A Nelson resident has been named the new president and CEO of Selkirk College.
Angus Graeme, who has been filling the post on an interim basis since December, officially assumed the permanent position on Friday.
“It’s a great honour to be chosen for this role, because I love what Selkirk does,” he says. “I’ve had such a wonderful time being associated with what I consider to be one of the most successful community colleges in the province.”
Graeme began as an instructor in the forestry program at Selkirk almost 20 years ago, and was later a department head, school chair, dean, and most recently vice-president, academic and student development.
He says he believes rural community colleges like Selkirk are vital to B.C.
“We have a real accessible post-secondary experience. We’ve been able to maintain a broad array of programs in six communities and built up some specialties like peace studies, GIS, and the arts in Nelson, both digital and traditional.”
Graeme says Selkirk plays a key role not just in educating students and preparing them for the workforce, but in advocating for “the rural experience.”
“That’s everything from keeping and attracting young people and returning workers to helping economies transition,” he says.
“We’re still a resource-based economy, but we also have some growth areas and workforce needs and real opportunities for business.”
He says the college is one of the few regional entities able to help find ways to generate new industry and improve and diversify the local economy, pointing to Selkirk’s rural innovation chair and the recently formed Columbia Basin rural development institute.
Graeme’s appointment comes “after many months of diligent work by a search committee, the board of governors” and a headhunting firm, according to board chair Stefan Lehmann.
Graeme, who holds a Masters of Arts in leadership from Royal Roads University, was chosen from over 100 candidates.
Originally from Vancouver Island, he moved to Nelson in 1990 to work as a professional forester. He and wife Alison have three children, including a son who plans to enroll at Selkirk this fall.
Graeme has a five-year contract and will work primarily out of Castlegar, although he says he does spend time in Nelson and would like to visit the satellite campuses more often.
He replaces Marilyn Luscombe, who spent ten years as Selkirk’s president before accepting a position at New Brunswick Community College.