Docherty hired as Mount Royal University president

First setting foot on campus 31 years ago, political science professor, former dean of arts and current senior advisor on multi-campus initiatives David Docherty is leaving Wilfrid Laurier University to take on the role of president of Calgary’s Mount Royal University.

Docherty attended Laurier as a student between 1980 and 1984 and after completing his Master’s and PhD in Political Science elsewhere, returned to Laurier as a professor in 1994.

“Leaving here, it’s the people. There are 10,000 things I like about this place and they all have faces,” Docherty said.

“Some of my closest friends are here.”

“This is a place where I can’t remember one day that I didn’t want to go in to the office.”

In his time at Laurier as a student, Docherty was a contributor to The Cord, reporting and writing stories on the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union (WLUSU) in his second and third years. He successfully campaigned for WLUSU vice-president in 1983.

Upon returning to Laurier in 1994, Docherty taught statistics and courses on Canadian politics and was chair of the political science department throughout the early 2000s. He became the dean of arts in 2005, a position he held for four years.

“I am going to miss being in the classroom,” he said, noting that while dean of arts he still taught classes all but one year. He said that he hopes to still manage to teach in some capacity in his new position at Mount Royal. “I quite enjoy getting to know the students, it was a great opportunity to talk to them and it can be very informative.”

Mount Royal University was, from 1911 until 2009, Mount Royal College and has approximately the same number of students as Laurier – though currently it only offers undergraduate programs.

Docherty said he felt prepared to enter the role of president. “I certainly have a few thoughts on where I think it might move,” he said. “I really want to spend the first few months listening to people and getting a sense of things.”

His main area of research, provincial politics will be relevant in his close relationship with the Alberta government in his new role, he said.

“I’ve always tried to be careful of what I say, but I’ll have to really curtail my public comment on the political process because these are individuals I’ll be working with on a very close basis.”

He declined to say how long the move to Mount Royal had been a possibility, just that the selection committee had been working toward a decision for more than a year.

“[Mount Royal] is in the building process of creating more degree programs which is fun,” he said, noting that while degree offerings were in place prior to 2009, the university is still undergoing some growth.

“It’s got a great group of people, certainly the time I’ve spent there so far makes me think that it will be just as fun going to work every day there as it is here.”
“I’ve got to clean my desk, I’m not sure if university presidents can have desks this messy.”