Guest Speakers

Key Note Speaker

We are thrilled to announce Dr. Indira V. Samarasekera as our key note speaker for the evening social!

Indira Headshot


Dr. Indira V. Samarasekera served as the 12th President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Alberta, from 2005-2015, one of Canada’s most respected research-intensive universities.  Dr. Samarasekera is internationally recognized as one of Canada’s leading metallurgical engineers for her groundbreaking work on process engineering of materials, especially steel processing. She has consulted widely for industry worldwide leading to the implementation of her research discoveries. Dr. Samarasekera has also devoted her career to advancing innovation in higher education and the private sector, providing national and international leadership through invited lectures and participation on national and international boards and councils. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 2002 for outstanding contributions to steel process engineering. In 2014 she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in the US as a foreign associate, the professions highest honour.

As a Hays Fulbright Scholar, she earned an MSc from the University of California in 1976. In 1980, she was granted a PhD in metallurgical engineering from the University of British Columbia. She was Vice-President Research and held the Dofasco Chair in Advanced Steel Processing at the University of British Columbia prior to becoming President of the University of Alberta. She is currently a Distinguished Fellow in Residence at the Liu Institute for Global Issues at UBC.

At the University of Alberta, building strong international partnerships was a signature feature of her leadership.  Several institutional level agreements, notably with the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, the Li Ka Shing Foundation, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Bombay, Delhi and Roorkee, illustrate the University of Alberta’s commitment to being a global institution working with the international community to find solutions to shared challenges. Under her administration, a renewed vision Dare to Discover, was established and close to $1.5 billion in capital construction was completed. The University’s endowment doubled to $1.2billion during her term and the University of Alberta raised over $1 billion in philanthropic contributions.

Dr. Samarasekera serves on several boards such as the Board of Directors of the Bank of Nova Scotia, Magna International and is on the selection panel for Canada’s outstanding CEO of the Year, of the Asia-Pacific Foundation and the Rideau Hall Foundation. She was Chair of the World-wide Universities Network, the Public Policy Forum of Canada, Canada’s Science, Technology, Innovation Council, Minister’s advisory committee on Canada’s Global Commerce Strategy, a Presidential Visiting Committee at MIT, the Conference Board of Canada, and the Prime-Minister’s Committee for Renewal of the Public Service. She was an advisor to the Canadian Minister of Environment at the 2009 Copenhagen Summit, served as a moderator and speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and the “Summer” Davos in China. Dr. Samarasekera was President of the Metallurgical Society of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum Engineers of Canada in 1995, served on the Board of The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society of the American Institute of Mining, Materials and Petroleum Engineers.

Dr. Samarasekera received the E.W. R. Steacie Memorial fellowship in 1991, awarded by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to the top 4 researchers under 40. Dr. Samarasekera is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIMM) and an Honorary Member of the American Institute of Mining, Materials and Petroleum Engineering, its highest honour. She has received honorary degrees from the Universities of British Columbia, Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal, and Western in Canada, and Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland. She received the Peter Lougheed Leadership Award from the Public Policy Forum in Canada in 2012, and named one of 5 runners up for the Nation Builder of the Year by the Globe and Mail in 2010.


Our academic leaders and esteem graduates bios can be found below:

Academic leaders: HERE
Esteemed Graduates: HERE