Ex officio members 

Dr. Daniel O'Brien
President, NSCAD University


Dr. Daniel O’Brien serves as the President of NSCAD University, beginning his term May 16, 2012.

Dr. O’Brien was the President and Vice-Chancellor of New Brunswick’s St. Thomas University from 1990 to 2006 and is St. Thomas’s first President Emeritus.

He is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of New Brunswick and is the chair of Capital Health’s board of directors.


Appointed, governors-in-council 

Ian Austen

BOG - Ian Austen

Ian Austen worked for 19 years as part of a management team in development and management of program curriculum and budgets in post secondary institutions and private trade schools. Ian has extensive knowledge in development and delivery of degree and non-degree programs as well as financial administration of adult education programs and management of educational facilities and equipment.

Ian was Director of Extension Services at NSCAD from 1975-84 and the first Chairperson of the Craft Division from 1976-80.

Ian serves on a number of Committees at NSCAD including Academic Council and Faculty Forum.


Mr. Michael Donovan
BOG Immediate Past Chairperson
Chairman & CEO, DHX MEDIA

Michael Donovan

Michael Donovan is an Oscar Award winning film and television producer. He has produced hundreds of hours of animation in stop-frame, cell, computer, 2-D, 3-D and stop motion. He is the founder of DHX Media, which is one of the largest producers and distributors of children’s programming in the world.

Michael’s individual recent credits include: Animal Mechanicals, The Mighty Jungle, Bo on the GO!, Lunar Jim, POKO, as well as many feature films including the feature film, Bowling for Columbine.

Michael Donovan lives in Nova Scotia, Canada. He is the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and is a member of the of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Film & Television Producer’s Association, and other organizations in film and television.


Mr. Richard W. Emberley
CEO, MarketQuest

Rick Emberley

Rick has been one of the leading communications and research experts in Atlantic Canada for over 20 years. As President of Bristol Communications, Rick is involved in business development activities for the company and acts as Senior Account Executive on various accounts. His experience as a senior advisor and strategist is utilized by all of Bristol's clients.

Rick is Senior Counsel to Group M5, Marketing and Communications. He holds an Economics and Political Science degree from Memorial University in Newfoundland. Throughout his career, Rick has held senior management positions in both the private and public sectors. He is a past President of the Neptune Theatre Foundation, past Governor of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, the Atlantic Provinces Chamber of Commerce and a former President the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. He is an active member of World Presidents Organization, Institute of Canadian Advertising and a member of the Board of the Advertising Standards Council of Canada.

He currently serves as Chair of Discovery Centre and a member of the Board of the YMCA.


Ms. Kim Knoll, BSW

Kim Knoll
Photo by Steve Farmer

An active member of the community, Kim has been a part of the NSCAD Board of Governors for the past 4 years, and currently serves as a Governor in Council. She lives in Halifax and sits on numerous committees. She particularly enjoys being inspired by the students, their passion and the devotion they have to their work.

Kim holds a BSW degree from University of Calgary, and diplomas in Social Welfare and Business Administration. Since her career in Social Work, she has followed her love of art, focusing mainly on oil painting through coursework, private instruction and workshops.


Mr. Gordon Whittaker


Mr. Whittaker was born and raised in Toronto and lived in Vancouver before moving to Halifax in 1996. He has twenty-five years of management experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors and has held senior positions in sales, marketing, operations and business development. He has an MBA from the University of British Columbia and an Honours Commerce Degree from Queen’s University.

He is actively involved in “city building” and sits on the Board of Management for the Downtown Halifax Business Commission, is a member of the core team of Strategic Urban Partnership and is an active member of both the Halifax Chamber of Commerce’s Municipal and Provincial Affairs Committees.

His interest in NSCAD University and serving on its Board of Governors stems from his belief that NSCAD is a pillar of the community and significantly contributes to the city and province’s cultural identity, diversity and depth. NSCAD is a distinctive feature of Halifax, a driver of creativity and a community partner.


Appointed, governors-at-large 

Mr. Rob Cameron
Cameron Corporation Limited



Rob Cameron is the Vice President of CamCon Precast, a precast concrete manufacturer serving Atlantic Canada. He is also the VP of Cameron Corporation Limited with interests in real estate, steel fabrication, flooring and food service.

Before returning to Nova Scotia in 2009 he lived in Montreal where he did marketing, graphic design and illustration. Rob graduated NSCAD in 2001 with a Bachelor of Design.

 Mr. Ross Cantwell

President, HRM Apartments



Ross Cantwell is a real estate consultant and developer with 25 years of experience in the industry. As a consultant he provides strategic advice to both the public and private sector on portfolio strategy, asset valuation and development approvals. Mr. Cantwell’s investment experience includes the operation of several retail pharmacies and the redevelopment and management of a portfolio of office and apartment buildings in Halifax/Dartmouth.

Mr. Cantwell is a former Certified Public Accountant and has a Masters Degree in Real Estate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was the founding President of the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, and is the current President of the Housing Trust of Nova Scotia (nonprofit housing), and a board member for the North End Business Association. Ross will sit as a member of the NSCAD Property and Finance Committee.


John Carruthers
Board Treasurer
Partner, Grant Thornton

BOG John Carruthers
Photo by Steve Farmer


John Carruthers is the lead partner for Specialist Advisory Services practice in Atlantic Canada for Grant Thornton LLP. A chartered accountant who specializes in corporate finance, John will serve as the treasurer of the Board of Governors and as the chair of the Financial and Physical Resources Committee.

John and his wife Jan are active community volunteers in Bedford and have three sons, Alex, Patrick and Nicholas.


Ms. Elizabeth Currie



Elizabeth Currie is an experienced executive who has spent over 30 years as a leader in the contact centre industry, retiring in 2011 as COO of Halifax-based Blue Ocean Contact Centre. She is a former Certified Market Research Professional and member of numerous industry associations.

She has been has been an advisor to the Ecology Action Centre, The Sacred Heart School and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

Elizabeth has three children and lives in Halifax and Mahone Bay with her husband, Rob Grant.


Mr. Robert (Rob) Dimitrieff
Niagara Energy Products

BOG - rob-dimitrieff
Photo by Steve Farmer

Robert Dimitrieff is a business leader operating in the realm of heavy industrial manufacturing. He graduated from NSCAD in 2003. During his undergrad years, he served in the Canadian Forces Reserve as an Artillery Gunner and Bombardier.

In 2003 he started as a Production Expeditor in Brantford Ontario. Robert became a Plant Manager of Bay City Forge in Erie PA in 2005, and in 2008 he graduated from the MBA program at Richard Ivey School of Business at UWO. From 2008 to 2010, Robert was the commercial/risk manager for a landmark $80 million Capital Project in North Jackson Ohio for Patriot Special Metals Inc. In 2010, he returned to Ontario and became Vice-President of Niagara Energy Products Corp.


Mrs. Margaret Fountain
BOG Secretary
Cultural Trustee, Philanthropist

Margaret Fountain BOG

Mr. Grant Machum
BOG Chairperson
Partner, Stewart McKelvey

BOG Grant Machum

Grant Machum is a Partner at the Atlantic law firm Stewart McKelvey and is the Firm Wide Practice Group Leader for Labour and Employment. He also serves on the Firm's Compensation Committee.

Grant is Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors of NSCAD University and chairs the Audit Committee. He is a Board member and Chair of Governance and Human Resources of Telefilm Canada; Board member of Halifax Adult Learning Society and Board member of Nova Scotia Yachting Association. Grant is involved in community fundraising.

Grant grew up in New Brunswick and resides in Halifax with his wife Jane and four children. He received his Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Dalhousie University (1986) and Law Degree from University of New Brunswick (1990).


Ms. Gillian McCain
New York, NY

BOG - Gillian McCain
Photo by Kate Simon

Gillian McCain is a writer who has resided in New York City for the past twenty-five years. She is the co-author (with Legs McNeil) of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk (Grove Press), which has been translated into twelve languages, and was named one of the Top Ten books of 1996 by both the New York Daily News and Time Out New York. She is also the author of two books of poetry, and from 1991-1994 she served as the Program Coordinator for the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery. She is a member of PEN, the Authors Guild, the Writers Guild and the League of Canadian Poets.

Gillian grew up in New Brunswick. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of King’s College, and a Masters in Literature from New York University. She is the President of the Board of Directors of the Poetry Project in New York.


Mr. Jim Mills
President & CEO Office Interiors


Jim Mills is President & CEO of Office Interiors. Launched in 1991 with showrooms in NS, NB and PEI,  Office Interiors is a long time member of the Top 101 Companies in Atlantic Canada, and in total employs 120 people.

A very active member of the community, Jim is a member of the Board of Governors of NSCAD University. He is past Chair of the Board of Directors of the IWK Health Centre and a past member of the Board of Trustees of the IWK Foundation. He was Chair of the 2006 United Way Campaign and is a past Treasurer of the Canada Council of YPO (Young Presidents Organization).  In 2006 he was named to the Hall of Fame for Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEOs.

Jim holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Acadia University (1982) and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Dalhousie University (1990).


Jeff Somerville
Partner, Venor Search Group

BOG Jeff Somerville
Photo by Steve Farmer


Jeff Somerville is a partner with Venor Search Group, a full service professional and executive recruitment firm serving the Atlantic region. (‘Venor,’ he informs, is Latin for ‘to hunt.’)

For the past 12 years, he has been a dedicated volunteer with Laing House, a support organization for youth living with mental illness.

On the NSCAD Board of Governors, Jeff will chair the Board’s Audit and Risk Oversight Committee.

Faculty representatives 

Dr. Rudi Meyer
Director, Master of Design Program

BOG - Rudi Meyer
Photo by Steve Farmer

Dr. Marylin McKay
Chair, Division of Historical & Critical Studies

Photo by Steve Farmer

Dr. Marylin McKay received her PhD in art history from the University of Toronto. Her current research focuses on Canadian landscape art. She is the author of A National Soul: Canadian Mural Painting, 1860s to 1930s (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2002); Picturing the Land. Narrating Territories in Canadian Landscape Art, 1500 to 1950 (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2011) as well as articles in scholarly journals and chapters in books on North American art.

Dr. McKay was the 2010 recipient of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Research Grant for her current project on, Walt Whitman, published in the “Walt Whitman Quarterly” (Summer 2012).

Dr. McKay is currently serving as Chair of NSCAD University’s Academic Council (senate), and Chair of the Division of Historical & Critical Studies.


Student representatives 

Ms. Sarah Trower
President, SUNSCAD

Photo by Steve Farmer

Sarah Trower is currently a full time under-graduate student in her 4th year at NSCAD University, studying Print-making, Painting, Drawing and Ceramics. Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, she was introduced to the arts community at a young age through family and friends and went on to attend Rosedale Heights School of the Arts. Currently the president of the NSCAD student union (SUNSCAD), she sits on the NSCAD Board of Governors. Sarah is committed to issues surrounding social justice and community organizing.



Alumni representatives 

Ms. Julia Rivard Dexter
BOG Vice-Chairperson
Partner, NOREX.CA

BOG - Julia Rivard

Born and raised in North Bay, Julia was a successful multisport athlete. She started her canoe-kayak career at the relatively late age of 19, moving to Dartmouth to pursue training. She was a member of the national kayak team for three years, winning top woman's team at the 1998 World Championships and placing ninth at the 2000 Olympics.

Julia completed a Bachelor of Recreation Administration degree at Dalhousie in 2000. In 2003 she completed her Bachelor of Graphic Design at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. After graduation, Julia founded and ran an incubation center for independent creatives called Queen Street Studios. Julia merged Queen Street Studios with website design and marketing firm Norex.ca in 2008, taking the position of Creative Director. Julia is also a partner in Norex's sister company SheepDogInc.ca, Google's Canadian migration and application development partner.

Julia is currently a member-at-large of the Canadian Olympic Committee and has three children.


Mary Elizabeth Luka

BOG Mary Elizabeth Luka
Photo by Steve Farmer

Mary Elizabeth Luka is a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar and doctoral candidate (ABD) in Communication and Media at Concordia University, where she’s probing the work of artists in relation to broadcasting and digital media.

Deeply involved with the culture sector, including as founding Vice-Chair of Arts Nova Scotia, Luka is an award-winning documentary producer/director for television and the internet, and a consultant in the arts, culture and media.


Life governors 

Dr. June Buchanan

Mr. Ross Christie

Mr. Tom Forrestall

Dr. Charles A.E. Fowler

Dr. Robert E. Geraghty

Ms. Deborah McLean

Mr. Gregory Silver

Mr. Frank Van Wie Penick

Ms. Charlotte Wilson Hammond


Honorary governors 

Dr. Paul Greenhalgh

Mr. Robert C. Hain

Mr. David Silcox

    Contact Information    (902) 494 8114