The University of Sudbury has tapped a historian to lead its historic effort to become a French-language university.
Serge Miville will take over from Father John Meehan, who is leaving to become director of the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History at Trinity College, at the University of Toronto.
“It is an immense honour to take on such a significant responsibility,” Miville said in a release on Thursday. “My commitment to students is clear: the entire team at the University of Sudbury will leverage our resources to ensure that you have the option to study in the North, in French, and that your academic credentials will be recognized and transferable.
“I am profoundly optimistic about the future of our university, about the future of Francophone higher-level education, and remain hopeful our partners in the provincial and federal governments will be of assistance as we serve the Francophone community, but most of all, as we attempt to open our doors to students in September 2021.”
Until this spring, the University of Sudbury, along with Huntington University and Thorneloe University were federated with Laurentian University and shared $7 million in funding.
However, cash-strapped Laurentian is restructuring. It has cut English and French programs, laid off close to 200 faculty and staff, and terminated its federation agreements and keeping the money it used to share with the U of Sudbury, Huntington and Thorneloe.
In response, the University of Sudbury has announced it would seek to reopen as a French university and hopes Miville can help lead the way.
The University of Sudbury called Miville an accomplished historian, who “was the ideal candidate to lead the University through this next decisive step to continue its evolution in support of leading-edge higher education by, for and with the North’s resilient Francophone community.”
Hailing from Smooth Rock Falls in Northern Ontario, Miville holds a Bachelor and a Master of Arts (Ottawa), as well as a PhD (York). In 2020, he was welcomed in the Société Charlevoix des études franco-ontariennes.
Miville was, until recently, Research Chair in Franco-Ontarian History at Laurentian University. He also served as the director of the Institut franco-ontarien, which has now moved its offices to the University of Sudbury.
In addition to his academic roles, Miville has been instrumental in administrative and governance roles through various academic committees and boards.
Miville’s writings on francophone Canada have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Société Radio-Canada, Le Droit, and Le Devoir, amongst others.
“Dr. Miville is an excellent successor for the realization of our mandate. His drive, his positive leadership, his aptitudes and his vision align perfectly with the ambitions of our university,” said Pierre Riopel, chair of the board of regents.
“The appointment of Dr. Miville represents a generational change in leadership that reflects the university’s new direction and plans to offer a new and unique experience to its students,” the release said. “He is deeply committed to the Greater Sudbury community, to its students, its professors, and its broader academic community …
“Dr. Miville is further committed to establishing an inclusive post-secondary education vision that maximizes opportunities found within the broader network of French-language post-secondary institutions to offer the best possible choice and diversity of educational opportunities in person and through hybrid options. Dr. Miville is also deeply committed to ensuring the continuation of the University’s dialogue with Indigenous communities.”