From the President's Desk: Announcing the university’s 23rd chancellor

Nizar J. Somji elected as the U of A’s new chancellor for a four-year term.

Nizar J. Somji

Nizar J. Somji has been elected as the U of A’s new chancellor for a four-year term.

I am delighted to announce that the University of Alberta Senate elected Nizar J. Somji as the university’s next chancellor. Known as a principled business leader with a deep passion for knowledge and for pursuing equality and dignity for all individuals, Nizar will be an outstanding leader and ambassador for the University of Alberta. Nizar will take office on June 21, 2024, at the end of Chancellor Peggy Garritty’s term and will bolster our engagement with communities and partners in the Edmonton region, across Alberta and nationally.

A seasoned executive with more than 30 years of leadership experience, Nizar is known for his expertise in developing new initiatives, forging strategic partnerships and driving innovation. Over the course of his career, he founded multiple successful businesses, including Matrikon Inc., a leader in industrial automation, which he grew from a one-person venture to a global company operating in five continents. He currently leads the Jaffer Group of Companies, which has invested more than $130 million in Alberta through ventures in construction, staffing, information technology, realty, hospitality, petroleum and property management.

Nizar currently serves on EPCOR’s board of directors and as chair of KV Capital, a western Canadian equity fund enterprise. He has served with the U of A board of governors and as global director of campus development and operations with Aga Khan University and Hospital.

Nizar has a deep connection to the university and is a proud U of A graduate who holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering. He has funded two engineering research chairs at the U of A to support industrial innovation, leading to many developments in process control and automation that several multinational corporations adopted. 

Please join me in congratulating Nizar and welcoming our 23rd chancellor. I look forward to working with him to advance the university’s impact and reputation.

Bill Flanagan
President and Vice-Chancellor