Open Mike

University of Lethbridge President Dr. Mike Mahon chats about what's happening in the University community

Welcome to the Fall 2010 Semester and welcome to my first opportunity to address you in the Legend.

The name we came up with for this column, Open Mike, represents exactly what I want to accomplish with this space. I see this as a forum where I can open the doors to the Office of the President and speak candidly to you, the faculty, staff and students of the University of Lethbridge.

It has been a whirlwind two months since I officially began my role as President of the U of L, and in that time I have learned a great deal about this exceptional institution.

I have talked previously about my initial perceptions of the University, how I was comfortable in the knowledge that it was a strong academic institution with a firm commitment to undergraduate education. I soon learned much more about the innovative research activities and outstanding and emerging graduate opportunities, but there is only so much you can glean from afar.

Now that I have had the opportunity to walk the campus and to meet those who make the University engine run, I have gained a whole new appreciation for the U of L and have begun to understand what is the essence of this place – its people.

Getting the chance to meet the people of the U of L through the Coffee with Mike sessions, as well as the formal and informal meetings I have taken part in, has been illuminating. Talking with you, listening to you and seeing you in your roles as stewards of the institution is truly inspiring.

As I've come to meet with people throughout the University, I've begun to understand the commitment that individuals have to the U of L. Whether it's professors, researchers, people working in an administrative capacity, those in physical plant, building maintenance or grounds, I am struck by how fundamentally committed everyone is to the success of the University and to the experiences of our graduate and undergraduate students.

Testament to that success has come in some amazing e-mails I have received from parents who have recently brought their sons or daughters to the U of L. They speak to the supportive and personal approach they've encountered progressing through the registration process. These testimonials speak to the level of professionalism and pride that exists throughout the various departments on campus.

This is a student-centred University and it is my commitment to maintain that focus as we move forward.

The last two months have also been busy for me in terms of getting to know the southern Alberta community. The U of L connects with its community on so many fronts and maintaining positive working relationships with the City of Lethbridge, local school divisions, media outlets, the Chamber of Commerce, health-care providers and our many other stakeholders is essential.

The vibrancy that is the University of Lethbridge is real, and with our students now back, I look forward to an exciting semester of learning and discovery on campus.