Over the din outside the president’s office, the new chancellor of Royal Roads University takes a moment to disrobe from a set of colourful graduation robes.
“I have always believed you only learn about an organization by walking through that organization,” Peter Robinson said, noting as an alumni, campus strolls will be nothing new to him.
His first official job as chancellor was to hand out 1,016 degrees to the fall graduates. And while the role of chancellor won’t have him working face-to-face with students often, the whole campus is set to benefit from his presence.
Former chief executive officer of BC Housing and more recently Mountain Equipment Co-op, Robinson’s accolades centre around social change and environmentalism. The direction of RRU’s board falls in line with principles he has lived by for decades, he said.
The university is poised to address today’s issues — such as climate change and conflict management — with its progressive course offerings, Robinson said, adding his role is more one of advising than administrating change.
The job as chancellor is not a full-time commitment, leaving Robinson plenty of hours to devote to his other new appointment. As of January 2008, Robinson will begin his work as CEO of the David Suzuki Foundation.
There is no shortage of RRU graduates he has run across in his work, a fact that is sure to continue as the school evolves. And while the gated heritage site may seem far removed from the community, it remains their school, he said.
“This is an amazing opportunity for the community to have in their midst.”
As third chancellor at RRU, Robinson succeeds Victoria businessman Bob Skene in the position, who served from 2003 to 2007.