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New French-language university located in Toronto appoints new president

Pierre Ouellette is the former president of Université de Hearst
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Pierre Ouellette (Supplied)

Université de l’Ontario français (UOF) announced June 23 that it has found a new president, Pierre Ouellette, who will begin his role on July 7. 

While preparations for the start of the new school year are well underway, a release from UOF stated Ouellette will be there to support the UOF team and build on his nearly 25 years of experience, including 15 years in the higher education sector. 

As president of the Université de Hearst from 2011 to 2016, he is said to have “transformed the institution’s offerings,” leading to a significant increase in student recruitment. He then joined Radio-Canada where he was Director of Radio-Canada Ontario until his appointment to head UOF.

The Université de l’Ontario français is located in Toronto and is the province’s first public French-language only university. 

Ouellette is taking over from interim presidents Denis Berthiaume and Édith Dumont, who were filling the role after the Feb. 1 resignation of André Roy. 

“I have truly fallen in love with the level of innovation at the Université de l’Ontario français,” said Ouellette, in the release. “It is a privilege for me to use my experience and expertise within this unique institution, which relies on a new approach and stands out in the Francophone and Canadian university environment.” 

The UOF will be opening its doors to students for the first time in September of this year. 

This is as efforts are underway to create a Francophone university in Sudbury. 

The board of regents from the former University of Sudbury came together in late April as the Coalition nord-ont. pour une université de langue française, an ad hoc committee formed after Laurentian University severed the University of Sudbury’s federation agreement.  

Made up of several prominent Francophone academics, community leaders and stakeholders, the coalition recently called for the government of Ontario to restore French-language programs, “as they were before April 12” (before Laurentian cut its programming, including French-language programs, as part of its insolvency restructuring) so that they can open in time for the September start of the 2021 academic year. 

The coalition also wants Laurentian to transfer all of its remaining Francophone programs to the new university operating out of the University of Sudbury, a request LU has rebuffed, saying it plans to continue to offer French-language programming.