Dr. Martha C. Piper, vice-president, Research and External Affairs, at the
University of Alberta, and a leading advocate for university research, has been
appointed 11th president of The University of British Columbia.
Dr. Piper succeeds Dr. David W. Strangway, who completes his second six-year
term on June 30, 1997. She will take up her new duties as president in July
The UBC Board of Governors made the appointment on the unanimous recommendation
of a 19-member Presidential Search Committee, chaired by UBC Chancellor William
Sauder, which conducted an extensive search throughout North America.
“The search committee, composed of a broadly based group of faculty, staff,
board members, students and alumni, assessed the background, experience,
professional qualifications and personal qualities of a wide and diverse field
of outstanding candidates for the presidency of UBC,” said Dr. Sauder.
“Without exception, we found Martha Piper to be best qualified to lead UBC into
the next century.”
Dr. Piper has the proven academic and institutional leadership, and management
and administrative abilities necessary to successfully head a complex
institution such as UBC, said Board of Governors Chair Shirley Chan.
“Her demonstrated strengths in building internal and external relationships,
especially in difficult financial times such as those recently faced in
Alberta, combined with her outstanding personal qualities, make her the best
fit for UBC.”
Dr. Piper assumed the position of vice-president, Research, at the University
of Alberta in January 1993 and her position was expanded to include the
External Affairs portfolio in July 1995.
During her tenure, external research funding at the University of Alberta has
increased by 25 per cent. Dr. Piper has been instrumental in promoting the
importance of university research to the broader community through the
Research Makes Sense initiative. She has also assisted in preparing the
University of Alberta for the largest fund-raising campaign in its history.
From 1985-1992, Dr. Piper served as dean of the Faculty of Rehabilitation
Medicine at the University of Alberta. Prior to that, she was director of the
School of Physical and Occupational Therapy at McGill University, from
A Canadian citizen born in Lorain, Ohio, Dr. Piper received her BSc in Physical
Therapy from the University of Michigan, her MA in Child Development from the
University of Connecticut, and her PhD in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from
Dr. Piper’s teaching and research interests are directed towards the
developmentally delayed infant, with particular focus on early identification
of infants with development delays, and assessing the efficacy of specific
interventions commonly employed in the treatment of physically and mentally
Funding support for her research has come from the Fonds de la Recherche en
Sante du Quebec, March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, National Health
Research and Development Program, Health and Welfare Canada, National Institute
of Mental Retardation, MSI Foundation, Northern Alberta Children’s Hospital
Foundation and the Hospital for Sick Children Foundation.
Her current appointments include serving as a board member of: TR Labs; Centre
for Engineering Research; Alberta Research Council, Protein Engineering
Networks Centre of Excellence; Economic Development Edmonton; and the Canada
Israel Industrial Research Foundation.
In August 1994, Dr. Piper was appointed by Prime Minister Jean Chretien to the
National Advisory Board on Science and Technology and chaired a sub-committee
on Quality of Life. She is a member of the University Advisory Board, Industry
Canada, and was recently appointed to the General Assembly of the Humanities
and Social Sciences Federation of Canada.
In July 1996, Dr. Piper was appointed by the prime minister as a member of the
Advisory Council on Science and Technology and in October 1996, she received
the Leadership Award in Science and Technology from the Alberta Science and
Dr. Piper is married to Dr. William Piper who will join UBC’s Psychiatry Dept.
They have two daughters.