Backgrounder: Next president of UVic announced today

Kevin Hall smiles at the camera


On Nov. 1, 2020, Kevin Hall will assume office as the eighth president and vice-chancellor in the University of Victoria’s 57-year history.

UVic’s next president and vice-chancellor

Throughout his career as a senior administrator working for three world-class institutions, Hall has served at many levels and functions at a university—from faculty member, research centre director and department chair to his current role as vice-president and senior deputy vice-chancellor of global engagement and partnerships at the University of Newcastle (UON) in New South Wales, Australia.

A civil engineer whose research and industry leadership have already made a global impact, Hall focuses his academic interests on water quality modelling, environmental monitoring and pathogen detection systems, and water and health in marginalized communities.

Hall is an avid arts enthusiast and has had a lifelong commitment to fitness. He has been personally active as a community member including previously here in Canada on the boards of the Guelph Art Gallery and Guelph Jazz Festival, the Kingston Triathlon Club and other community organizations, and he competed for Canada as an age-grouper at a number of World Triathlon Championships.

A commitment to UVic’s values

Hall has been actively involved in design and implementation of Indigenous and gender programs at all three universities where he has been a senior leader—and has been involved in international and national development including significant activities in Africa, India and South America. Working with support from the Canadian International Development Agency and the International Development Research Centre, Hall and his team have delivered low-cost point-of-use water treatment technologies into marginalized urban communities across southeast Asia.

He spearheaded entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives at UON, leading the establishment of the Integrated Innovation Network, a series of five innovation incubators. This regional network allows community, companies and subject matter experts to work closely with researchers and students to develop opportunities for social change and economic growth.

Hall has a deep commitment to environmental sustainability and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). He is currently the chair of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research located at UON.  He founded the Centre for Water and the Environment at Queen’s University, led the Sustainability Task Force at the University of Guelph and initiated the SDG audit and compliance between the City of Newcastle and UON. Under the 2025 UON Sustainable Vision, the university became the first university in Australia to be powered by 100% renewable energy.

Hall’s career has also been defined by his leadership in issues of equity, diversity and inclusion, most recently leading the team that initiated the successful Research Advantage Program at UON, which includes a large number of fellowships and award programs for women in research. 

Firsthand experience of the transformative power of education

As the first in his family to attend university, Hall has experienced education’s transformative power firsthand and is resolutely committed to furthering equitable access to higher education and research.

Hall’s family is from the United Kingdom, where his father was a welder in a factory in Sussex, England and who, together with Hall’s mother, moved their family of four children—all of whom now have university degrees—as immigrants to Canada in 1964. Hall and his family grew up in regional Ontario (Peterborough). One of Hall’s proudest moments was watching his mother receive a BA from Trent University shortly after her 66th birthday.

Hall received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science at Queen's University and completed his PhD in Civil Engineering at the University of New South Wales.

Hall has led initiatives that have built a student experience that prioritize activities that help develop life-ready graduates who are community-minded, resilient and ready for work.

Innovative impact within a non-traditional approach

Hall is a lifelong innovator, holds a number of international patents and has developed spinoff and start-up companies.

Throughout his career, he has focused on undertaking and translating research for industry. This has resulted in the wide application of his research rather than a more conventional approach to publishing his results for potential use. Hall has made direct, rapid and ongoing impact to his profession through the development of patented intellectual property, successful start-ups, the creation of significant research platforms and the inclusion of his work in national and international engineering design manuals.

Over the past four years, he mentored and coached over 50 start-ups, both university- and community-based; was a founding board member of the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship; assisted with a $500-million purchase of a UON pharma start-up by MERCK; and was a co-founder in three new start-ups in Australia and China.

Many of these initiatives were used as a catalyst to enhance student experience by providing work-integrated-learning and internship opportunities.

A lifelong commitment to post-secondary education and research 

Hall’s career-long commitment to excellence in higher education and research is reflected by numerous senior academic leadership roles in universities in Australia and Canada, including:

  • vice-president and senior deputy vice-chancellor (global engagement and partnerships) at UON;
  • senior deputy vice-chancellor (research and innovation) at UON;
  • vice-president for research and external partnerships at the University of Guelph;
  • head of civil engineering and executive director of the Centre for Water and the Environment at Queen's University;
  • Australian Research Council Advisory Council, appointed by the Commonwealth Minister of Education; and
  • Chair of the Operations Board of the World Technology University Network.

Hall was also a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada University Research Fellow at Queen’s University from 1987 to 1997.

Presidential Search Process

The appointment process leading to the recommendation of Hall for the next president of UVic was conducted in accordance with the university’s Procedures for the Search, Appointment and Re-appointment of the President and Vice-Chancellor (GV0300).

For the past year, a search committee made up of members of our campus community, including faculty, staff, students, alumni and senior leaders, was engaged in an extensive international search for the next president.

The committee’s work was guided by a set of criteria that aligns with the university’s strategic priorities and was informed by input from the campus and external communities.

The search process was temporarily delayed due to COVID-19, but the committee re-engaged in the later stages of its work using a virtual platform.

With multiple qualified candidates emerging, the committee worked thoughtfully, carefully and collaboratively to assess each candidate in light of the position requirements and candidate criteria before arriving at its recommendation.

After careful consideration of all information received over the course of the appointment process, the committee has recommended the appointment of Hall as the candidate who most closely meets the established criteria.


What members of the Presidential Appointment Committee have to say about the appointment of Dr. Kevin Hall as UVic’s next president:

“Dr. Kevin Hall will embrace the role of President of UVic with creativity, insight and energy. His values exactly align with those of the university and he has a profound and abiding commitment to the best higher education experience for all. Dr. Hall will build upon our strong foundation with drive and determination, confidence and ambition. I look forward to welcoming him to the University of Victoria.”

Chancellor Shelagh Rogers

“Professor Kevin Hall has a clear vision of the role universities must play in the development of today’s society and offers a vibrant capacity to execute that vision. Kevin’s working style advocates for and empowers students and the university community, and his sustainability-focused perspective paves our university’s way towards even bolder sustainability actions. His exceptional reputation for entrepreneurship and expertise in external engagement will introduce new opportunities for the UVic community to contribute to the further achievement of UVic’s vision: making a better future for people and the planet.”

Saeed Rezvani, MSc Student
Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering
2019–2020 GSS Director of Student Affairs

“The current global pandemic has, among other things, heightened our awareness of social and economic inequalities across and within societies, and the need for global cooperation. UVic would benefit from Dr. Kevin Hall’s knowledge and experience of global higher education and emerging trends in the sector as we navigate this new world. His interest in and dedication to access to education as a means of improving individuals’ life chances align with UVic’s commitment to promoting social justice nationally and internationally.”

Elizabeth Adjin-Tettey, Professor
Faculty of Law

“One of Dr. Kevin Hall’s many strengths is his collaborative approach to academic leadership.  His vision for UVic is a comprehensive and inclusive one; his goals are both local and global; and his belief in the role of the academy in making the world a better place for all is deep and enduring.  He values relationships and his approach has yielded an impressive track record of accomplishments that address societal needs and advance institutional priorities. I look forward to working with him.”

Valerie Kuehne, Provost & Vice-President Academic

“Dr. Hall cultivated his innovative and bold leadership experience through a number of executive-level positions across Canada and globally, and he also brings a values-based approach built on a foundation of collegiality and respect. His significant track record of community engagement demonstrates his ability to build and maintain strong relationships, especially with Indigenous communities, and his research endeavours show his commitment to environmental and social sustainability. I am delighted to welcome Dr. Hall to the University of Victoria and look forward to working with him to advance the strategic goals of the university.”

Beverly Van Ruyven
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
Former chair, UVic Board of Governors

“In addition to his superb academic credentials, Dr. Hall has a very impressive record of leadership success at a number of excellent research-intensive universities. His vision of a flourishing university is one which pairs high standards of research achievement with a deep commitment to fostering progressive social change via meaningful community engagement both locally and internationally. His recognition that scholarship and creative activity in diverse disciplines merit celebration and support will help him showcase the full range of UVic’s accomplishments to the world and will complement our aspirations to accomplish even more.”

Colin MacLeod, Professor and Chair
Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities

“Professor Kevin Hall has an outstanding track-record as a university leader, a researcher, and a teacher. It was clear his interests and passion are in close alignment with UVic’s values and priorities. He has an extensive track record in the areas of internationalization, sustainability and climate, Indigenous programs and engagement, and equity, diversity and inclusion. I am particularly impressed with his international program development for persons in low-income and developing countries. Given his outstanding experience and entrepreneurial approach, and his deep understanding of the challenges facing higher education, I am very excited for him to lead UVic as its next president.”

Nick Dechev, Associate Professor and Acting Chair
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

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Keywords: president, administrative, leadership

People: Kevin Hall, Jamie Cassels

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