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September 10, 2008

Victoria, BC– Camosun College’s Board of Governors were advised earlier this evening by incoming Chair, Mr. Robin Adair, that the College’s President, Dr. Liz Ashton will not seek another term as president when her current contract expires September 30, 2009. In her letter to the Board’s Executive Committee giving the required one year notice and informing them of her decision, Ashton said she was writing with mixed emotions. She said she has enjoyed her 14 years as President “more than (she) can say” and “has felt extremely privileged to be part of a team so dedicated to the advancement of people’s lives”.

Mr. Adair said that to say Ashton will be missed is an understatement. Since arriving at the College in 1994, he said that Liz has worked tirelessly to build and enhance the already strong reputation of Camosun as an invaluable contributor to the economic and social health of this community. The College serves over 12,000 learners annually with a wide range of programming and service options, most recently adding a number of four-year baccalaureate degree programs and a new Sport & Exercise Education program cluster, and initiating an applied research focus that saw the College receive one of the first Leading Edge Endowment Fund Regional Chair positions in the province. Also, under her leadership, the College last year completed a Campus Plan, Vision 2020, that builds upon its most recent strategic plan and outlines the growth anticipated for the College’s two campuses over the coming decade and more. Amongst other things, the Campus Plan calls for a new Centre for Health and Wellness building to be constructed on the College’s Interurban campus, alongside the new $27.75M Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE) in which classes began for the first time on September 2nd.

The realization of the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE) was due, in significant part, to Dr. Ashton’s vision and persistence. An Olympic athlete herself, representing the country on Canada’s Equestrian Eventing team at two Olympic Games, she promised soon after becoming President to work toward gaining a gymnasium for the College’s provincial and national award-winning Charger athlete teams. The PISE dream grew out of early discussions about a possible partnership to build athletic facilities for the teams and for the campus community and, in addition to the new double gymnasium which will now be home to the Charger teams, the PISE facility and expertise are a truly world-class addition to and for this community.

In addition to her visionary leadership of the College over the past decade and a half, Dr. Ashton has contributed significantly to the wider community. Ashton was President of the BC Summer Games here in 2000, is an active member of the Harbourside Rotary Club and the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, served as Chair of BC College Presidents and was Chair of Greater Victoria’s United Way Campaign in 2003. She was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, from Royal Roads University in 2006 in recognition of her lifetime achievement and community leadership, the ‘Exemplary Leader Award’ in 2008 from the Chairs’ Academy, a Commemorative Medal for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee in 2003 for her “significant contribution to Canada, the community and fellow Canadians and many other distinctions. She continues to ride daily, still competes regularly with three show-jumping horses and is looking forward to being able to spend more time with her husband, Carl, and her other love, the horses and show jumping.

The Board will begin a search process over the coming months but, as Adair says, Ashton’s boots will be very hard to fill.

For media inquiries:
Robin Adair
Chair, Camosun College Board of Governors

Last updated: September 10, 2008 10:11 am

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