Mahon appointed as 6th U of L President

The University of Lethbridge Board of Governors has appointed Dr. Michael J. (Mike) Mahon as the 6th President of The U of L.

His appointment takes effect July 1, 2010. Mahon succeeds Dr. Bill Cade, who held the position from 2000 and wraps up his tenure in 2010 to return to research and teaching.

Mahon (pronounced "Man") is a long-time Alberta resident, former Manitoban and currently Dean of the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta in Edmonton Alberta, where he has just completed a second term.

He is a vigorous proponent of physical activity for people of every age and ability and specializes in research focused on adapted physical activity with an emphasis on older individuals and persons with intellectual disabilities.

As well, he is working on several projects that bring a research focus to how sports and play can help children in developing countries by working with, and conducting research for, the Canadian Special Olympics organization and "Right to Play," a group which supplies sports equipment and support to children in developing countries.

Mahon holds a PhD in Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Master of Science in Physical Education from the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Manitoba.

"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," said 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 can continue his approachable style of leadership at the U of L."

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.

"I had always heard good things about the University of Lethbridge, but as I got more involved in the selection process for the presidency, it became apparent to me that there was a real vibrancy to the people and the research," Mahon said.

"The U of L has also managed to grow to become a comprehensive research university without losing sight of its undergraduate students and their experiences, and that is extremely important."

He added that as he and his spouse Maureen, an educator and university lecturer/researcher who specializes in early childhood development issues, met more people from the community and the University, it further solidified their decision to accept the position.

"We came away from our meetings quite energized, especially about the way in which the members of the selection committee and others we met welcomed both of us. Everyone was quite personable, welcoming and hospitable. This was also an opportunity to stay in Alberta, and live in a geographically unique environment that is close to the mountains."

The Mahons have three adult children, who are all either completing university studies in Edmonton or working full time.

Being the president of the U of L has been a lot of work but an incredible experience, current U of L President Bill Cade said.

"We have spent a considerable amount of time and effort refocusing the University as a comprehensive research institution, growing our campus, expanding our programs and enrolments, reaching out to the community and telling our story to Alberta, Canada and many parts of the world. 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 after July 1, 2010 to find the people and resources in place to ensure the sustainability and continued success of the University of Lethbridge -- among them a solid strategic plan, community support and engaged students. Elsa and I wish Mike, Maureen and their family well as they embark on this wonderful new opportunity."

Cade will take an administrative leave and return to research and possibly teaching duties. He is a zoologist/entomologist by profession and has maintained an active international research program, including the supervision of postdoctoral fellows and research students during his time as President.