June 18th, 2024

University welcomes new President and Vice-Chancellor; Digvir Jayas to take on new role in July


By Lethbridge Herald on February 7, 2023.

Herald photo by Ry Clarke Digvir Jayas speaks during welcoming event on campus, where he will the University of Lethbridge’s seventh President and Vice-Chancellor, Tuesday at the U of L Science Commons Building.

Ry Clarke – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The University of Lethbridge welcomed its seventh president and vice-chancellor Digvir Jayas on Tuesday.

Welcoming Jayas and his wife, Manju to campus, the university staged a welcoming day event for the new president as he visited the inner workings of his new job.

Assuming his new role on July 1, Jayas will be coming to the ULethbridge campus from the University of Manitoba where he was the vice-president for research and international for the past 12 years.

Jayas says at the time of the search for a new president, the University of Lethbridge had not been on his radar. He was contacted by a consultant to consider applying for the job.

 “I started reading about the University of Lethbridge. The more I read about it, especially the university’s commitment to the things that I have been doing throughout my career, that if the committee felt I was the right person, I can contribute significantly. That made me decide to submit the application,” said Jayas. 

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

“Other members of the search committee would agree that doctor Jayas has a number of important attributes,” said Gallimore. 

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 Canada for “advancements to agricultural practices worldwide, and for his promotion of academic and scientific research in Canada.”

“The research that he has done in the past directly ties to southern Alberta, his area of research was in agriculture, he’s agricultural engineer. But more importantly, he is a tremendous individual, the Order of Canada is not something the comes easily, it is a testament to his character,” said Gallimore. 

“He has had tremendous administrative experience as the vice-president of research and internationalization at the University of Manitoba. He is a good fellow, listens to you, wants to collaborate, and he want to be successful. We are happy to have him here.”

Between now and July 1, Jayas will be working with a transition team to help ensure he is brought up to speed with the university, working with outgoing president and vice-chancellor Mike Mahon to make sure he has all the knowledge to make for a great transition. “I have spoken with Mike and he is super happy with the choice that was made, he has already started working with doctor Jayas to share information. Between now and July 1, they will be spending a great deal of time together, bringing all the issues up that might need to be brought up and allow doctor Jayas to hit the ground running come July,” said Gallimore.

Jayas says he is looking forward with getting to know the community of ULethbridge. 

“I want to certainly engage with the community. I want to get to know the campus, and when I say campus, I mean the faculty, the colleges, the professor’s and what they are doing. I want to also get to meet the community members, alumni of the university. Through discussions, I believe in a shared vision, or joint vision, rather than saying it’s a president’s vision. I want to have that university’s community vision, and then work together to achieve that,” said Jayas. 

Jayas will have an official ceremony during the fall convocation ceremonies of 2023. “Giving (students) a skill they are confident and ready to change the world, that is how they should feel when they leave the University of Lethbridge,” said Jayas. “They are going to tackle the difficult problems society is facing, and what contributions they can make.”

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