By Rob South
In nature, the sparrow is known to be migratory; in the case of the University of Calgary’s Board of Governors, this is also true. Former Calgary MP and Tory Cabinet Minister Bobbie Sparrow is returning for a second stint on the BoG.
"I did serve on the board in the mid ’70s for three years," said Sparrow. "We were in a stage then when some of the cuts came down and that was a challenge. And then I think, obviously Murray Fraser went through the biggest change in our university with financial cuts."
However, Sparrow’s hiatus from the university was not that long. Over the years, she was a member of the Faculty of Management’s Advisory Board and the U of C Foundation–a group which manages gifts-in-kind given to the university.
Sparrow hopes her experience as an MP from 1984-1993 and Natural Resources Minister in ’93 will help the U of C.
"I just hope that I can bring a national as well as perhaps an international aspect [to the BoG]," said Sparrow. "And I think, with globalization, this is a trend, which of course is worldwide and is something which a lot of our students are most interested in because no longer do you have to go to Europe to work in Europe, you can do it from your home or from an office here in Calgary."
However, Sparrow sees some challenges ahead for the university, including finding long-term financial stability, improving accessibility and maintaining an excellent faculty.
"There’s many, many areas of concern and tough ones too."
However, some of Sparrow’s work as an MP is currently paying
dividends to the U of C and universities across the country. One example of this is her contribution to the creation of Centres of Excellence.
"It was the beginning of getting universities, the public and corporations to work together," said Sparrow. "To me it was a very stimulating start to recognizing various areas across Canada that had expertise in certain fields."
Sparrow is very excited about her return to the U of C and hopes to make a positive impact.
"I just think we are very fortunate to have such a fine university here in Calgary, and of course Calgary is a great city."
Sparrow’s first BoG meeting will be on Dec. 8.