Quest University Canada has announced a new president and vice-chancellor elect, Peter Englert.
Englert, an American citizen who was born and educated in Germany, has worked as a university scholar, teacher and research scientist in Germany, New Zealand and the U.S., according to an announcement on his appointment sent out Tuesday. He has also taught in Italy, Austria, China, and Japan and served as chancellor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa from 2002 to 2005.
Englert told The Squamish Chief on Tuesday that he has visited Quest and Squamish a few times and is looking forward to starting his new life and position in the district this summer.
“I am very excited to be chosen the fourth president of Quest University,” Englert told The Chief from his current home in Hawaii. “I think it is one of the most interesting and most unique universities that I know of. It is unique in many aspects. It has an outstanding faculty. It has a very interesting student body, it has an inventive and supportive staff in a community that I felt is supportive for their university.”
In terms of his goals for the position, Englert said he first wants to get to know the school better before he sets too many goals, but he said he envisions the ideals of Quest spreading globally.
“I think Quest is in good shape to move forward to make its mark within British Columbia’s higher education, Canada’s higher education and beyond. And then on the American continent and then internationally and from that respect I can certainty immediately assist.”
Englert will succeed David Helfand, who is stepping down from his position after seven years.
“Building Quest has been by far the most rewarding effort of my career and I am delighted to be leaving the university in such capable hands,” said Helfand.
Helfand, an astronomer, also referenced Englert’s participation in NASA’s Mars Observer and Mars Odyssey Missions. “In addition to our mutual affinity for science and space, Peter shares my commitment to innovative, student-centred education.“
Opened in 2007, Quest was the brainchild of former UBC president David Strangway, who served as the school’s first president. Thomas Wood replaced Strangway as president, but less than a year later, Wood was replaced by interim president, Dean Duperron. David Helfand, a visiting tutor at Quest at the time took over in 2008.
Englert said he will be coming to Squamish next week for a formal introduction to faculty, administration and students at Quest. He also plans to take a ride on the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, he said.
Englert, who has a doctorate and studied at University of Cologne in Germany, will assume his new role starting August 1.