across the region, through research, teaching, outreach and collaboration.
Gibson joins the UofG from St. Mary’s University in Halifax, N.S. He’ll be working through the OAC’s school of environmental design and rural development.
“Ryan’s expertise and experience are a perfect fit for this new position,” says Rene Van Acker, OAC dean. “His focus on community-engaged scholarship combined with his enthusiasm, assures me he will do great things while working with the communities of southwestern Ontario.”
Gibson’s research examines issues related to the future of rural communities and regions, and topics such as governance, immigration and revitalization. He is also president of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network, a national organization committed to strengthening communities by creating economic opportunities that enhance social and environmental conditions.
Originally from rural Manitoba, Gibson has a deep respect for rural communities, rural people and the events that shape their futures. Growing up witnessing the transformations in rural development, agriculture and their influence on communities instilled a fascination and commitment to rural issues.
Libro has committed to endow the professorship with $500,000 over 10 years, which will be matched to existing donations, for a combined gift of $1 million.
Overall goals of the professorship include:
- Establishing southwestern Ontario as a defined economic region of the province and identifying strategies to shape the future vision of economic development
- Strengthening links between rural and urban communities to establish solutions for an integrated regional economy
- Building a network among Ontario’s post-secondary institutions and research facilities to collaborate on initiatives to grow regional economic development