VP External Philip Steenkamp leaves UBC for Royal Roads University presidency

After less than three years of serving as UBC’s VP External Relations and Communications, Dr. Philip Steenkamp has joined Victoria’s Royal Roads University (RRU) as its fourth president and vice-chancellor. His term will begin on January 1, 2019.

“I am delighted to welcome Philip Steenkamp as the next president of Royal Roads,” said RRU Chancellor Kathleen Birney in a media release. “His wealth of leadership experience and his commitment to collaboration and social innovation make him uniquely qualified to lead this university into the future.”

Since joining UBC on a five-year term in December 2015, Steenkamp has engaged with different levels of government, First Nations communities, Translink and other external stakeholders on behalf of the university. His portfolio also includes marketing, media relations, community planning, ceremonies and events.

Dr. Philip Steenkamp leaves UBC for Royal Roads University presidency.
Dr. Philip Steenkamp leaves UBC for Royal Roads University presidency. Courtesy Royal Roads University

Steenkamp is the fifth member of UBC’s administration to leave in the past year and the third to do so in the past two months, following the announcement of VP Students Louise Cowin’s resignation in May and VP Development and Alumni Engagement Barbara Miles’s departure in April 2018. Currently, all vice-president positions were hired since summer 2017 or are currently in flux.

While it is unclear when Steenkamp accepted the offer, RRU started its presidential search in November 2017 with anticipation of completion in spring 2018.

“It is a privilege to join Royal Roads as the university is poised to embrace an exciting future thanks to the strong foundation and momentum created by President Cahoon and his team,” said Steenkamp in the RRU media release.

“I look forward to working with this outstanding learning community to advance the university’s innovative educational model and to support opportunities to make real change at home and around the world.”

UBC President Santa Ono congratulated Steenkamp on Twitter at 11:10 a.m. as well as in a UBC bulletin to “executive, deans and other senior academic leaders; academic heads, directors and managers, senior professional leaders in Vancouver and the Okanagan.”

According to the bulletin, Steenkamp will also remain in his VP position until December 31, 2018.

“It has been a great privilege to work for UBC and I’d like to thank my team, my colleagues, President Ono and other members of the university community for the experience of a lifetime,” said Steenkamp in the bulletin.

This story has been updated to include Ono’s tweet and UBC bulletin. It will be updated as more information becomes available.