July 2001

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'Public Protection is the Reason I'm Here' Dr. Norman Wagner Says the APEGGA Mission Spells Out His Role


There's a key justification for Dr. Norman Wagner's presence around the APEGGA Council table. And it's right there in the Association's Mission, the part about protecting the public.

"I think that's the issue. That's the role I have on Council," the Calgary resident told The PEGG after his first meeting of a three-year appointment. "If that wasn't there, I wouldn't have accepted the job."

The perspective he brings to meetings, said Dr. Wagner, 66, is that of both an academic and a business person, but one with no vested interest in the APEGGA professions. "I'm willing to do my part, but as sort of an outsider. I'm not an engineer or a geoscientist. I'm strictly a representative of the public."

He does, however, have plenty of experience in group decision-making. "I've dealt with issues of governance, funding and government. That's something that may or may not be important."

Dr. Wagner was president and vice-chancellor of the University of Calgary from 1978 to 1988. From 1962 to 1978, his academic career was in Eastern Canada at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont. -- first as professor of near Eastern languages, literature and archaeology, and then as dean of graduate studies and research.

The private sector beckoned in 1988, and Dr. Wagner became chairman of the board of Alberta Natural Gas Co. Ltd. In 1991, he became chairman, president and chief executive officer of the company, leaving in 1994.

From 1996 to 2000, Dr. Wagner was president of the Corporate-Higher Education Forum, and is now chairman and CEO of knowledge@work, chairman of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award Program, and chairman of the board of Knowledge Navigators Inc.
Dr. Wagner has a wide range experience in public service as well. Among his past positions are chairman of the Canadian Museum of Nature, chairman of the Alberta Universities Coordinating Council, chairman of the Council of Western Canadian University Presidents, a director on the organizing committee of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, a founding trustee of the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, and founder of the Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

He is an officer of the Order of Canada, President Emeritus of the University of Calgary, has an honorary law degree from Wilfrid Laurier, and is honorary patron of Ecole Biblique et Archeologique Francaise, Jerusalem, the Library Project.

Now he has APEGGA councillor to add to his resume, where he joins mid-term public members Hugh Planche and Judy Williams. "I thought it was very interesting," Dr. Wagner said after his first Council meeting. "I'm just trying to feel my way and find out what it's all about."

Born in Edenwold, Sask., Dr. Wagner received his bachelor of arts with a major in divinity from the University of Saskatchewan in 1958. He received his master's in 1960 and his Ph.D. in 1965, in near eastern studies, both from the University of Toronto.
He and his wife, Catherine, have three children and one grandchild.

Dr. Norman Wagner



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