Chancellor Emeritus and Special Advisor to the Provost, University of Alberta

Dr. Eric Newell is a retired Alberta business executive with a stellar history of corporate leadership and achievement, as well as an exemplary record of service to industry and community. He is perhaps best known for his tenure at Syncrude Canada Ltd. where he served for 14 years as CEO (1989-2003) and for 9 years as Chairman (1994-2003). He also served as President from 1989 to 1997. Under his leadership, Syncrude, which is the world’s largest producer of crude oil from oil sand, became a key player in the western Canadian economy, an increasingly significant source of energy supply for the entire nation, and a model of a reliably operated, environmentally efficient corporation.

Dr. Newell plays an active role promoting and creating opportunities for the wider community and is well known for his successful and ongoing efforts to strengthen partnerships between education and business, and for championing corporate social responsibility. Eric’s commitment to consensus building and finding cooperative solutions has earned him the respect and trust of the Aboriginal community, the energy industry, and government and community leaders. Eric has worked extensively to encourage Alberta businesses to work in partnership with post-secondary institutions to develop scholarships and strengthen the quality of programs and experiences available to all Alberta students. His long-standing association with the University of Alberta includes service as chair of the Board of Governors (1996-2002), before becoming the 18th Chancellor of the University (2004-2008). 

He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence, and has had Honorary Doctorates conferred on him by the University of Lethbridge (2005), University of British Columbia (2003), University of Alberta (2002), and Athabasca University (1995). He has also been honoured by many other organizations whose interests lie in business leadership, education, youth development, and public policy. The Energy Council of Canada named him the 2003 Energy Person of the Year and he was inducted into the Canadian Petroleum Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2012, he was recognized by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business with the Award for Excellence in Aboriginal Relations for his enduring commitment to the prosperity of Aboriginal communities