While the University of Waterloo is known for its people who take ideas into the high-tech marketplace, Ronald Schlegel (LLD '05) has shown how innovation in the applied health sciences can transcend academia.
Schlegel is highly respected for the programs, firmly rooted in science, that he develops for the elderly and those who are struggling with Alzheimer's disease.
As a professor in the applied health sciences (AHS) faculty between 1972 and 1991, Schlegel was the architect behind the establishment of the health studies and gerontology department in 1973 as well as the development of the MA and PhD programs. In 2005, Schlegel was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Waterloo. He also founded the Schlegel - University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging in 2005 and co-founded both the Centre for Applied Health Research and the Murray Alzheimer Research Education Program (MAREP), the latter with Kenneth Murray.
As president of Winston Park Retirement Care Community and Oakwood Retirement Communities Inc., Schlegel operates long-term care facilities in Ontario, where innovative ideas developed at the University of Waterloo enhance the quality of life for seniors.
Schlegel has advised government on mental health issues and served on several boards that serve both emotionally disturbed children and adults with mental illness.
While his career has been devoted to improving the lives of seniors, Schlegel has had time to indulge his life-long passion for agriculture, operating commercial chicken and turkey farms for many years. He is also interested in land development where he takes a new urbanism approach to design pedestrian-oriented, healthy communities and neighbourhoods, rather than mere subdivisions based on roads and sewers.
Schlegel has enjoyed personal success in the professional realm but has always balanced it with charitable work and his concern for the well-being of others.