SURREY – Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Kim Baird will be the next chancellor of Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) in Surrey. Baird’s three-year term will begin on Oct. 5, 2020.
The chancellor’s role is to serve as the ceremonial head of the university, which most notably includes presiding over convocations and the conferring of credentials upon graduating students. The chancellor also serves as an ambassador of the university.
“KPU is honoured and excited to welcome Kim Baird as our third Chancellor,” said KPU President Alan Davis. “She is an accomplished leader, a great advocate for Indigenous people and their communities, and is widely recognized for her work. She is also a distinguished alumna of KPU. Her achievements will inspire and support our students and graduates in many ways.”
Baird was the elected Chief of the Tsawwassen First Nation for six terms, from 1999-2012. She negotiated and implemented British Columbia’s first urban modern treaty, which came into effect on April 3, 2009. This first urban treaty in B.C. has provided unprecedented benefits and opportunities for the Tsawwassen First Nation. Baird’s leadership has contributed to the Tsawwassen First Nation being one of the most progressive First Nations in the country.
Baird is a Distinguished Alumna of KPU, an honour granted to her by the KPU Alumni Association. She graduated in 1992 with an Arts Diploma, and credits her studies at Kwantlen with awakening her political consciousness: “I was working on papers on my community of Tsawwassen. I learned about colonization, land claims process and why there are such poor economic conditions for Aboriginal peoples.”
She graduated with a determination to improve the lives of her people and started working for her community in 1990. In 1999, she was elected Chief of the Tsawwassen First Nation, and at just 28 years old, was the youngest woman to hold that position.
Kim is the proud mother of three young girls and her ancestral name is Kwuntiltunaat.
“I had a tough upbringing and odds were against me to finish high school, let alone attend a post-secondary institution,” said Baird. “I chose Kwantlen because of its smaller community-based campuses. Little did I know that this choice would lead me on an amazing career path, allowing me to make meaningful contributions to my community and Indigenous issues. I never dreamed that I could one day be the chancellor for an institution that changed my life.
“As chancellor, I hope to contribute to KPU’s evolving role with Indigenous reconciliation in Canada.”
Baird is the owner of Kim Baird Strategic Consulting. She advises First Nations, governments, businesses and other organizations on Indigenous matters. Her goal in her consulting practice is to improve the quality of life for Indigenous people through her services in relation to First Nation policy, governance, and economic development, as well as First Nation consultation, communication, and engagement issues.