Indira Samarasekera

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Indira Samarasekera
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| birth_place = Colombo, Sri Lanka| death_date =| alma_mater = University of Sri LankaUniversity of California, DavisUniversity of British Columbia| spouse = Sam Samarasekera }}Indira Vasanti Samarasekera {{post-nominals|OC}},middle name according to LCNAF CIP data (née Arulpragasam; April 11, 1952),WEB,weblink Archived copy, 2010-10-12, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2010-10-24, was the 12th president and vice-chancellor of the University of Alberta.WEB,weblink Tributeweblink, April 7, 2013, WEB,weblink Congrats to Dr. Indira Samarasekera,, June 17, 2004, April 7, 2013, She has been a member of the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments, which advises on appointments to the Senate of Canada, since 2016.


Indira Samarasekera was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, of Sri Lankan Tamil descent, and was married to a Sinhalese,NEWS, Who is Dr. Indira Samarasekera?,weblink 9 April 2013, South Asia Mail, Sam Samarasekera and was divorced when her children were 7 and 3 years.WEB,weblink INDIRA SAMARASEKERA ON BUILDING A CAREER OF FIRSTS, /, Shelley White, 1 September 2016, 11 August 2017,

Education and career

Samarasekera received her B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Sri Lanka in 1974 and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Davis as a Fulbright Scholar in 1976.WEB,weblink Canada’s education system: ‘a gift beyond compare’,, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2012-12-02, In 1977, she immigrated to Canada, where she received her PhD in Metallurgical Engineering at the University of British Columbia in 1980. That year, she began working in the Department of Metals and Materials Engineering at UBC with a focus on the continuous casting and hot rolling of steel.WEB,weblink Congrats to Dr. Indira Samarasekera -,, She was only the second woman appointed to the University of British Columbia's Faculty of Engineering.WEB,weblink Office of the President,, In 2000, she was appointed UBC's vice-president of research. During her time in that role, the university's research funding from government, private donors and industry more than doubled, from $149 million to $377 million.She succeeded Roderick Fraser as president and vice-chancellor of the University of Alberta on July 1, 2005, and served two terms, ending June 30, 2015. She was the first female president of any university in Alberta.As of July 1, 2015, she was succeeded by David Turpin as president of the University of Alberta

Awards and Honorary Degrees

In 1991, Samarasekera was awarded NSERC's the E.W.R. Steacie Fellowship, an award that recognizes promising young Canadian researchersweblink In 2002, Samarasekera was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2012, she received Canada's Public Policy Forum Peter Lougheed award for leadership in public policy,WEB,weblink Article - University of Alberta,, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2012-10-02, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.WEB,weblink Archived copy, 2013-01-03, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2014-01-06, In 2014, she was named a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Engineeringweblink has received honorary degrees from the University of British Columbia,WEB,weblink Archived copy, 2012-10-11, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2014-07-24, University of Toronto,WEB,weblink Archived copy, 2014-07-18, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2014-07-26, the University of Waterloo,WEB,weblink [UW-News-Release] Waterloo will award 16 honorary degrees at spring convocation,,weblink" title="">weblink 2014-07-26, yes, Queen's University Belfast,WEB,weblink Archived copy, 2012-10-11, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2014-02-22, Université de MontréalWEB,weblink Personnalit茅s : Collations des grades,, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2014-02-22, and the University of Western Ontario.WEB,weblink Western News - Search, Department of Communications and Public Affairs, Western University, Western News, In 2018 Samarasekera was awarded the Bessemer Gold Medal by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, an annual honour named after Sir Henry Bessemer awarded for outstanding services to the steel industryweblink

Board and Committee Service

Samarasekera was appointed to the board of directors for Scotiabank in 2008weblink and for Magna International in 2014.WEB,weblink Press Release - Magna Announces 2014 Annual Meeting Results,, She was appointed chair of the Worldwide Universities Network in 2012,WEB,weblink Home, Worldwide Universities Network, serves on the CEO of the Year Advisory CommitteeWEB,weblink Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year™,, and has served as both board member and chair of the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT).
She has served as a member of Canada's Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC),WEB,weblink Membership, Strategic Policy Sector,, the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee on the Public Service,WEB,weblink Prime Minister's Advisory Committee on the Public Service - Prime Minister Harper establishes Advisory Committee on the Public Service: News Release - Clerk of the Privy Council, Clerk of the Privy Council, the Conference Board of CanadaWEB,weblink Board of Directors,, and the Public Policy Forum.From 2010 to 2012, she attended the World Economic Forum in Davos and has participated as either a speaker or a moderator.


In July 2009, the University of Alberta purchased Samarasekera's private residence for $930,000, representing approximately $180,000 profit for Samarasekera, and the home was renovated by the University.WEB,weblink U of A buys president's house for $930,000, Edmonton, University administration was criticized by some for the initiative, given budget shortfalls at the time. Brian Heidecker, chair of the University of Alberta's Board of Governors, said the purchase gave the university a strategic advantage, noting that the residence would serve as a strong inducement when recruiting future presidents. Samarasekera continues to live at the home and pays rent based on fair market value.In an interview with the Edmonton Journal on October 21, 2009,WEB,weblink The male minority, The Globe and Mail, Samarasekera raised her concerns regarding the fact that 58% of university undergraduates in Canada were female. She commented, "I'm going to be an advocate for young white men, because I can be. No one is going to question me when I say we have a problem", and "We'll wake up in 20 years and we will not have the benefit of enough male talent at the heads of companies and elsewhere." A group of students responded by putting up posters satirizing her comments.WEB,weblink Alberta students protest 'femimenace', Canoe inc.,, Campus Security took down the posters within 24 hours and warned the students responsible of possible disciplinary action."WEB,weblink Office of the President,, Samaraskera responded by noting that she appreciated satire as a form of freedom of speech, but hoped that such debate be held in a cordial and respectable manner.In the wake of deep government cuts to the cuts to the Alberta post-secondary sector in 2013, debate ensued on and off campus as to how the University should respond.NEWS
, Deeper cuts still to come at U of A; Larger classes, fewer programs, layoffs loom in budget crunch
, Sheila
, Pratt
,weblink" title="">weblink
, yes
, September 16, 2013
, Edmonton Journal
, August 24, 2013
, A1
, September 15, 2013
, Samarasekara undertook to limit her international travel. However, when personally invited by Alberta Premier Alison Redford, she traveled to China in September 2013 at a cost of $13,800. Responding to criticism, Samarasekara stated "people will find reasons to criticize me whichever way I do it."WEB,weblink University of Alberta president speaks about $13,800 China trip, Metro,




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