Jim Dinning is a home grown Albertan. He grew up in Calgary, where he attended Elbow Park and Rideau Park schools and graduated from Western Canada High School in 1970. He went on to Queen’s University, where he earned two degrees: a bachelor of commerce and a master’s in public administration.
Dinning's career spans both government and business. Following graduation, he worked in Alberta's public service, rising to become the government's youngest deputy minister in Federal and Intergovernmental Affairs in 1984.
First elected to the Alberta Legislative Assembly for Calgary Shaw in 1986, Dinning was re-elected twice thereafter. During his 11 years in office, he served in a number of cabinet portfolios, notably as minister of education and provincial treasurer.
Dinning retired from elected life in 1997 and began his business career as a senior executive with TransAlta until 2004. Today, he is chair of Western Financial Group and Liquor Stores NA Ltd. He is the former chair of Export Development Canada. He also serves as director of a number of public and private companies and not-for-profit organizations. He was previously the volunteer chairman of the Calgary Health Region and is currently chairman of the Canada West Foundation.
In recognition of his community service, Dinning was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Calgary in 2002. In June of 2010, he was elected the 12th chancellor of the University of Calgary.