VIU Scenery


VIU Chancellor, Louise Mandell

Louise Mandell, Q.C.

Louise Mandell Q.C., one of Canada’s foremost Aboriginal rights lawyers and a tireless advocate for Canada’s First Nations, was named the second chancellor of Vancouver Island University (VIU) on October 24, 2014.

Mandell is recognized for her exceptional and forward-thinking work in advancing Aboriginal and Treaty rights. She is one of the founders of the nationally recognized and respected law firm Mandell Pinder, established in 1983 specifically to support Canada’s Indigenous people to achieve recognition and implementation of their constitutional rights. Passionate about education, Mandell uses her skills as a writer and as a public speaker at workshops and forums to pass on her knowledge and expertise.

“We are delighted Louise has accepted this important role at VIU. I know she will be a dynamic ambassador for the University,” says Allan Wiekenkamp, Chair, Board of Governors.

“Throughout her career Louise has demonstrated diligence, energy and creativity, and has advanced causes using a collaborative, team approach. This positions her well as a role model who will inspire and invigorate our community,” says Dr. Ralph Nilson, President and Vice-Chancellor. “Louise has used law as an agent for positive change. VIU uses education in the same way. Louise recognizes the important role education plays in the development of people and communities and is seen by many as an important mentor. Her values and strength of character align with VIU’s desire to foster student success, strong community engagement and international collaboration. I know her breadth of knowledge and skills will be welcomed by  VIU and the communities we serve.”

Mandell has been recognized for her work with a number of designations and awards. In 1997 she was appointed Queen’s Counsel; in 2001 she was awarded the Georges Goyer Q.C. Memorial Award for exceptional contribution to the development of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights jurisprudence across the country. In June 2012 Mandell received an Honourary Doctor of Laws from Simon Fraser University.

Today Mandell is partner emeritus at Mandell Pinder, still connected but no longer involved in the day-to-day practice of law. This has created space for her to focus her considerable skills and expertise in other areas.

"It is such an honour and privilege to serve as second chancellor, and to walk in the footsteps of the first chancellor, Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo,” says Mandell. “I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this great University which has inspired enrollment of a large number of Indigenous students, and taken leadership in promoting peace and reconciliation through dialogue, scholarship and innovative partnerships.”

Mandell’s three-year term as chancellor begins immediately; she will be installed during VIU’s January 2015 convocation ceremonies.

Role of the Chancellor

Serving in a volunteer capacity, the chancellor acts as an ambassador for and a champion of the University. The chancellor is the titular head of the university, presiding over convocation ceremonies, conferring degrees and providing advice to the president. The chancellor is a member of the Board of Governors and the Senate.

Record of Chancellors

Oct. 24, 2014 to current  -  Louise Mandell

Sept. 1, 2008 to Sept. 1, 2014  -  Shawn Atleo