Community update

Introducing Mount Allison's 16th President and Vice-Chancellor

29 Feb 2024

Message from Presidential Search Committee Chair Cheryl Hodder

It is my great pleasure, on behalf of the Board of Regents of Mount Allison University, to announce the appointment of Dr. Ian Sutherland as the school’s 16th President and Vice-Chancellor, effective July 15, 2024.

Dr. Sutherland’s appointment is the result of a comprehensive search and a unanimous recommendation of the Presidential Search Committee, and unanimous approval from the Board.

Our Presidential search focused on finding a President who would lead Mount Allison with integrity, build trust, and empower others. A purpose-driven leader, Dr. Sutherland embodies those characteristics and brings the energy and experience to lead Mount Allison boldly into the future.

For over a decade, Dr. Sutherland has worked in academic leadership in Atlantic Canada and internationally. He is currently a Memorial University Vice President with primary responsibility for leading its Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook, Newfoundland & Labrador. Dr. Sutherland comes to academic leadership through a highly interdisciplinary background, rooted in the performing arts, social sciences, and liberal arts. He has held a variety of leadership and academic appointments in Canada, the U.K., Poland, Germany, and Slovenia. He brings extensive knowledge and expertise in strategic planning from his roles in higher education and as a consultant working with private sector and non-profit organizations.

I’m pleased to share some words from Dr. Sutherland with you:
“I am elated and humbled to be joining the team at Mount Allison, a university that has always inspired me! Mount Allison is a beautiful small-town university whose students, faculty, staff, alumni, have been making impacts nationally and globally for nearly 200 years. It is a university deeply devoted to making the world a better place through learning, research, and community — one that lives and breathes a student-first culture. This incredible experience cultivates learning environments where every student has the opportunity to not just live up to, but build new potential, beyond what we can even imagine today, and I look forward to working together with you to continue this tradition. I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to collaboratively lead Mount Allison’s next chapter as Canada’s top undergraduate university”

Growing up in the small outport town of Lewisporte, Newfoundland, and most recently living in Corner Brook with his husband Jernej, and their dog Luka, I have no doubt Dr. Sutherland and his family will feel right at home in Sackville.

We are deeply appreciative of Dr. Robert MacKinnon for serving as Interim President and Vice-Chancellor while we conducted a thorough search. He will continue in the post until Dr. Sutherland’s arrival later this summer.

Warm regards,
Cheryl Hodder, KC, ICD.D

“I am a purpose driven academic and leader. Who I am and what I do emanates from my core belief that universities exist to make the world better.”

Dr. Ian Sutherland


Dr. Ian Sutherland (he/they) is Mount Allison University’s 16th President and Vice-Chancellor. A respected academic leader, he has a deep belief in the transformative power of education and the role that Mount Allison can play in helping manage the change and challenges of today’s world.

Dr. Sutherland most recently served as a Vice-President of Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador, with primary responsibility for leading the Grenfell Campus — an institution dedicated to the liberal arts and science tradition, in the tight-knit community of Corner Brook. Prior to that appointment, he served for five years as Dean of Memorial University’s School of Music, and six years as Associate Dean (Research) and Director of Doctoral Studies, at the IEDC-Bled School of Management in Slovenia. He has also held research and teaching appointments in the United Kingdom, Poland, and Germany, and provided consulting services in more than forty countries worldwide.

Born and raised in the small outport town of Lewisporte, Newfoundland, Dr. Sutherland understands the importance of community and connection. This has influenced his approach to leadership — a purpose-driven approach that puts people first. Through collaboration and creativity, he seeks to create opportunity, space, and mobilize resources for others to succeed. He strives for a culture that is community.

Identifying as queer, Dr. Sutherland believes that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity (DEI) must be at the core of university leadership and life. He is deeply committed to enabling 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and community and all equity deserving groups, particularly in the sphere of leadership.

An intense interdisciplinarian, Dr. Sutherland academic background comes from the creative and liberal arts and includes work in leadership and leadership development, cultural sociology, creativity, music and musicology. Originally training as a professional pianist Dr. Sutherland holds B.Mus. (Hons) and M. Mus. Degrees from the School of Music of Memorial University (Canada) and completed his PhD in Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Exeter (UK). He is deeply devoted to intellectual exploration and the application of critical thinking to better our shared world.

Deeply committed to community engagement, Dr. Sutherland has many community engagement projects, and actively works with and serves with a number of community and sectoral organizations. Currently Dr. Sutherland is on the Board of Directors of Quadrangle NL 2SLGBTQIA+ Community Centre and the Board of Business and Arts of Newfoundland and Labrador. He was among the 2019 honourees of Canada’s “Top 40 Under 40”, an annual program that recognizes Canadian influencers for their exceptional achievements.

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