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Jan 29, 2014 08:55 AM EST

Guelph Board Names Franco Vaccarino School’s Eighth President

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Neuroscientist Dr. Franco Vaccarino is chosen as the eighth president of the University of Guelph, effective Aug.15. Franco, the current president of the University of Toronto (U of T)'s Scarborough campus, will succeed Alastair Summerlee, who has led Guelph since 2003.

Vaccarino is very eager to begin a new chapter at Guelph.

"I am extremely proud and humbled to be given the honour, privilege and trust to lead this University...I look forward to building upon U of G's strengths and further developing and promoting its potential for excellence, particularly in food, health, environment and communities," Vaccarino said in a statement.

Vaccarino, who has also served as U of T's vice-president since 2007, hopes to lead the institution effectively and successfully in challenging times. His first major responsibility will be to reduce costs by $32.4 million over the next three years. He promises to pay close attention to campus community interactions.

Outgoing president Summerlee said that Vaccarino is the right fill for the top administrative job and will be successful in his new role.

Meric Gertler, University of Toronto president, said that Vaccarino is considered as a creative thinker, who is capable of making institutions 'to think big.'

"I think he has also been really effective at raising spirits and morale [at U of T Scarborough] and making this important campus feel better and better about itself and what it's able to achieve," Gertler said, the Globe and Mail reports.

At U of T, he also served as chair of the Department of Psychology; graduate chair of the tri-campus Graduate Department of Psychology; and head of the Department of Psychiatry's neuroscience program.

He earned a B.Sc. from the University of Toronto and an MSc and a PhD in psychology from McGill University. Vaccarino has worked with organizations such as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry.

 "Vaccarino has had a distinguished academic career and a proven record in organizational leadership. He is a remarkable scholar, educator, accomplished administrator. He has an entrepreneurial spirit, a powerful sense of community and a profound commitment to societal engagement, Dick Freeborough, the chair of the university's board, said.

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