The University of Calgary announced former Conservative Party MLA Jim Dinning would become the school's new chancellor as of July 1.
Dinning was elected as the school's 12th chancellor on Tuesday by the U of C senate, where he will sit as leader and ceremonial head of the university for a four year term.
"I can't think of a more exciting time to be joining this vital Calgary institution," said Dinning in a U of C press release.
The senate selects a new chancellor by forming a selection committee to find and endorse a candidate that meets all the requirements. The senate then ratifies the decision.
Students' Union vice-president external and senate member Hardave Birk was part of the election process and said Dinning's established position in the province will benefit the U of C.
"I'm really excited for Mr. Dinning to take over the role," Birk told the Gauntlet. "I think he's going to be a great chancellor in the sense that he has very strong connections to the Calgary community and the Alberta community and that's very important coming in to the role of chancellor."
In 1986, Dinning was elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, serving until 1997. In 2006, he ran for the leadership of the Conservative party, attempting to take over for outgoing Premier Ralph Klein before his loss to Ed Stelmach.
In 2002, Dinning was presented with an honorary degree from the U of C.
Outgoing chancellor Joanne Cuthbertson, who recently donated $1 million to the Taylor Family Library, said Dinning brings both passion and experience in serving the community to the university.
"Jim's experience, the value he places on post-secondary education, and his strong ties to the corporate, government and non-profit sectors make him an outstanding choice for chancellor," said Cuthbertson in the press release.
Besides chairing the senate, the chancellor volunteers their time to improve community relations and enhance the image of the U of C outside of campus.
The chancellor also represents the school at ceremonial occasions, such as presiding over convocation.
"One of his main functions of chancellor is to lead the senate," said Birk. "And the role of the senate is to build the image of the U of C and build those connections to the community. I think that's something that Mr. Dinning will be really good at."
Dinning told the university he looks forward to working with the president, senate and board of governors, and hopes to "continue raising the bar at the University of Calgary."