Sheridan welcomes second female president


As of Nov. 1, Dr. Mary Preece, current Provost and Vice President, will be stepping up to become the new president at Sheridan.

Jeff Zabudsky, current President at Sheridan, announced that he would be resigning at the end of the year.

Read more about Jeff Zabudsky’s resignation

She will be in office until Dec. 31, 2017.

Although Preece’s retirement was announced last December, the board asked her to stay on for 14 months in the role of president to provide leadership for the college while the search for a new president continues.

“We’re not using the term ‘temporary’ here. I will be the president for 14 months but it is a term contract. Hopefully, the new president will be in office no later than December 2017,” says Preece.

While president, she plans to “continue the work of getting Sheridan ready to become Sheridan University.”

While Preece is in the president role, Dr. Janet Morrison will serve as the new Provost and Vice President, starting Nov. 28, 2016.

Preece has come a long way in her career to end up where she is now.

Growing up on the West end of Montreal, Preece moved to Ontario in her early 20s. She graduated from Western University with a Bachelor Degree in French and Literature. She then earned a Master’s Degree and Ph.D. at the University of Toronto.

“The opportunities to teach surfaced in the late ’70s. I went into teaching and I loved it. That’s why I went to graduate studies because I wanted to know more about the mechanics of teaching and how it all works”

According to Preece, she never aspired to be a president, “Opportunities kind of surfaced themselves and I just went ahead to peruse them. And as long as I loved what I was doing, I did what I was doing,” she added.

She continued her career as a professor at Centennial College in 1979. For 13 years she taught courses in business, office administration as well as telecommunication.

“I pretty much taught whatever anybody asked me to teach. That’s how much I loved to teach,” says Preece.

She then worked her way up to become Centennial’s acting chairperson in 1992, followed by director for instructional development in 1993 and dean of academic studies in 1995.

Prior to assuming her position at Sheridan in 2008, Preece served six years as a provost and vice president at the Michener Institute of Applied Health Sciences.

She has served eight years as a Provost and Vice President Academic at Sheridan.

“Being at Sheridan for the last years of my career has been such an honour. It’s a really special place for me,” says Preece.

“It’s funny – one of my colleagues described me as a ‘Second Mary,’” she says. “Of all the presidents at Sheridan, the other female President was Mary Hofsetter, in the 90’s. So now I am the second Mary and we are the only two female presidents.”

Headshot of Mary Preece, the incoming president

Besides all the academics, Mary Preece is also a wife and a mother. She is married to a retired firefighter; has a 30-year-old son, Jonathan Preece, who recently got married, and a 50-year-old stepson, Neil Preece.