REGINA -- The University of Regina has named Jeff Keshen as the institution’s eighth president and vice-chancellor.

Keshen, who is currently the vice-president of the Grenfell Campus at Memorial University in Newfoundland, will start in Regina on July 1, 2021.

Keshen also has experience working as an instructor, researcher and senior administrator at Mount Royal University, the University of Ottawa and the University of Calgary.

“Essentially, we were looking for someone with superpowers. And we found him,” said Roger Brandvold, chair of the University of Regina’s Board of Governors. “Dr. Jeff Keshen is an established academic, and accomplished leader in Canadian Post-secondary education.”

During Monday’s virtual announcement, Keshen outlined numerous plans he has for the U of R, including improving access to mental health services for students, and using researching to connect to profit, non-profit and government agencies to improve the university’s reputation.

“I will always do my very best to live up to the trust that you’ve all placed on me, to serve the University of Regina community - including its federated colleges - with integrity, transparency, respect and collegiality,” Keshen said.

Keshen also emphasized the importance of supporting Indigenous students and reconciliation, something echoed by U of R Alumni, and chief of Cowessess First Nation, Cadmus Delorme.

“We all inherited such an interesting situation. And it’s going to take a university and alumni to get back to a place of true partnerships,” Delorme said.

However, according to U of R Board of Governors vice-chair, Marlene Smadu, there is one questionable aspect Keshen’s past. Smadu revealed one of Keshen’s most prized possessions is an autographed Toronto Argonaut’s helmet.

“So, I know that one of the first things on your agenda when you arrive on July 1st, will be several people accompanying you to the Rider store to get the appropriate football gear,” she said to Keshen.

Thomas Chase, who has been the university’s interim president and vice-chancellor since former president Vianne Timmons left the university in 2019, will continue the role until June 30, 2021.