Ninth U of S President Announced

Ilene Busch-Vishniac, currently provost and vice-president academic at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. and a renowned researcher in the areas of acoustic noise control and engineering education, has been named the ninth president of the University of Saskatchewan.
Busch-Vishniac was introduced at an event Dec. 19 in Convocation Hall by Nancy Hopkins, chair of the U of S Board of Governors and the presidential search committee. She takes up her new position July 1, 2012, replacing Peter MacKinnon who will step down after 13 years as president.
“It is clear that the University of Saskatchewan has both the capacity and the drive to contribute on the national stage,” said Busch-Vishniac describing what attracted her to the position. “I look forward to continuing the momentum created by the extraordinary work of President MacKinnon as we foster innovations in teaching and learning, grow research programs that will drive the economy of the province in the future, distinguish ourselves through innovative approaches to the issues of the Aboriginal communities, and define the role we wish to play locally, provincially, nationally and internationally.”
Describing two qualities of the U of S that she found compelling, Busch-Vishniac mentioned the university’s connections to the public sector, both the city of Saskatoon and the province of Saskatchewan, as well as its “strong and growing interaction with Aboriginal communities. My pledge,” she said, “is to be a trustworthy partner for First Nations and Métis communities” with the aim of achieving the mutual goals of cultural preservation, respect and accomplishment.
Prior to joining McMaster University, Busch-Vishniac served as dean of engineering at Johns Hopkins University and associate chair of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas (Austin). A graduate of the University of Rochester, Busch-Vishniac earned her Master of Science and PhD in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
At McMaster University, Busch-Vishniac has increased student enrolment at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, strengthened ties with Aboriginal communities, particularly with the Six Nations in Ontario, expanded the university’s full-time faculty complement, and led both the development of an activity-based budget system and a systems renewal. She has also served as chair of the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents, and led the creation of a new quality assurance process for Ontario universities.
As dean of engineering at Johns Hopkins University, she raised millions of dollars for the school and oversaw the construction of four new buildings on that campus. In 2008, Johns Hopkins University created the Ilene Busch-Vishniac Lecture to honour her work on issues of diversity in engineering.
Commenting on her career progression, she said “I marvel that a one-time music student from Philadelphia has somehow managed to navigate a winding path, ending up here as the president of the University of Saskatchewan.” She added she is looking forward to meeting all members of the university community and building relationships with U of S partners.
In introducing the president designate, Hopkins said Busch-Vishniac’s outstanding academic background combined with her extensive leadership experience and track record in establishing strong, mutually beneficial partnerships made her an ideal candidate for the presidency. “The University of Saskatchewan has made tremendous progress under President Peter MacKinnon’s leadership,” she said. “We are confident that Ilene Busch-Vishniac will continue to build on this momentum, strengthening the University of Saskatchewan even further as we pursue our ambition to become one of the most distinguished universities in Canada and the world.”
Hopkins said the Board of Governors was assisted in selecting the next president by a search committee with broad representation from across campus, as well as by the public input the search committee received prior to undertaking the search. The search committee included board members Susan Milburn and David Sutherland as well as Chancellor Vera Pezer, University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union President Scott Hitchings, Graduate Students Association President Xue Yao, Deans David Hill and Peter Stoicheff, and faculty members Michel Desautels, Ingrid Pickering, Keith Walker and Winona Wheeler.
Busch-Vishniac is married to Ethan Vishniac, currently a professor of physics and astronomy at McMaster and editor of The Astrophysical Journal.
Story and photo from On Campus News

Homecoming for Actor, U of S Alumnus

You could almost consider it a fairy tale story. A prairie boy goes to university, stumbles into acting, becomes the youngest actor ever to play Macbeth at Stratford, plays Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway, finds success on the big screen and becomes a lead actor in a hit cable television series.
Except, bikers don’t really fit into your typical fairy tale.
Kim Coates (BA’81) recently finished filming the fourth season of the hit FX series Sons of Anarchy (SOA), on which he plays Tig, a member of the biker gang the show is named after. Now he is back home in Saskatoon filming a movie, Ferocious. “I come home as much as I can. My mom just loves it when I come home, and I love being home actually shooting a movie here. It’s fantastic!” says Coates during an on-location interview.
Coates is an interesting mix of Hollywood and Saskatchewan—and he seems to naturally bridge the gap between the two cultures. He is as comfortable talking about The Bowl, the Hangar Building and Greystone Theatre as his is talking about working with the likes of Kevin Costner, Andy Garcia or Eva Longoria. He is obviously influenced by southern California, but it’s equally obvious that he has not forgotten his roots.
With over 50 films to his credit and appearances on several television series like CSI, Entourage and Prison Break, Coates is becoming a household name thanks in large part to SOA. “I certainly am getting recognized now. This whole foray into television has been great for me. I think cable is really where it’s at now—it’s more real, more gritty, and I think our show is like no other. I’m really happy on that show, and it allows me to come (to Saskatoon) and do movies in my off time.”
He jets off to do a celebrity bike show one weekend, then guest stars at Saskatoon Soaps the next (planned for December 9). There’s that Saskatchewan meets Hollywood again.
Family keeps Coates grounded too. Not only is he obviously pleased to come home to see his mom (his father passed away three years ago), he beams with pride when talking about his two daughters. Kyla graduated from UCLA summa cum laude—the highest academic honour. “She is just a brilliant brainiac, and she is well on her way to doing some amazing things in the world. She really will make a big difference.” Brenna, the younger of the two, is following in her father’s footsteps. She is studying at NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts. “She has way more talent than me at that age. She got offers from other colleges, but she always wanted to be in New York where her dad was.”
And what do his daughters think of his SOA biker persona? “Good bad-ass. They can’t believe their dad’s on that show.” Kyla would gather with about 70 UCLA students every week. “No matter what they were doing, they would stop everything for ‘Sons night.’” And Brenna “was too little to watch my stuff.” But now that she is older she “watches her pop and wants to be an actor like me.”
Coates calls Ferocious “a dark little film” and is hopeful it will be a “film favourite, a festival darling.” This is the second time Coates is working with fellow U of S alumnus Anand Ramayya (BComm’98), founder of Karma Films, a Saskatoon-based, award winning production studio. After joking that he “can’t stand him,” Coates, in typical prairie fashion, sings Ramayya’s praises, “Every time Anand calls me I take his call right away. I love him and am really proud of him being a filmmaker from Saskatoon, doing big movies right in the city.”
There is no sign of things slowing down for Coates. SOA was picked-up by FX for its fifth season, he hopes to return to Saskatoon in February to film another movie, and he is branching-out into other aspects of the movie business. “The only thing I haven’t done so far is direct. I love producing and I’ll produce more. Directing is coming up. Sons of Anarchy is such a ‘men-of-mayhem’ show there’s no way that could be my directorial debut; it’s way too difficult.”
Bringing things full-circle, Coates states his intention to return to the stage, “I say no to theatre all the time. I’m going to stop saying no now. I promised Brenna that I’d go back to Broadway when she was in college, so I think I’d better get back to Broadway.”

Continue reading