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Former CFL star running back named next chancellor at University of Calgary

Former CFL running back Jon Cornish gives remarks at the Class of 2019 Canadian Football Hall of Fame (CFHOF) event in Toronto on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Cornish has been named the new chancellor-elect at the University of Calgary.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

CALGARY — The University of Calgary named former CFL player Jon Cornish as its 15th chancellor-elect Friday.

The 37-year-old native of New Westminster, B.C., will begin his four-year term July 1. He will replace Deborah Yedlin, a former journalist and president of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

"Becoming the Chancellor of the University of Calgary is the greatest honour of my life," Cornish said in a statement. "In serving the students, alumni, staff, volunteers and faculty of the university, and the city of Calgary, I will champion the values of safety, inclusivity and achievement, helping make our great university the best in Canada."

The position is the school's most senior volunteer role and acts as an ambassador for the university in the community. 

Cornish spent nine seasons as a running back with the Calgary Stampeders (2007-15), helping the franchise win two Grey Cups (2008, '14). He was named the CFL's top Canadian three times (2012-14) and its outstanding player in 2013, the same year he also received the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's top athlete.

Cornish appeared in 140 career regular-season games, rushing for 6,844 yards (6.7-yard average per carry) and 44 touchdowns. He ran for 557 yards (6.1-yard average) in 12 career playoff contests, scoring two touchdowns.

He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2019.

After retiring from football, Cornish remained in Calgary to work as an investment adviser. He's also the founder and president of the Calgary Black Chambers, a non-profit that supports the needs of members of racialized communities.

"I'm thrilled to announce that Jon Cornish will become our next Chancellor," said Dr. Ed McCauley, the University of Calgary's president and vice-chancellor. "A key contributor in the community, promoting equity and inclusion to make Calgary better, and a legend for the nine years he played with the Calgary Stampeders, Jon Cornish exemplifies our core values as a committed volunteer and community leader.

"His work in the non-profit, and the finance and investment sectors also make him an outstanding fit as an entrepreneurial thinker."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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