UAlberta president offers condolences on passing of Ralph Klein

University of Alberta President Indira Samarasekera offered condolences on the passing of former Alberta premier Ralph Klein earlier today.

"On behalf of the University of Alberta, I would like to extend sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of former premier Ralph Klein, who died today after a long illness. Ralph Klein’s political career extended over 26 years, beginning with his election as mayor of Calgary in 1980. After hosting the highly successful Calgary Olympics, he turned to provincial politics. First elected to the legislature in 1989, he held the office of premier from 1992 to 2006. I became acquainted with Premier Klein after my arrival at the University of Alberta in 2005, during the latter part of his last term in office. In those early days of my presidency and leading into our Centenary celebrations, I came to know him as engaged and interested in the U of A and supportive of our ambitious plans, which had then only recently been outlined in Dare to Discover. In particular, his government’s re-investment in our vision of interdisciplinary education and research was critical to the development of the National Institute for Nanotechnology, the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science and the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy.

"The length of his tenure as leader of Alberta is testament to his oft-noted popular appeal and political pragmatism. Equally important was the fact that he was a dedicated public servant and steadfast champion of both Alberta and Canada. Ralph Klein’s distinctive and warm personality may have sadly been quieted in recent years by his illness but his influence and impact will long be remembered within Alberta and Canada."