November 12, 2009

"What does Mount Allison University have in common with Barack Obama, Diana Krall, and Bill Gates?" Or how Peter Mansbridge being the next Chancellor of Mount Allion University makes up for poor marketing.

The e-mail below was sent to students this week along with posters advertising the only major announcement of this apparent magnitude since I've been here. First off...Diana Krall? Who? Clearly they were going for name and face recognition to get students why have a relatively obscure Canadian artists next in between two of the most universally well known people in the world? It makes no sense and detracts from the interest. It reminds me of Canadian content laws that ensure that mediocre talent nobody would normally listen to is forced down our eardrums.

Secondly, the fact that everybody is jumping on the Obama bandwagon these days and claiming similarity or importance by invoking his name is annoying and almost degrades the importance of his influence. So, for a confusing and almost annoying poster it has told me nothing. There's some mysterious event horribly timed for students in the middle of the day that I'm not at all interested in skipping class to attend. There were e-mails throughout the week saying what a big deal the event is and the hype got to be a bit much. It was exciting to hear that Peter Mansbridge (Chief Anchor at CBC) will be the ceremonial head of the school for a few years and will confer degrees at my graduation. It'll put more of a spotlight on Mount Allison but it isn't as earth-shattering and revolutionary as the allusions to two of most influential people in the world.

Mansbridge named Mount Allison University chancellor Last Updated: Monday, November 9, 2009 | 9:01 PM AT CBC News Gov. Gen. MichaĆ«lle Jean invests CBC News anchor Peter Mansbridge as an officer of the Order of Canada during a ceremony in Ottawa. Mansbridge was named the next chancellor of Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B., on Monday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press) The CBC's Peter Mansbridge will become the next chancellor of Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B. Mansbridge, anchor of CBC News The National and chief correspondent for the network, will be formally installed as the small liberal arts university's chancellor in May and will hold the position until December 2013. Mansbridge will be the ceremonial head of Mount Allison, presiding over convocations, conferring all degrees and acting as an ambassador for the university. Robert Campbell, the president of Mount Allison, said Mansbridge is a solid choice for chancellor because he is a leader in his profession and he'll be able to spread the word about the university to a wider audience. “Peter’s reputation is well suited to Mount Allison,” Campbell said. “He is a recognized leader in his field and is committed to cultivating creative and critical thinkers with the desire to make a meaningful impact in the world.” Mansbridge said he won't be giving up his main job as host of The National, the CBC's flagship news program, to take on the position. But he said he is looking forward to strengthening the relationship that he started with Mount Allison when he participated in a speakers series in the 1980s. He has been associated with the university since then, delivering the inaugural Canadian Studies lecture in 1997, accepting an honorary doctorate in 1999 and serving on the university’s national advisory council. “I am thrilled to further cement my relationship with one of the country’s most respected universities, and look forward with excitement to meeting with students, staff and faculty in the months and years ahead,” Mansbridge said. “I am deeply honoured to have this opportunity and anxiously await my first convocation as chancellor.” Mansbridge will replace Nova Scotia businessman John Bragg, who is retiring as chancellor. Mansbridge was among 35 Canadians who were invested with the Order of Canada in a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Nov. 5. He was made an officer of the order — the second rank — in recognition of "achievement and merit of a high degree."

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