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Irene Thompson

Our Vice-Provost - Student Affairs

Irene Thompson began her journey at the University of Guelph in 1983, starting in Residence Life and steadily rising through the ranks in Student Housing to assume leadership positions. After serving as the Director of Student Housing Services for thirteen years, she was invited to step into the role of Interim Vice-Provost (Student Affairs). Irene's personal mission revolves around making a positive impact, and she firmly believes in the power of kindness and integrity, as well as the value of inclusivity for all.

As the first member of her family to achieve a university degree, Irene credits her Polish immigrant parents for instilling in her the belief that hard work and perseverance can lead to higher education. A lifelong learner, she has actively pursued various educational opportunities, attending conferences, workshops, and finally earning her Master of Business Administration degree from U of G in 2015.

Recognizing the challenges and rewards of university life, Irene has been a strong advocate for students' development as well-rounded individuals, scholars, and responsible citizens. She understands the importance of mental health and wellness support, and as a trained facilitator of Mental Health First Aid, she has conducted workshops both on and off campus.

In her dedication towards "service to others," Irene has taken on numerous volunteer roles throughout her professional career. Notably, she was elected twice to represent staff at U of G on the Board of Governors and served for six years. Additionally, she served as Co-Chair of the campus United Way Committee, excelling in achieving annual goals. Within the Ontario Association of College and University Housing Officers, she held various executive positions, including President, where she played a crucial role in professionalizing the field. Irene also founded the OACUHO New Professionals Training Institute and contributed to the development of other programs and strategic plans.

Beyond her university involvement, Irene is an active community member in Guelph. Her dedication to the annual United Way campaign led to her membership on the Board of Directors, Campaign Cabinet, and Governance Committees. Moreover, her interest in mental health led her to join the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington Board of Directors, where she currently holds the position of Vice-President.