Last week’s announcement that David Strangway was stepping down as president of Quest University Canada had many people questioning the university’s longevity.
But according to Angela Heck, director of public relations, the seemingly sudden change was actually premeditative.
“It was not unexpected. There has always been the thought that David would move into the position of Chancellor. We are required by our legislation to have that position of Chancellor to grant degrees,” said Heck.
“It was just felt that the university has been launched, the students are in place, the first block has happened, it is a logical time to have a bit of a change over,” she said.
On Wednesday, Oct. 3, Thomas Wood replaced Strangway as president of Squamish’s new university. Strangway, who founded Quest, was named Founding Chancellor by the board of directors.
According to Heck, Stangway will continue to sit on the board of directors and have input on the university’s direction.
“The Chancellor position is kind of an honorary position. He will still maintain a presence on campus, but it is not as hands on as being president,” she said.
Quest’s new president already has 14 years of leadership experience under his belt from a past presidency at Mount Royal College in Calgary. Wood has also been working with Quest the last three years as the Chief Academic Officer.
“I think he is very much in keeping with the Quest mission, and he has been in the advisor capacity to the president for the past few years, so he knows what Quest is all about,” said Heck.
In the midst of these major administration changes, Quest’s students continue to reside at the Sea to Sky Hotel while they wait for their residences to be finished and ready for occupancy.
The residences, originally slated for completion at the beginning of September, are still under construction as a result of the province-wide labour shortage in the construction industry.
According to Heck, the end is in sight, and construction is expected to be done by the end of the month.
“The residences not being ready was a bit of a glitch for sure, but everybody is coping really well, and in the grand scheme, it is one of those things of being a start up,” said Heck.
“Everything else is happening on campus. They are having their meals on campus, all their studies are taking place as scheduled in the academic program here, the library is open. Their life is happening on campus, they are just not living on campus,” she said.
Heck added that the current hotel-housing situation has been cost neutral to the private, non-profit university.
“We are actually leasing our residences… So basically the money that we would have taken to the leasing of the residences is actually going into the hotel,” she said.