Philip Steenkamp appointed president and vice-chancellor of Royal Roads University

June 18, 2018
Dr. Philip Steenkamp

Royal Roads University’s Board of Governors is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Philip Steenkamp as the university’s fourth president and vice-chancellor for a five-year term effective January 1, 2019.

Steenkamp brings to the position more than two decades of senior leadership experience in the post-secondary and public sectors. He joins Royal Roads University from the University of British Columbia, where he has served as vice-president, external relations since 2015.

With extensive experience directing meaningful and transformative change, Steenkamp’s expertise includes significant relationship building and collaboration with business, government and Indigenous communities.

“I am delighted to welcome Philip Steenkamp as the next president of Royal Roads,” says Royal Roads University Chancellor Kathleen Birney. “His wealth of leadership experience and his commitment to collaboration and social innovation make him uniquely qualified to lead this university into the future.”

“Early in the presidential search process, the board asked the university community to help guide us on the key qualities we needed in our next president,” says Birney. “Philip exceeds those expectations as an open, inclusive leader who can meet the changing needs of our students, the institution and its evolving role in the economy and society.”

“It is a privilege to join Royal Roads as the university is poised to embrace an exciting future thanks to the strong foundation and momentum created by President Cahoon and his team,” says Steenkamp. “I look forward to working with this outstanding learning community to advance the university’s innovative educational model and to support opportunities to make real change at home and around the world.”

Steenkamp’s previous roles include vice-president, external relations at Simon Fraser University and president and chief executive officer of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Secretariat.

He has held senior leadership positions in multiple provincial ministries over a 17-year career in the public service. He held the office of deputy minister from 1997 to 2011, serving in a wide range of portfolios in British Columbia and Ontario.

At UBC Steenkamp was instrumental in the development of the university's strategic plan, "Shaping UBC's Next Century", and ambitious strategies to reduce the university's carbon footprint and to extend rapid transit to the campus. He and his team successfully advocated for a significant new investment in technology-related student spaces and supported the development of a comprehensive innovation strategy for the university. As well, he has led the university's community engagement initiatives, including supporting the opening of the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre.

At SFU, Steenkamp supported the launch of the university's new vision “Engaging the World” and guided its strategies for internationalization, innovation and community engagement.

As BC’s deputy minister of advanced education, he oversaw expansion of the provincial post-secondary system by 25,000 seats–the largest expansion since the 1960s. In Ontario, he implemented the province’s Reaching Higher Plan–a $6.2-billion investment in post-secondary education, as well as the largest interjurisdictional transfer in Canadian history under the Labour Market Development Agreement.

He has served on numerous boards and committees including the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation, the Immigrant Employment Council of BC, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and as the Canadian representative on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Education Committee.

Steenkamp holds a PhD in History from Queen’s University (1989), a Master of Arts in History from Queen’s University (1986) and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of Natal, Durban (1983).

Steenkamp will succeed Dr. Allan Cahoon, who has led Royal Roads University as president and vice-chancellor for 11 years, shaping the institution and its impact at an integral time in its history.