MacDonald Dettwiler Founder Named UNBC Chancellor

VANCOUVER, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - A leading international figure in space science, technology, and renewable energy will be the University of Northern British Columbia's fifth Chancellor.

John S. MacDonald was born and raised in Prince Rupert and went on to establish one of Canada's most successful companies. In 1969, he co-founded MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, which he headed until his retirement in 1998, first as President and CEO and then as Chairman of the Board. The company gained an international reputation as a pioneer and leader in using satellites to provide high-resolution images of the earth. Since establishing Canada's position as a world leader in space science and technology, Dr. MacDonald has turned his attention to solar energy. He is currently the Chairman and CEO of Day4 Energy Inc., a supplier of a new generation of photovoltaic modules and system solutions that promise superior results in converting the sun's rays to electricity.

"It's an honour for UNBC to have a global leader and one of the great minds of the BC technology industry join past chancellors who all have been passionate advocates for this university," says UNBC President George Iwama. "John MacDonald is a northerner, entrepreneur, educator, researcher, and visionary who will provide incredible guidance to me and to UNBC as we grow and fully realize our potential as Canada's Green University."

UNBC is based in Prince George and has 4300 students per year. The University opened in 1994.

"One of the things I discovered during my attempt at retirement is the importance of renewable energy and the special opportunity BC has to be a global leader in this field," says Dr. MacDonald. "Renewable energy has the potential to define the 21st Century the way the automobile defined the last century. If that ends up happening, an institution like UNBC has the potential to help the North play a major role in developing new forms of renewable energy technology. This university can produce and attract the brainpower necessary to move northern BC into the mainstream of a new 21st century industry. UNBC is changing the northern region and I'm especially looking forward to visiting places like my old hometown and presenting degrees to people who will make important contributions to their community and our country."

Dr. MacDonald has a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a member of the faculty at both UBC and MIT before entering the business world. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

He follows Iona V. Campagnolo, K. George Pedersen, Peter J.G. Bentley, and Alex C. Michalos as Chancellors of UNBC. He will be officially installed during the Convocation ceremony on May 28, 2010. The Chancellor is the ceremonial head of the University and a primary duty is granting degrees at annual Convocation ceremonies.

See for a high-resolution photo of Dr. MacDonald.


For further information: For further information: Rob van Adrichem, Vice-President External Relations, UNBC, (250) 960-5622 or; Agnieszka Pozniak, Marketing Manager, Day4 Energy Inc., (604) 297-0444 or

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