Mahon installed as 6th U of L President

The Hon. Catherine Fraser, Chief Justice of the Province of Alberta, officially installed Dr. Michael James Mahon as the University of Lethbridge's 6th President and Vice-Chancellor on Friday.

The Installation ceremony, held at the U of L's 1st Choice Savings Centre for Sport and Wellness, was a celebratory affair as Mahon addressed students, staff and faculty from the U of L as well as University supporters.

University of Lethbridge Board of Governors Chair Bob Turner says Mahon has already made significant inroads in his brief time at the helm – in particular connecting with students, faculty members and staff to learn about the inner workings of campus. He looks forward to the future of the University under his direction.

"Mike and Maureen Mahon may be new to the community but they are making an impact, even in these few short months," says Turner. "Along with the members of our Board of Governors, I am extremely pleased to be working with Mike and our senior leadership team as they move the University forward."

An accomplished kinesiology researcher, Mahon holds a PhD in Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an MSc in Physical Education from the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Manitoba.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Man., 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 six years. He joined the University of Alberta in 2000 and served two terms as the Dean of the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation. His current research is in the field of adapted physical activity with an emphasis on intellectual disability and sport for development.

With his inaugural address to the community, Mahon says his primarily role is to support and serve the people who comprise the University community.

"As I begin my first year as president, I assure you, our university will continue to provide each and every student with the most vital and engaging learning environment in the country. I believe in collaboration, trust, foresight, listening and empowerment."

He acknowledges the U of L's more than 40-year evolution from a small and very successful primarily undergraduate university to a research-intensive, comprehensive university focusing on undergraduate and graduate studies.

"This is a place where ideas ignite thanks to inspired teaching combined with superior research," says Mahon. "The U of L is a place where a collaborative community of scholars and researchers has built a culture of support – for students, both undergraduate and graduate, for each other and for the broader communities of southern Alberta and beyond. Everyone at this university and in this community contributes to our success."

Mahon also introduces another concept that he is planning to implement: a fundamental belief in the importance of community service learning outside of the classroom.

"As part of a school-based volunteer requirement, I worked at an institution for children and adults with severe intellectual disabilities. This experience was the impetus for 33 years of work dedicated to understanding and supporting people with disabilities."

Mahon says his volunteer experience and subsequent career in disability studies had a significant influence on his philosophy of education.

"In keeping with that philosophy, it is my goal to ensure that during my tenure as President and continuing thereafter, each of our U of L students has an opportunity to complete at least one community-based experience during their undergraduate program.

"We are committed to building a University culture that promotes social responsibility and community engagement. We have an obligation to give back to the community that supports us, and our students have an obligation to give back to the community that welcomes them and enables their education."