The Board of Governors of Thompson Rivers University (TRU) has announced the reappointment of Dr. Brett Fairbairn as president until June 30, 2025, Marilyn McLean, the board’s chair, confirmed Wednesday.
While the board wanted to extend Dr. Fairbairn’s reappointment for a longer timeframe, Dr. Fairbairn and his wife have expressed a desire to retire and pursue their personal interests and passions beyond June 2025, McLean said.
The board recognizes and is greatly appreciative of what the university has accomplished under Dr. Fairbairn’s leadership. Among his many accomplishments is the Envision project which he initiated within his first year at TRU, she noted. This included wide consultation with faculty, staff, students, community partners and stakeholders, resulting in the development of the values, vision, and mission statement that now informs TRU’s strategic plan.
Dr. Fairbairn’s unwavering commitment to propelling TRU forward has ensured that the management and operations of TRU are thriving. This was particularly evident in his exemplary leadership during the pandemic. His focus on people, our programs of study, as well as his focus on maintaining and enhancing TRU’s research and innovation, and commitment to maintaining our wider community, helped us expertly navigate COVID-19, ensuring TRU came out not only intact, but stronger as well.
“At TRU, Dr. Fairbairn’s extensive knowledge and expertise resulted in the hiring of TRU’s first vice-president of research. Furthermore, his dedication to research is one of the driving forces behind TRU becoming a world leader and a thought and subject matter expert in wildfire research,” said McLean.
“His focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and anti-racism has resulted in the first EDI specialist being hired at TRU. Furthermore, under Dr. Fairbairn’s leadership, TRU has authentically and credibly focused on reconciliation, and on developing substantive and accountable programs with our Indigenous partners,” she added.
In making its decision, the board conducted a comprehensive review process and took into consideration extensive feedback it requested and received from a variety of both internal and external audiences as well as input from those who work closely with the president.
Accordingly, the board believes Dr. Fairbairn has the strengths and skills to achieve the strategic goals that have been set for TRU, and his reappointment represents the board’s confidence that he is the best person to lead TRU forward, said McLean.
Dr. Fairbairn said he looks forward to continuing in his role.
“TRU holds a special place in my heart, especially because I was made to feel welcome right from the start almost five years ago. I am honoured to be given the opportunity by the board of governors to continue to serve as president,” said Dr. Fairbairn.
“Working together with our dedicated staff, faculty, students, and various other stakeholders, I look forward to enhancing TRU’s role as an institution of excellence,” added Dr. Fairbairn.
“I wish I could give more than two years of my time, but there are things my wife and I want to do on a personal level – for us, as well as for and with our families, our friends, and the community in which we live.”