The Canada West Universities Athletic Association is pleased to announce Diane St-Denis as its first-ever full time executive director.

St-Denis will take over from retiring executive director Val Schneider. Schneider has served Canada West as a student-athlete, coach, athletic director and executive director since the 1970s.

The Canada West executive director is responsible for the overall direction, daily functions and future vision of the conference, one of four in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).

“We want to thank Val Schneider for his dedicated service to Canada West and CIS over the years,” said Canada West president Basil Hughton. “His valuable leadership, vision and service to our conference will not be forgotten.

“We are very excited to start this journey with Diane St-Denis. She brings a wealth of experience to our association and will be instrumental in assisting to move Canada West to the next level.”

St-Denis brings 20 years of experience in amateur sport including a strong familiarity with university sport after a seven-year stint with CIS as the director of events and programs from 1992-98 as well as 10 years as associate athletic director at Simon Fraser University from 1998-2008.

Most recently, the University of Ottawa graduate has worked as the executive director for Judo BC, as well as a Communications Specialist for the Canadian Olympic Committee. At Judo BC, St-Denis was responsible for the direction and coordination of Judo BC including the administration, membership management, finances, funding, marketing and communications strategies. With the COC, she was the liaison between the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games on issues, activities and announcements.

“University sport has always been my first passion and am I honoured to have the opportunity to return to Canada West in the role of Executive Director,” said St-Denis. “I look forward to working with the Canada West members, our partners and CIS colleagues to continue building a conference that is recognized as a leader in sport in Canada.”

In her career, St-Denis has worked in a variety of amateur sports at the national level, including speed skating and weight lifting.

St-Denis, who will be based in Vancouver, begins her new position July 23.