Presidential terminations and resignations are nothing new, even in the staid world of academia. Yet, rarely have they played out in so public a manner as the abrupt departure of president Arvind Gupta at the University of British Columbia in the summer of 2015 or the messy dismissal of Ilene Busch-Vishniac as president of the University of Saskatchewan a year earlier. Quebec had its own drama in May 2015, with the resignation of Nadia Ghazzali, rector at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, following a critical report by Quebec’s auditor general. All three leaders left before completing their first mandates.
Amidst the turmoil, Peter Stoicheff was named the 11th president of U of S, a position he took up in late October 2015. A former English professor and a classical guitar composer with two recordings to his name, Dr. Stoicheff had served as dean of the college of arts and science at U of S for four years and knew the internal workings of the institution and its culture well. But there was a lot he didn’t know, he readily admits, and that weighed on him.