Dr. Vianne Timmons – Doctor of Humanities (’22)


Dr. Vianne Timmons, OC, is the President and Vice-Chancellor of Memorial University of Newfoundland, assuming the role in April 2020. She was formerly President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina from 2008 to 2019. In March 2019, she was appointed as a Board Member of VIA Rail Canada by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Dr. Timmons is a noted researcher, author, and lecturer in educational inclusion. Prior to her appointment at the University of Regina, she served as a professor and Vice-President at the University of Prince Edward Island.

Dr. Timmons grew up in Labrador City as one of six children and moved to Nova Scotia during high school. She received her Bachelor of Arts in 1979 from Mount Allison University with a combined major in psychology and English. She obtained her Bachelor of Education in special education in 1980 from Acadia University. In 1983, she completed her Master of Education (special education) at Gonzaga University, and obtained her PhD in educational psychology in 1993 from the University of Calgary.

A teacher by training, she maintains a wide-ranging research program emphasizing family literacy and inclusive education. Her credits include nine books, more than a dozen book chapters, approximately 40 peer-reviewed articles, 30-plus funded research projects (as principal or co-investigator), and more than 200 invited lectures.

Her many awards include Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women (WXN), a National Inclusive Education Award, a Humanitarian Award (Red Cross), a Community Literacy Award (Canada Post), and the first Gender and Leadership in Higher Education Award (EMULIES). In 2019, she received the Indspire Award for Education. In 2017, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for her lifetime contributions to inclusive education, family literacy, Indigenous post-secondary education, and women’s leadership.

An active volunteer, Dr. Timmons has served various post-secondary and other organizations, including as: president, International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities; chair, Universities Canada's Standing Committee on International Relations; and member, Canada Foundation for Innovation.

“I was the first Dean of Education at the University of Prince Edward Island,” Dr. Timmons says. “I was the first female university president in Saskatchewan, and now I'm the first female president of a university in Newfoundland. I'm looking forward to the day when women can say, 'I'm the fifth and sixth.'"

Dr. Timmons and her husband, Stuart Mason, live in St. John’s, NL. They have four children and four grandchildren.