Former Chancellors

Geraldine Van Bibber 2012-2016

Geraldine Van Bibber was born and raised in the Yukon, having grown up in Dawson City. She is the former Administrator of the Yukon Territory (2001-2005), and served as Commissioner of the Yukon from 2005 to 2010.

During her time as Chancellor, Geraldine saw the College through a transformation of the Chancellor’s role at convocation. She became a more active participant in the conferring of credentials upon students. As well, Ms Van Bibber was a tireless advocate for Yukon College, both within the territory and Outside.

For over 25 years, Geraldine played a pivotal role in the development of the Yukon travel industry. She was integral to the formation of the Yukon First Nation Tourism Association in 1992, and has been on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Tourism Commission, Aboriginal Tourism Canada, the Yukon Tourism Education Council, the Yukon Advisory Council on Women’s Issues and the Government of Yukon’s Business Development Fund.

Rolf Hougen 2008-2012


Chancellor Hougen has been an active advocate for education in the North for several decades. He was part of a small team working to drive the development of a proposed university in the early 70's and today he continues to be a proponent of a Yukon university. Chancellor Hougen is well-known and respected throughout Yukon. While Chancellor, Mr. Hougen was instrumental in moving the endowment lands discussion forward. In fact, there were several issues during his years as Chancellor, where he was able to facilitate discussion and create movement on business related issues.

In 1987 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada and in 1980 an Honorary Consul for France. In 1992 he was awarded the "Order of National Merit" from France. A former director of Finning Ltd., Alberta Power Ltd., Cominco Ltd, and Northwestel, Mr. Hougen is a business powerhouse. He is president of the Hougen Group of Companies and has also been president of Klondike Broadcasting (CKRW) and Northern Television Systems (WHTV), and Whitehorse Motors (Ford). He was the Founder and Chairman of Canadian Satellite Communication (CANCOM). He served many years as a director of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and was its Chairman in 1989-90.

In the 80s and 90s he won several awards, including the Yukon Businessman of the Year, the Yukon Sourdough Lifetime Achievement Award, the Commissioner’s Award and in 2011, the National Business for the Arts Award. Mr. and Mrs. Hougen are blessed with six children and eighteen grandchildren - his greatest pride - all of whom make Whitehorse their home.

Sam Johnston Chancellor 2004-2008


Sam Johnston was Chancellor of Yukon College from September 2004 to August 2008. He was born and raised in Teslin, Yukon and is a well respected elder of the Ishkitan Clan of the Teslin Tlingit Council. Sam was active for many years at the College, encouraging and teaching students in traditional native studies. He was one of the Yukon First Nations Chiefs who presented the grievance statement, Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow, to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1973, which became the basis of the Yukon land claim. Sam had a lengthy political career in the Yukon that included the role of Chief of the Teslin Tlingit council for over 14 years. He was elected as an MLA and was the first First Nation Speaker of the Yukon Legislative Assembly. He is known for his involvement in Dene Games and archery and is also an active Tlingit dancer. Sam is a recipient of the Yukon Commissioner's Award and in 1993 he was inducted into Sport Yukon's Hall of Fame.

Ken McKinnon Chancellor 2000-2004


Ken McKinnon was Chancellor of Yukon College from September 2000 to August 2004. He has been a long-time resident of Yukon, but was born and educated in Winnipeg, Manitoba and received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Manitoba. Ken has held many leadership positions and made significant contributions to the development of the Yukon Territory. He was the youngest member of the Yukon Legislative Assembly in 1961 and served three terms, where he was involved in the transferring of federal responsibilities to the territorial government. Ken was the first President of the Arctic Winter Games, the first Chair of the Yukon Anniversaries Commission and Yukon Commissioner from March 1986 to June 1995. He was involved in the creation of Kluane National Park and is currently the Chair of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board. He was made an Honorary Chief of the Yukon Native Brotherhood for his support of the original land claim on behalf of Yukon First Nations. Ken is a recipient of the Governor General's Centennial Medal, Canada 125 Medal and the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal.

Pearl Keenan Chancellor 1993-2000


Pearl Keenan was Chancellor of Yukon College from December 1993 to August 2000. She was born along the Nisutlin River in Southern Yukon in 1920. Pearl is named after her maternal grandmother, Taukuk laa, which means Mother of the Taku River. She is an Elder of the Teslin Tlingit and has six grandchildren. Pearl has worked to preserve and teach the Tlingit language and is known for her community involvement. She has held a variety of positions, from working with children as a home school coordinator in the British Columbia public school system, to counseling inmates in prisons in the Vancouver area. Pearl has also worked with the Selkirk Healing Centre and Selkirk Foundation for Youth in Manitoba, conducting workshops on various themes from parenting to spirituality. In the Yukon she has worked closely with the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre, developing the prenatal program. She has operated summer camps for children and sits on a number of boards and committees. Pearl was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2007.

Pierre Berton Chancellor 1989-1993


Pierre Berton was Chancellor of Yukon College from July 1989 to November 1993. He was born in Whitehorse, Yukon in 1920. Pierre was the son of a gold-seeker and worked in the Klondike mining camps during his university years. He then served four years in the army at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. He went on to become an editor and columnist at newspapers and magazines, a television personality and an author. His books range from anthologies, to narratives of the North, to children's books. Pierre is now among Canada's most well-known authors with 50 published books, many of which are considered Canadian classics. He received a number of honorary degrees and literary awards. He is a Companion of the Order of Canada and was inducted into Canada's Hall of Fame in 1998. Pierre passed away in 2004 in Toronto, Ontario after publishing his last book entitled, Pioneers of the North, which was a collection of biographical sketches on five of Canada's northern explorers. Yukon College offers a scholarship in his honour.