Michael (Mike) Sharratt, distinguished professor emeritus, former dean of applied health sciences and president of the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging, died on Friday, December 23, 2016.
He joined the University of Waterloo in 1974 as assistant professor of kinesiology in the recently formed Faculty of Human Kinetics and Leisure Studies. He served as chair of the Department of Kinesiology from 1980 to 1986 and associate dean, graduate studies and research from 1991 to 1995. He was appointed dean of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences in 1998 and reappointed through 2005.
An expert in physiology and the plasticity of aging, he built an impressive record of teaching and of service to his profession and the community. He was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008 and inspired decades of students with his profound knowledge and passion for helping people with heart disease. He was a former president of the Canadian Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation, and of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, and co-chaired the development of Health Canada’s Physical Activity Guides for Children and Youth. Off-campus, Sharratt spent many years as an international wrestling official including two Olympic Games, dozens of world championships and was inducted into the Canadian Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1994.
Throughout his time at UWaterloo, Sharratt was a visionary, catalyst and collaborator. He excelled at bringing together people with a vision and capacity to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts. He was a founding member of the Waterloo Regional Cardiac Rehabilitation Foundation Inc. (Hardy Hearts). He was instrumental in establishing the Lyle S. Hallman Institute for Health Promotion and the Manulife Wellness Centre where he was the major energy behind the development of community and clinical exercise programs including UW Fitness, UW WELL-FIT and Teens in Motion. After more than a decade of planning and lobbying, an innovative partnership spearheaded by Ronald Schlegel led to the creation of the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging and Ontario’s (RIA) first purpose-built teaching long-term care home on a university campus. As part of his legacy, these programs have not only changed lives but provide models and lessons to be replicated for years to come.
Sharratt retired from UWaterloo in 2007 but continued his role as executive director and later president of the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging until earlier this year.
“Mike was a force of nature, seizing opportunities to build and develop this Faculty that he cared passionately for,” says James Rush, dean of Applied Health Sciences. “His dedicated leadership of AHS was instrumental in assembling and nurturing what is now his legacy of outstanding people, programs and places. As we grieve his passing we are strengthened by his example of dedicated servant leadership.”
The Sharratt family will receive family and friends at Knox Waterloo Presbyterian Church on Saturday, January 14, 2017. Visitation from 1:30 – 2:45 p.m. followed by a Celebration of Life at 3:00 p.m. Reception to follow. As expressions of sympathy, donations to the University of Waterloo Michael T. Sharratt Award, Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging or University of Waterloo WELL-FIT may be arranged online through the Erb & Good Family Funeral Home or 519-745-8445.