The University of Lethbridge has found its sixth President, announcing Thursday afternoon that Dr. Mike Mahon will assume the role of President on July 1, 2010, following the tenure of Dr. Bill Cade, who held the position from 2000.
"This is a very exciting opportunity for me and my family," says Dr. Mahon. "I am coming to an institution committed to the undergraduate student experience and connecting effectively with the southern Alberta community. At the same time, an important direction has been penned through the strategic plan that relates to the U of L continuing its growth as a more comprehensive research university."
Dr. Mahon comes to the U of L after serving two terms as Dean of the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta. A vigorous proponent of physical activity for people of every age and
His reputation as a personable, community-minded individual, coupled with an outstanding research record and proven leadership abilities made him the ideal candidate for the position.
"We were looking for an individual who would not only embrace the University's ideals as a community of scholars and leaders, but who could also continue to engage our students and the broader community on a regional, national and international scale," says Bob Turner, the Chair of the University of Lethbridge Board of Governors.
"Dr. Mahon has a unique combination of skills and a proven research, community service and administrative track record in Manitoba and Alberta which gives us a high level of confidence that he will continue his approachable style of leadership at the U of L."
Dr. Cade fully endorsed the hiring process and expressed his desire to make the transition of the presidency as smooth as possible. He is proud to hand over the reins of a continually emerging University.
"We have spent a considerable amount of time and effort refocusing the University as a comprehensive research institution, expanding our programs and enrolments, and telling our story to Alberta, Canada and many parts of the world," says Dr. Cade. "I am very proud of all the people who have helped with that process, and who keep the U of L 'running' both academically and operationally. I am confident that Dr. Mahon will come to work on July 1 to find the people and resources in place for his continued success, a solid strategic plan, community support and engaged students. Elsa and I wish Mike and his family well as they embark on this new career journey."
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Man., Dr. Mahon began his academic career at the University of Manitoba in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation Studies in 1987. During his tenure there he served as Director of the Health, Leisure and Human Performance Research Institute for five years and as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs for three years. He joined the University of Alberta in 2000.
His current research is in the field of adapted physical activity with an emphasis on ageing and intellectual disability, and sport for development.
"I always knew the U of L as a very good university but I learned through the interview process that it was much more than an excellent undergraduate institution, that there was a vibrancy of research activities and a real desire to become even more comprehensive in focus," says Dr. Mahon.
His body of work has included more than 250 presentations, workshops, lectures and publications including more than 90 articles in refereed journals, book chapters and books. Most recently he published "Introduction to Recreation Services for People with Disabilities: a Person-Centred Approach", which he co-authored with Dr. Charles Bullock of San Jose State University.
In addition to his research, Dr. Mahon serves on numerous faculty and university bodies, and professional organizations related to the promotion of physical activity and sport.
Married to wife Maureen, an accomplished educator who specializes in early childhood development issues, the couple has three children, Katie (23), Brennan (21) and Seann (20). Both Brennan and Seann currently attend the University of Alberta while Katie is the assistant manager of a local Edmonton business.
Dr. Mahon's decision to come to the U of L was a family one and reflected the welcoming attitude he received from the selection committee.
"My greatest impression so far with the U of L is the people," he says. "They have been genuine, they have been bright and they've really wanted to connect in a personal way and that's fundamentally why we're so excited about the opportunity."