Brandon University welcomes renewal of Chancellor Mary Jane McCallum

Head and shoulders formal portrait of a woman with glasses and medium-length hair.
Brandon University Chancellor Mary Jane McCallum

The Brandon University Senate has renewed Chancellor Mary Jane McCallum for a second term.

“I am delighted that Chancellor McCallum has agreed to continue her service with Brandon University,” said BU President Dr. David Docherty. “Her thoughtful guidance, her care, and her keen insight have been invaluable to us all. She inspires us to be our very best.”

The Chancellor is the formal head of Brandon University and they are chosen for their ability to provide high-level vision, guidance and wisdom. They are a member of both the university’s governing bodies, the Board of Governors and the Senate, and they preside over each Convocation, where they bring greetings and advice to the graduating students as well as officially conferring the degrees. The Chancellor also serves as a general ambassador for the university, supporting and promoting BU’s mission and values.

“The past years of work with the students, the faculty, and everyone at Brandon University have been so energizing,” said Chancellor McCallum. “I am eager to continue with the wonderful journey we are on together here.”

Chancellor McCallum is the first Indigenous person to serve in the role for Brandon University, as well as BU’s first female Chancellor. She was initially appointed in May 2021.

Chancellor McCallum is of Cree heritage and is a citizen of the Barren Lands First Nation in Brochet, Manitoba. She attended the Guy Hill Residential School in The Pas for 11 years. She is an advocate for social justice who, over the course of her distinguished career, has provided dental care to First Nations communities across Manitoba.

She received a Dental Nursing Diploma at the Wascana Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences in 1977 and a Dental Therapy Diploma at the School of Dental Therapy in 1979, before earning a Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Manitoba in 1990.

From 1979 to 1997, she was involved in the dental field in various capacities, including as a dental therapist in northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba communities and as an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba running a dental clinic in Churchill and overseeing students completing their practicum. From 1996 to 2000, she worked on an interchange with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs as the Regional Dental Officer for the province.

From 1992 to 1996 and from 2003 to 2010, Dr. McCallum worked in her home community of Brochet, where she managed community health programs, including a children’s dental program, a diabetes program, and prenatal program, and volunteered for several committees, including a housing committee, a school committee, and an education committee. She also ran a monthly dinner and meeting with the Elders to discuss social issues affecting the community.

Dr. McCallum worked as an independent contractor for the federal First Nations and Inuit Health Branch providing services in northern Manitoba before returning to the University of Manitoba in April 2002 to lead the Aboriginal Dental Health Programs.

From 2004 until 2020, she continued to work to provide vital dental and health services before officially retiring from dentistry in April 2021. She remains a non-practicing member of the Manitoba Dental Association.

In addition to her professional endeavours, Chancellor McCallum leads workshops and presentations in which she shares her personal experience as a residential school survivor in an effort to raise awareness and understanding.

Chancellor McCallum and her husband have two daughters, and she also has a son.


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