Dr. Ralph Nilson has over forty years teaching undergraduate and graduate students, research and scholarship, international education, and senior leadership in universities across Canada and the United States. He developed an externally funded research program in physical activity, population health and community development. He is recognized for his values based leadership approach and advocates for access to excellence in post-secondary education.

He continues to be actively engaged in working with communities and recognizes the important role of post-secondary education success to the economic and social prosperity of the communities and society in which we live. His persistent support for building pathways and access for populations disproportionately represented among postsecondary graduates has been evidenced throughout his career. He continues to support capacity building for indigenous youth, youth impacted by the multi dimensions of poverty and the reduction of the systemic barriers that persist. He fosters opportunities to attract and retain international talent in Canada through post-secondary education.

More recently, Canada’s Gov. Gen. Mary Simon announced on Dec. 29, a class of 135 appointees to the Order of Canada, including Nanaimo’s Ralph Nilson “for his exemplary leadership as a university administrator, and for his student advocacy and commitment to the process of reconciliation.”