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Wilfrid Laurier University Office of the President
October 5, 2015
Canadian Excellence


President's biography

Dr. Max Blouw joined Wilfrid Laurier University as president and vice-chancellor on Sept. 1, 2007 after a distinguished career at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and many years of teaching at St. Francis Xavier University.

Upon arriving at Laurier, Blouw spearheaded “Envisioning Laurier,” a collaborative, institution-wide process that determined the direction of the university and created the institutional proposition, “inspiring lives of leadership and purpose.”

This process drove Laurier’s new academic plan, which introduced the innovative Integrated and Engaged Learning model, and campus master plan, which guided the physical development of Laurier’s two largest campuses in Waterloo and Brantford, Ontario.

As Blouw steered Laurier toward its 100th anniversary in 2011, the university grew from a small, primarily undergraduate university to a mid-sized, comprehensive university. Blouw maintained Laurier’s strong focus on student experience and academic excellence, and focused on increasing research activity, which has more than doubled since 2000.

Blouw is well known on the national scene, and enriches his academic career through volunteer roles that link universities and government with the private sector. His long-standing involvement with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) included acting as an executive council member and chair of its award selection committees and committee on grants and scholarships. He served two terms as the chair of the university advisory group to Industry Canada and was a member of the adjudication panel for the Ontario premier’s Discovery Awards, which recognize the province’s finest senior researchers. He is currently chair of NSERC’s International Review Committee of the Discovery Grants Program.

In July 2013, Blouw began a two-year term as chair of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU). In addition, he serves as chair of  COU's Executive Committee, Holding Association Inc. and Nominations Committee. As the COU chair, he is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada's (AUCC) Board of Directors and Nominations Committee.

Born in Holland, Blouw moved to Canada in 1957 and became a Canadian citizen in 1963. He holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in zoology from the University of Manitoba (1972 and 1977 respectively) and a PhD in biology from the University of New Brunswick (1982).

He began his career as a biologist in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Winnipeg, and went on to teach biology at St. Francis Xavier University and zoology at the University of British Columbia before joining UNBC in 1995 as a professor of biology. Two years later, he joined the university’s administration as the associate vice-president and dean of graduate studies. In 2000, Blouw was named the vice-president of research. Under his leadership, UNBC became one of the most research-intensive small universities in Canada.

In 2005, Blouw received the Science and Technology Champion Award from the BC Innovation Council in recognition of his leadership. In 2009, UNBC renamed the Quesnel River Research Centre, “The Dr. Max Blouw Quesnel River Research Centre at Likely,” in honour of his efforts to have the former federal fisheries research station transferred to the university.

Blouw and his wife Lynn live in southwestern Ontario and have two sons, Peter and Carl.