Dr. Samarasekera was recently the 12th president of the University of Alberta, one of the top universities in Canada, and among the top 100 universities in the world. She holds a B.Sc. (in mechanical engineering) from the University of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), a M.Sc. (in mechanical engineering) from the University of California, was a Hayes Fulbright Scholar, and earned her Ph.D. (in metallurgical engineering) from the University of British Columbia.
Serving the community in a wider capacity, Dr. Samarasekera sits on the Boards of Directors of the Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), Magna International, and NINT (the National Institute of Nanotechnology), and has served as a member of Industry Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council and as Chair of the World Universities Network (WUN).
Dr. Samarasekera is member of the Royal Society of Canada, an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Engineering, and has received honorary degrees from the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, Université de Montréal, the University of Waterloo, the University of Western Ontario, and Queens University in Belfast, Ireland.