SUDBURY -- Algoma University has appointed Mario Turco to a four-year term as chancellor beginning Sept. 1, the school announced in a news release Wednesday.

“Mario is a community champion who truly understands the importance of education both to the individual and community,” Dr. David Nanang, former chair of the university’s board of governors and the chancellor search committee, said in the release.

“He will be an excellent chancellor for Algoma University, particularly in this period of program and enrolment growth where we will welcome increasing numbers of students and employees locally, provincially, nationally and from across the world.”

Born in Italy, and immigrating to Canada as a young child, he had a 42-year career in education, including nine years as director of education for the Algoma District School Board. "Turco has become a passionate advocate for student success, equity and public education," the university said.

"Mario is highly regarded and respected for his experience, his interpersonal skills, his knowledge, and strategic thinking. He has worked extensively with government, school boards, and organizations across the province and country."

Since retirement, Turco has been active in Sault Ste. Marie. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Sault Area Hospital as first vice-chair as well as chair of the education committee and chair of the recruitment and Selection committee.

“I am honoured and pleased to be chosen as chancellor of Algoma University,” Turco said. “Working in education has been my life calling. I have been fortunate to be associated with students, educators, and other stakeholders from the elementary, to the university level advocating the importance of education to the individual and to society in general."

"Algoma University has exemplary leadership, faculty, and staff," Turco continued. "I am impressed with their great work, their many accomplishments and ambitious direction for the future.

"I look forward to working with all members of the university and its partners to advance its vision and mission to provide first-class education while at the same time cultivating cross-cultural learning through partnerships with Indigenous communities, organizations and groups. I thank the Algoma University Board of Governors, the selection committee, and my nominators for their confidence and support in my appointment.”

Algoma University’s chancellor serves as the ceremonial head of the institution and confers all degrees. An adviser and supporter to the president, the chancellor is a public proponent of the goals and objectives of the university and is an active participant in activities and the university community. It is a voluntary, unpaid position.

Turco succeeds Shirley Horn who served in the role since 2015. “Our university community is excited to have Mario Turco appointed to the role of chancellor,” said Asima Vezina, president and vice-chancellor. “His skill set will be an important asset as we move forward with our Special Mission, new programming, an aggressive capital plan and targeted enrolment growth on all three campuses.

"He is a wonderful choice to help the university continue the tremendous work done by Chancellor Horn to raise the profile of Algoma University within the communities we serve.”