Dr. Michael Sharratt, former President of the RIA (2006 – 2016) and known to most as Mike, passed away on December 23, 2016. Under his leadership, together with that of RIA founder Ron Schlegel, the RIA grew from an idea to a unique-in-the-world infrastructure and Centre of Excellence for research and innovation in aging.
Mike’s contributions to RIA predated his 10-year tenure as President. While Dean of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo (1998-2005) Mike worked very closely with Ron Schlegel to strategize and facilitate the realization of Ron’s vision for a research institute that would drive research-informed innovation. Together, Mike and Ron shepherded the proposal through senate at UW, set out core collaboration agreements with the University of Waterloo and Conestoga College, fostered affiliate collaborations with other colleges and universities, and recruited a world-class team of researchers.
As President of RIA, Mike devoted his time, wisdom and passion to building a strong foundation for future success. He was instrumental in recruiting seven Schlegel Research Chairs as well as several affiliate researchers and a strong staff team. He continued to build RIA’s capacity to support and generate high-quality research as a mentor to many researchers and students. These researchers are now working on robust programs of research in highly relevant areas such as nutrition for healthy aging, workforce development, frailty, chronic disease management, team-based approaches to care, memory assessment and management, vascular aging, and mobility. This mentorship and unwavering support also extended to the RIA staff team. His door was always open.
Mike also had a passion for health promotion and physical activity. He instilled in all those he mentored the importance of giving back and helping others to live the best possible life. He was a driving force behind a number of initiatives that provided the support and resources to help older adults move more. There is no better example of his exceptional work on this front than the Michael T. Sharratt Program for Active Living. This signature program for older adults brings together Mike’s passions for research, physical activity, education and healthy aging.
Mike had an exceptional life and his accomplishments were many. He was driven and ambitious, but also caring and collaborative. This unique combination and his dedication to teaching, leadership and service impacted the lives of countless students, colleagues, and friends. He was truly a great man, and we miss him deeply.
A celebration of life will take place on January 14. For more information, please see the Obituary on Erb & Good’s website.
Read the University of Waterloo’s article “Remembering Michael Sharratt” in their Daily Bulletin.