New senior appointments designed to help George Brown College respond to changing expectations of employers and students

Toronto, ON, January 15, 2018 – As students and employers grapple with the realities of the new global and digital economy – including increased automation, digital disruption and rapidly shifting labour market demands – George Brown College is making significant organizational changes to ensure its graduates remain competitive in the workplace.

Today, college President Anne Sado announced the appointment of three new vice-presidents that will guide the college’s transformation as it adapts to meet the changing needs of learners and of industry.

Dr. Rick Huijbregts, Vice-President, Strategy & Innovation. Dr. Huijbregts joins George Brown to lead the Registrar’s Office, Marketing, Alumni Relations, its International Centre, Applied Research, Institutional Research, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Partnerships. He is also responsible for shaping the College’s vision for 2030 and developing the corresponding business strategy.

Dr. Huijbregts is a digital innovation expert who spent 12 years with Cisco Canada, most recently as Vice-President of Digital Transformation and Innovation. He is also a faculty member at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design Executive Education where his teaching focuses on smart buildings, smart cities and digital transformation. Before moving into his current role, he was an Executive-in-Residence at George Brown and Chair of the college’s Building Automation Program Advisory Committee. Dr. Huijbregts holds a doctoral degree from Harvard University with a specialization in real estate technology and investment management, and has a Master of Science from Delft University in the Netherlands. He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for his transformational work in municipal innovation in Canada.

Chris McGrath, Vice-President, Student Success. Mr. McGrath joins George Brown to lead a portfolio of programs and services to provide a best-in-class student experience, including Library and Learning Supports, Campus Life, Career Services and Athletics, Student Health, Counselling and Accessible Learning, Student Concerns, Business Services, and Student Retention Research.

Mr. McGrath has 18 years of leadership experience in student affairs, and most recently served as Associate Vice-President, Student Experience and Registrar at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. Prior to that, he was Dean of Students at Seneca College, and Assistant Dean, Student Affairs at the University of Toronto Mississauga. He has a Master of Education in Higher Education & Student Affairs from the University of Vermont, and has completed doctoral course work in Theory and Policy Studies through the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Dr. Cory Ross, Vice-President, Academic. Dr. Ross moves from his prior position as Dean of Community Services and Health Sciences to lead the core academic delivery at George Brown. His reports include the Deans of the Centres for Arts, Design & Information Technologies; Business; Community Services & Early Childhood; Construction & Engineering Technologies; Continuous Learning; Health Sciences; Hospitality & Culinary Arts; and Preparatory & Liberal Studies. He will also be focused on the college’s Work Integrated Learning and Community Partnerships.

Dr. Ross has held progressive leadership positions since joining George Brown in 2007, including Interim Executive Dean. Previously, he was Vice-President, Academic and Executive Director, Institutional Development at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. A life-long learner with extensive teaching and research experience, Dr. Ross holds a Diploma of Strategic Management from Oxford University, a Doctor of Chiropractic from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, a Master of Science from the University of Manitoba and a Master of Business Administration in Health Care Management from Queen Margaret University. Equipped with a broad range of experience from both the public and private sectors, the new senior leaders will help ensure that George Brown students have the technical and people skills required to thrive in a world of rapid change.

“As George Brown looks ahead to an ambitious next decade after 50 years of preparing learners for job success, these additions will bring vision and leadership as we explore new ways to enhance strategic partnerships, student success and academic quality,” said President Sado.

Other changes to the leadership were also announced: 

  • Karen Thomson, Vice-President, Student Life, Alumni and Marketing will become Vice-President, Corporate Services with the pending retirement of Mark Nesbitt. Karen will be responsible for the college’s financial and real estate assets, including the departments of Planning, Finance, Purchasing, Facilities, Safety and Security. She will also lead George Brown’s sustainability initiatives. 
  • Dr. Adrienne Galway, Special Advisor to the President, adds Academic Quality and Corporate Communications to her portfolio.

The George Brown executive team also includes Chief Information Officer Paul Ruppert and Vice-President, Human Resources Leslie Quinlan.

About George Brown College

Toronto’s George Brown College has established a reputation for equipping students with the skills, industry experience and credentials to pursue the careers of their choice. The college offers programs from its three campuses located across the downtown core, and provides housing at its student residence, The George, which opened in Sept. 2016. George Brown offers 162 full-time programs and 194 continuing education certificates/designations across a wide variety of professions to a student body of nearly 29,000 (full-time enrolment) students, including 17 per cent international students; and over 67,000 continuing education registrants. Students can earn certificates, diplomas, graduate certificates, apprenticeships and degrees.


For more information, please contact:
Nikki Luscombe
Corporate and Employee Communications Manager
416-415-5000, ext. 3767