July 16th, 2024

New U of L president chosen to take the helm

By Lethbridge Herald on January 20, 2023.

Digvir S. Jayas, an internationally renowned agricultural engineering researcher, decorated professor and experienced academic leader, has been chosen as the University of Lethbridge's seventh president & vice-chancellor. University of Lethbridge photo

The University of Lethbridge is announcing the appointment of its seventh president and vice-chancellor.

Digvir S. Jayas, an internationally renowned agricultural engineering researcher, decorated professor, and experienced academic leader, has been chosen to take on the role, assuming his new position on July 1, 2023.

Jayas comes to ULethbridge from the University of Manitoba, where he was most recently was vice-president (research and international) for the previous 12 years. An accomplished researcher, Jayas is a former Tier I Canada Research Chair in Stored-Grain Ecosystems, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2018 was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for advancement to agricultural practices worldwide, and for his promotion of academic and scientific research in Canada.

Chairing the search committee for the new president was Dean Gallimore, ULethbridge Board of Governors Chair, saying Jayas excelled in all the areas the group identified as priorities.

“Throughout this process it became readily apparent that doctor Jayas is an outstanding relationship builder who has an innate ability to bring people together, whether it be as a professor, researcher or administrator,” said Gallimore. “That he also conducts a research program of vital importance to the southern Alberta region and has continually gravitated to leadership roles within a comprehensive research university as well as external national agencies made him the ideal person to be at the forefront of the next era of the University of Lethbridge.”

With a background conducting research related to the drying, handling, and storing of grains and oilseeds and digital image processing for grading and processing operation in the agri-food industry, Jayas sees his background aligning with the strategic directive of ULethbridge.

“Firstly, when I look at the University of Lethbridge, I see values that align with my values. This is a place that is committed to liberal education, committed to creating a respectful work environment for students, faculty and staff, and committed to the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion,” says Jayas. “I also see a desire to continue to grow research and further impact society through this valuable work, enhancing opportunities for researchers and the undergraduate and graduate students they mentor.”

Jayas was born in India, earning a Bachelor of Agricultural Engineering at G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology in Pantnagar, India. Coming to Canada for his graduate schooling, at the University of Manitoba (master of science, agricultural engineering) and the University of Saskatchewan (doctorate in agricultural engineering). Beginning his professional academic career at the University of Manitoba as an assistant professor in the Agricultural Engineering Department in 1985.

Jayas and his wife Manju have been married for 40 years with three sons and five grandchildren, all living in Winnipeg. He is looking forward to connecting with the southern Alberta community upon his arrival in Lethbridge.

“Coming from a small town and a farming background, I’m really interested in coming to southern Alberta and an agricultural community,” he says. “I want to engage with the local community and continue to build the strong relationship the University has within southern Alberta. When our students come to university, through their education their lives are transformed, and they become global citizens and contributors to the betterment of society. That is something I am excited to be a part of and something the entire community can take pride in.”

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