honours former president

June 11, 2021

KAMLOOPS–This spring, Thompson Rivers University (TRU) honours a former university president at Spring 2021 Virtual Convocation Thursday, June 17.

Dr. Alan Shaver is being recognized with the title President Emeritus. He was TRU’s third president and vice-chancellor, leading the university from 2010 to 2018. The President Emeritus is a lifelong designation awarded by the board of governors that distinguishes former presidents who have provided exceptional service to TRU.

“Alan understood the important role that universities play in strengthening relationships and building communities,” said Barbara Berger, TRU board chair.

Former TRU president Alan Shaver

“Under Alan’s forward-looking leadership, he led a number of transforming initiatives such as the development of partnership agreements between TRU and Tk’emlúps te Secwépmc and between TRU and the City of Kamloops, as well as TRU becoming a full member of Universities Canada and the Research Universities’ Council of BC, and establishing the Thompson Rivers University Community Trust.”

During Shaver’s eight years as president, he strengthened the university’s student services department and opened the new Faculty of Law. His dedication to Truth and Reconciliation contributed to the historic agreement with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc in 2013. His commitment to quality set the university on the path to become internationally accredited with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, while his vision of TRU as a lively “university village” led to the innovative on-campus housing development, The Reach.

Shaver was an integral part in the realization of the university’s mission to become a full-service, student- and community-centered university offering accessible, quality education to all. Not only was the physical campus transformed by The Reach and other building projects, Shaver’s leadership also took TRU to a new level in the development of masters programs, research internationalization, intercultural understanding and sustainability. His accomplishments have had a lasting impact on TRU, its students, faculty, staff and community.

Current President and Vice-Chancellor Brett Fairbairn is building on Shaver’s achievements at the university, particularly in furthering relationships with students, faculty, staff and the Indigenous and broader communities. It’s that foundation of connectedness that Shaver fostered that particularly attracted Fairbairn to take the helm as his successor.

As a university professor and administrator in three provinces, Shaver devoted his career to ensuring quality education was accessible to all who desired it. He was inspired by his childhood as an eager learner and his experience as the first in his family to attend university.

Shaver earned his BSc (Honours) in chemistry from Carleton University, his PhD in organometallic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he went on to be a Postdoctoral Fellow for the National Research Council of Canada in 1972. He spent the next 46 years working in academia, earning wide respect for his academic leadership at McGill University, Dalhousie University and TRU.

He was recognized for his innovations in interdisciplinary and international academic programming and for advancing the quality of education through research-informed learning.

Throughout his distinguished career, Shaver combined his passion for teaching and research with academic leadership to provide exceptional support and mentorship to countless students and colleagues.

Shaver continues to live in Kamloops. As when he was president, he can often be seen riding his e-bike to the Farmers’ Market with his distinctive mane of hair trailing in the wind.


Michele Young, Media Relations
University Relations, Thompson Rivers University