Photo of Dawn Farrell - Mount Royal University’s first chancellor.




Dawn Farrell becomes MRU’s first chancellor

Furthering connections with community

Over the past 110 years, Mount Royal students, faculty, staff and alumni have created countless connections to build our communities, strengthen the economy and create a positive future — here and around the world.

An experienced leader and vibrant connector, Dawn Farrell shares Mount Royal’s pride and passion for serving communities. We’re so pleased that as chancellor she will help us tell the Mount Royal story of an exceptional education and experience and join us to create an even stronger future.







Dawn Farrell

Accomplished business and community leader Dawn Farrell will become Mount Royal University’s first chancellor following unanimous approval by the board of governors.

Farrell was the president and chief executive officer of TransAlta Corporation from January 2012 until her retirement in March 2021. With 35 years in the electricity industry, she has held senior management positions at TransAlta and BC Hydro and sits on the board of directors of The Chemours Company and the Business Council of Canada.

Her community service includes contributing to United Way Calgary and Area and the Calgary Stampede, as well as being a member of the Trilateral Commission. Farrell served on Mount Royal’s board of governors and the Foundation’s board of directors.

For more information on Farrell, read the web story, watch the video, learn about her perspectives in a story and the remarks she delivered upon receiving an honorary doctor of laws in 2019.



Dawn L. Farrell retired as CEO and president of TransAlta Corp. March 31, 2021. TransAlta is one of the largest investor-owned generation and energy marketing companies in Canada with operations in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. As CEO of TransAlta for over nine years, Farrell led the transformation of the company to competitive power focused on low-cost, clean and reliable solutions for large commercial and industrial customers.

Farrell spent over 35 years in the electricity business and held a variety of positions in TransAlta and BC Hydro. She is currently the chair of the board for The Chemours Company and a member of the board of Canadian Natural Resources and Portland General Electric. She has held past board positions including the Business Council of Canada, Alberta Business Council, Calgary Stampede, Conference Board of Canada, Mount Royal College/University Board of Governors and Foundation Board of Directors, Fording Coal Income Fund, New Relationship Trust, and Vision Quest Windelectric. Farrell has contributed to electricity and environmental policy development in Alberta, British Columbia, and federally in Canada.

Farrell is currently the chancellor for Mount Royal University and a member of the Trilateral Commission, a non-governmental, policy-oriented international forum, as well as community champion for Momentum. She co-chaired the Calgary United Way Campaign in 2013. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a master’s in economics from the University of Calgary and attended the advanced management program at Harvard Business School. In 2019, she received an honorary doctorate of laws from Mount Royal University.

As a large company CEO with a decade of experience, Farrell has led multiple complex mergers and acquisitions transactions, including floating TransAlta Renewables, completing a company-wide complex cultural transformation, critically evaluating and negotiating a complex off-coal transaction with government, building a significant business presence in Australia, and executing private and public financial transactions to advance TransAlta’s strategic shift away from coal-fired generation. 

As a community leader, Farrell is known for her deep policy work in electricity, the environment and ESG. She is a co-founder of the Alberta Business Council, has worked with the Canadian government on a roadmap for advancing renewable wind technology, and was a member of the Canada-U.S. Council for the Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. She also has extensive experience in negotiating agreements with First Nations in British Columbia.


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The Chancellor is the ceremonial head of Mount Royal University and represents the public interest in the University.

As an external-facing proponent of Mount Royal, the Chancellor actively participates in University and community activities. The Chancellor represents the University in formal occasions, such as presiding over Convocation and granting degrees to all graduating students. The Chancellor also serves as an advisor and support to the President and as an ex-officio member of Mount Royal’s Board of Governors.

The Chancellor is distinguished in their field as measured by service, contributions, reputation and record of excellence. The person is keenly interested in higher education and the connection between universities and communities. The person has a strong connection to Calgary and Alberta and will promote Mount Royal University’s mission, vision and values to all.

The Chancellor has knowledge and experience with ceremonies and protocols, including feeling a high level of ease with public speaking and is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

The role is for a four-year term and by provincial legislation the Chancellor can only serve one term.

This is a non-remunerated volunteer position, with travel expenses reimbursed.


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Search Committee

As outlined in the Post-secondary Learning Act, the Chancellor is elected by the Board of Governors as nominated by the Chancellor Search Committee.

The members were:

Tim Rahilly, President and Vice-Chancellor; Chancellor Search Committee Chair
Jen Magnus, Board of Governors
Sue Riddell Rose, Board of Governors
Michèle Stanners, Board of Governors
Peter Choate, General Faculties Council
Maki Motapanyane, General Faculties Council
Elaine Mullen, General Faculties Council
Jennifer Aubin, Alumni Association
Carolina Serrano Andres, Alumni Association
Mark Sollis, Alumni Association
Shayla Breen, Students’ Association
Kainat Javed, Students’ Association
Jane O’Connor, University Secretary (non-voting)
Kathy Homer, Recording Secretary


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Dawn Farrell

Irene Frenette
Administrative Assistant


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