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Darpan's 10

Dr. George Melville, Chancellor of Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Petrina D'Souza Darpan, 12 May, 2015
    Dr. George Melville, the new chancellor of Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), hopes to grow and develop KPU’s profile and reputation through his new role. Dr. Melville’s connection to KPU goes back over 25 years, and includes roles such as a KPU alumni, a KPU parent, a KPU board member, an honorary KPU degree recipient, and now as chancellor. He is also the owner and chairman of Boston Pizza International – a leading casual dining brand in Canada, and has continuously been committed to giving back to society through his philanthropic efforts.
    Can you tell us about yourself?
    I’m the chairman and owner of Boston Pizza International, a Chartered Professional Accountant by trade, and the second chancellor of Kwantlen Polytechnic University. I believe very strongly in giving back to the community, and have had the opportunity to do so through the Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects, numerous volunteer boards at KPU, as a director of the Fraser Institute, and through work with various volunteer boards.
    As the new chancellor of KPU, how do you feel receiving this honour?
    I was very honoured and very humbled when I was asked to be the chancellor of Kwantlen Polytechnic University. It has been my university in many ways: it’s my alma mater, it’s the post-secondary institution my kids attended, and it’s been a way to contribute to community. I believe very strongly in the importance of community and education, and I’m excited for the opportunity to support both as chancellor. 
    What are your roles and duties as chancellor?
    What excites me most about this role is that I get to do a little bit of everything. Formally, it’s my responsibility to oversee KPU’s fall and spring convocation ceremonies. I also hold a place on the university’s Board of Governors and the University Senate. Apart from that, I get to be a spokesperson for the wonderful things KPU is doing in the community. I can foster partnerships, I can help build KPU’s reputation, and I can even sit in on a class or two if I wanted. To a large extent, the chancellorship is what I want to make of it, and I’d like to use this opportunity to raise KPU’s profile as Canada’s leading polytechnic university.
    It’s been some months since you took up the position in October 2014, how has your experience been so far?
    It’s been a whirlwind. I was installed in October, and my first task was to preside over three fall convocation ceremonies that same week, and I’ll do the same this May with seven ceremonies. I’ve spent part of the last six months meeting with key KPU representatives and learning more about what KPU is doing and where it’s going.  
    What plans do you have in mind with regards to the growth and development of KPU?
    One of my main goals is to grow and develop KPU’s profile and reputation. I believe it’s a great university, and I’m very proud that it’s my university. I’d like to share that KPU has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. I had the opportunity to help transition the university from a community college to a full degree-granting university in my role on the KPU Board of Governors. As chancellor, I see myself as being here to assist KPU as it expands to meet the needs of its communities and its region, in whatever way that may be.
    Your connection with KPU goes back to over 25 years. Please share your experience with the university.
    KPU is really my university in almost every way possible. I’ve served on the university’s Board of Governors for six years, and helped KPU transition from a community college to a university as chairperson of the board’s audit committee. My wife and I are donors, and we’re proud parents of two former KPU students. I myself became a proud alumnus when I received an honorary degree – my first university degree – from KPU in 2013. I have a lot of fond memories of KPU, and being installed as chancellor is definitely one of them.
    How do you view the growth and popularity of the university at present?
    When you think about how Canada’s leading polytechnic university was only founded some 30 years ago, you realize how far the university has come in a relatively short period of time. I think that with every passing year, with hundreds of qualified and capable KPU graduates entering the workforce and new programs that tackle needs in our communities, KPU’s reputation grows stronger. There is still work to be done, and it’s my goal to help raise KPU’s popularity and profile. The university is doing incredible work – we need to make that known.
    As the owner and chairman of Boston Pizza International, how do you describe the success and journey of the franchise?
    A lot of my success has come from surrounding myself with the right people and the right team. This of course includes my business partner Jim Treliving, who was a three-restaurant franchisee when I made the decision to move out of public practice and into business. We’re forty years into our business partnership now, with over 400 Boston Pizza locations in North America, and investments that include Mr. Lube, Kitchen Partners Ltd. and brand.LIVE. 
    You have been committed to giving back to KPU’s communities, region and country through your philanthropic efforts. How has your charitable work helped you be the person that you are?
    I think that it’s very important that when you take on a role like the chancellorship, or a leadership role in business, that you are able to feel like the world is going to be a better place because of what you’re doing. Community and people are everything, and I am where I am today to a large extent because of the people I’ve been fortunate to have in my life. 
    The work we do with the Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects is built around the idea of supporting people and contributing to society. My business, any business, any institution, wouldn’t go very far if it didn’t have people at the heart of it.
    What is the one thing you wish to do for KPU as chancellor before you complete your term?
    What I want to do, and feel I can do, is help elevate the pride factor students and graduates feel for KPU. I’m extremely proud to be involved with Kwantlen, and I think there are countless reasons for others to be as well. I’d like to be able to help raise the profile and reputation of KPU.

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