New COU Chair’s priority to reinforce the true value of a university education

Toronto, July 23, 2013

The Council of Ontario Universities (COU) is pleased to announce the appointment of prominent academic leader Dr. Max Blouw as Chair of the membership organization that represents Ontario’s 21 publicly funded universities.

Blouw, who is also President and Vice-Chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University, takes over from outgoing COU Chair, Dr. Alastair Summerlee, who is President of the University of Guelph.

“The university sector has benefitted tremendously from the leadership of Dr. Summerlee, and is now fortunate to have yet another Chair deeply committed to higher education and to promoting its value to government and in public dialogue,” says COU President and CEO Bonnie M. Patterson.

Blouw says his first priority as COU Chair will be to champion the many ways a university education enriches lives, societies and economies, both at home and globally.

“Yes, a university education prepares people very well for the workforce. There is real evidence that in today’s knowledge-based economy employers are seeking the kind of critical and analytical thinkers universities produce,” says Blouw. “But the university experience provides more than the ability to earn a living. It teaches people to get involved in their communities, to be good citizens, to get out and vote, to make a positive difference in the wider world.”

Blouw has dedicated his career to postsecondary education, first as a teacher and then as a senior administrator before becoming Laurier President in 2007.

He holds bachelor’s and master’s of science degrees in zoology from the University of Manitoba, and a PhD in biology from the University of New Brunswick.

Before joining Laurier, Blouw played a prominent role at the University of Northern British Columbia, both as a professor, associate vice-president and dean of graduate studies, and vice-president of research. He began his career as a biologist in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Winnipeg, and went on to teach biology at St. Francis Xavier University and zoology at the University of British Columbia.

He has played a leadership role in the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, as well as the university advisory group to Industry Canada. A full bio can be found at on the WLU website.

Quick facts:

  • 87.5 per cent of Ontario university students are finding employment within six months of graduation, and earn an average of $42,403 – more than those with any other level of education.
  • University researchers are advancing the frontiers of knowledge and creating new products and services that change lives.
  • University graduates are thinking critically, solving problems and building relationships globally that will transform the world.

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COU is a membership organization of 21 publicly assisted universities in Ontario. It works closely with the provincial and federal governments to shape public policies that help universities deliver high-quality programs for students and advance the research and innovation that improves the social, cultural and economic well-being of Ontarians.

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Wendy McCann
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Telephone: 416-979-2165 extension 233
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Email Wendy McCann