Indira V. Samarasekera

Past President Indira Samarasekera

Indira V. Samarasekera, PhD, FRSC, FCAE, DSc, OC was the 12th president and vice-chancellor of the University of Alberta from 2005-2015.

Dr. Samarasekera is internationally recognized as one of Canada's leading metallurgical engineers for her groundbreaking work on process engineering of materials. She has consulted widely for industry worldwide, which has adopted the results of her research discoveries. She earned an MSc from the University of California in 1976 as a Fulbright-Hays Scholar, and was granted a PhD in metallurgical engineering from the University of British Columbia in 1980. She was vice-president (research) at the University of British Columbia and held the Dofasco Chair in Advanced Steel Processing. She is the first woman and the first engineer to serve as U of A president. 

Dr. Samarasekera is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a member of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum. She has received honorary degrees from the University of British Columbia, University of Waterloo, Université de Montréal, University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto in Canada, and from Queen's University in Belfast, Ireland.

Highlights of achievements at the U of A

  • established a renewed vision, Dare to Discover, to make the University of Alberta one of the world's great universities for the public good
  • completed nearly $1.5 billion in capital construction including the National Institute for Nanotechnology, the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science and the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy in partnership with Alberta Health Services
  • opened a downtown campus, Enterprise Square
  • established the Killam Research Fund for the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Fine Arts
  • created the School of Public Health
  • created the world-leading Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology in 2010 through the combined gifts of $25 million from the Li Ka Shing (Canada) Foundation and $52.5 million from the Government of Alberta
  • celebrated the university's centenary in 2008 with the Prime Ministers Conversation Series and successfully concluded a $600-million fundraising campaign.