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Caroline Cochrane BSW ‘99
Distinguished Alumni: Public Service Award
Caroline Cochrane's (BSW '99) political career began with a fervent desire to improve the lives of people living in her home territory. Now the outgoing premier of the Northwest Territories, she was first elected as an MLA in 2015 and became premier upon re-election in 2019. Her tenure proved eventful and challenging — the territory endured the COVID-19 pandemic, frequent flooding, and devastating wildfires during her term in office. She met each challenge with grit and compassion, leading the charge to implement 9-1-1 service in the NWT, advocating for greater support from the federal government to reduce wildfire risk and working to ensure women are well-represented at all levels of government.
Prior to politics, Cochrane worked in public service as a social worker and administrator. Her own lived experiences of homelessness, poverty and domestic abuse survival led her to become a champion of change for others in similar situations. She credits the education she received at the University College of the Cariboo (now TRU) with changing the course of her life and the lives of her children. She continues to have a passion for public service.
“I believe in my heart that if we can take care of our most marginalized people in society — people that are homeless, people that are low income, people that are struggling — then society as a whole will be better.”