Semester break offers opportunity to reflect

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

It's hard to believe the first semester is already coming to a close and the Christmas break is nearly upon us.

Since taking over the president's position in July, the last six months have been a whirlwind of activity, and never more than in the past few weeks. I was chastised the other morning by one of the regulars in the gym for being conspicuously absent, but thanks to a very heavy travel schedule that took me to a number of meetings in our national and provincial capitals, I have spent more time on airplanes than in gymnasiums.

A four-day trip to Ottawa with Vice-President, Research, Dr. Dan Weeks and Director, Government Relations, Richard Westlund, was extremely productive. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting with local MP Rick Casson and Prime Minister Stephen Harper in his Centre Block office. It was wonderful to be able to discuss with Prime Minister Harper the outstanding research that is being conducted here at the U of L and to outline the strategic goals of the institution as we move forward.

Open Mike
President Mike Mahon gives thanks as we head into the Christmas break.

I was also very fortunate to be able to address the Alberta Caucus, of which 17 Alberta MPs were able to attend. Subsequent meetings with members of the Senate, select MPs and deputy ministers, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach and the Alberta Rural Caucus, all served to educate our political leaders about the University's mandate. Our conversations spoke about the student-first culture we are creating, the focus on our continued emergence as a comprehensive university that embraces both graduate and undergraduate studies, the introduction of our community service learning model and the goal to make the
U of L a destination university for students from all corners of the globe.

The biggest task in the new year will be to follow up on these conversations and further explore the many initiatives that were discussed.

When I think of the Christmas season, I think of it as a time to take stock of all that we are thankful for, and looking around campus, I see many reasons to give thanks.

First and foremost, we must thank our students for choosing the University of Lethbridge and putting their faith in us to help them achieve their educational goals. The energy, life and enthusiasm they bring to campus create a vibrancy not found in any other workplace.

I want to thank our staff for their commitment to the U of L, making sure that the doors are always open, the lights are on, the classrooms are clean and the day-to-day operations of the University run as seamlessly as possible.

Our faculty, and their continued willingness to go above and beyond in ensuring our undergraduate students see success in the classroom, and our graduate students seek success in their research initiatives, also deserves to be thanked.

Maureen and I also want to thank the entire University community for accepting us into your family and making our transition to the U of L so comfortable.

As a way to express our thanks, I invite everyone to the annual Christmas Reception, Dec. 22 in the Atrium, where we can all take a breath after a busy semester and enjoy each other's company as we head into the semester break.

For a look at the full issue of the December Legend in a flipbook format, follow this link.