Welcome Back and Happy 2016!

Dear members of the University community / Boozhoo / Aanii / Kwe kwe,

“It still has that new building smell!”, exclaimed one student who was walking last week through the hallway of the newly renovated Classroom Building.

“I’m going to like taking classes in this place…”, said another.

“The Classroom Building looks so new and fresh…”, wrote another student on Twitter.

“I’m off to teach my first class in the spectacularly renovated Classroom Building!”, tweeted a faculty member from the Faculty of Arts.

A colleague from the Faculty of Science tweeted, “Taught in classroom building @LaurentianU this am. 3 cheers for accessibility and inclusion and being able to roll to all my students”.

Another faculty member posted on Facebook, “I just gave my first lecture in the classroom building. It’s gorgeous! You should be very proud! I love the technology”.

Never mind the fact that you can now get from your class or office in the Parker Building to the J.N. Desmarais Library (or Starbucks) without putting on a jacket, the place is beautiful.

Ash wood sourced from Northern Ontario is incorporated into the design softening both the light and the sound. State-of-the-art audiovisual panels and smart-boards make it easier for professors to use the latest technologies, and the chairs are very comfortable. No more writing on the arm rests! The new desks are all on wheels so our classrooms are now creative spaces to grow creative minds.

The completion of the Classroom Building is an important milestone in an ambitious capital program. In the coming months, you will see the work in the Science buildings wrap-up, the Executive Learning Centre and the University Club will open their doors, while the School of Architecture, renovations to the Alphonse-Raymond Building and the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research Lab will be completed.

But a new year doesn’t always mean change. I have just come back from Ottawa having participated with Chancellor Steve Paikin in a long-standing tradition: the Laurentian University Political Science Association’s (LUPSA) 24th Model Parliament. Once again a magnificent success.

With every space on the bus full, students were treated with a tour of Parliament on Thursday night, but as always the big day was Friday.

At this year’s Model Parliament, a majority NDP government led by Prime Minister Anthony Costello made a convincing argument to have Ellen Page, Chris Hadfield, Perdita Felicien and Joseph-Armand Bombardier replace former Prime Ministers on Canadian currency; a motion that was ultimately successful. PM Costello also stood strong through a barrage of questions from all opposition parties.

You may also be interested to hear that a Liberal bill to reinstate conscription and a Conservative bill to combine Canadian and American militaries were narrowly defeated.

We were also fortunate to hear from two exceptional speakers. At lunch, we were joined by the new host of CBC’s Power and Politics, Rosemary Barton, who gave us the inside scoop on the #bartonbeating before running off to an interview with Minister Ralph Goodale. During the evening gala at the Château Laurier, we were joined by long-time CTV correspondent Craig Oliver, who explained how he was accidentally invited to dinner with President Ronald Reagan and the First Lady. Needless to say, you had to be there. Pictures of the event are found here.

It was great to have once again this year Professor Emeritus Dr. Rand Dyck spend most of the day with students, and to meet with students and alumni who are already busy planning for the 25th edition next January, which will include a very special alumni reunion.

Congratulations to Kayla May and the rest of LUPSA students, as well as colleagues from the Department of Political Science, on this wonderful event which brought together students from a wide-range of programs in Sudbury and Barrie.

Last week, we also hosted Justin Ferbey, President of the Yukon Development Corporation, as part of the Goring Family Lecture Series on Sustainable Northern Economic Development. On January 28th, we will host award-winning singer-songwriter and founding member of The Barenaked Ladies, Steven Page, for an evening talk entitled, “Ending the Stigma Surrounding Mental Health”, as part of the Dr. Dan Andreae Distinguished Presidential Lecture Series.

Finally, I invite all colleagues to attend the 2016 LU Rendez-Vous UL n Thursday, January 21st at 1:30pm in the Alumni Hall, where we will honour retirees and faculty and staff celebrating career milestones at Laurentian.

As always, I welcome comments on the blog or any other matter: you can reach me at dominicgiroux@laurentian.ca, or can join the 10,300 people who follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.

Merci, Thank you, Miigwech.

Concluding 2015 With A Nobel Prize and A Successful Giving Tuesday!

Dear members of the University community / Boozhoo / Aanii / Kwe kwe,

I regret not having been as regular with my blog postings this Fall, and I will attempt to be more disciplined in 2016! We have had an incredibly active term. My favorite highlights include:

  • The exceptional lecture by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield in front of 1,200 guests in the auditorium of the Fraser building and in two overflow rooms on campus;
  • The sunrise and groundbreaking ceremonies for the $3.4 million Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre;
  • The completion of the $7.5 million rehabilitation of the Single Student Residence and of renovations to classrooms and labs in the Alphonse-Raymond and Science buildings;
  • The buzz around Indigenous Education Week and Women’s History Week;
  • The breakfast, competition in the “bowling alley”, BBQ and holiday luncheon auction for the United Way Campaign;
  • Completing my tour of administrative departments;
  • Taking part in the Fall convocation ceremonies including the award of an honorary doctorate to Sue Johanson;
  • Joining the Laurentian University Alumni Association for its board retreat as it is developing its next strategic plan;
  • Announcing the launch of new bilingual degrees at the Bharti School of Engineering and of new specializations in French at the Faculty of Management effective 2016;
  • Hosting on campus the Greater Sudbury Business Xchange where our revised MBA program was announced;
  • Lending support at Greater Sudbury City Council for presentations on the proposed Place des Arts and Greater Sudbury Synergy Centre in the downtown core; and,
  • Hosting 400 colleagues, students, Governors, alumni and community leaders at our annual holiday open house at 179 John Street.

Two other developments were also very exciting: the flurry of awards involving the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNOLAB) and the success of Giving Tuesday.

Nobel Prize
The 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics was awarded to the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) Collaboration, represented by Queen’s University professor emeritus and SNO Project Director, Dr. Art McDonald. The $3-million prize was awarded at a ceremony hosted by comedian Seth Macfarlane at the NASA Ames Research Centre, with a one-hour version of the broadcast which aired on Fox on November 29th. I am proud to tell you that Laurentian was part of this global recognition and would like to extend a warm thank you to the many Laurentian faculty who have contributed to the SNO research, in particular, Dr. Doug Hallman, Dr. Jacques Farine, Dr. Rizwan Haq, Dr. Christine Kraus and Dr. Clarence Virtue, as well as numerous graduate students and post-doctoral researchers. Laurentian is deeply touched by your devotion to the advancement of Canadian scientific research. Congratulations to Dr. McDonald and the incredible team on this outstanding achievement!

On that note, there is this little thing called Nobel… I am so pleased to pay tribute to Dr. Art McDonald as the joint laureate of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for the research conducted on neutrinos in the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNOLAB), a collaboration between Laurentian University and five other Canadian universities. The award has shone a light on the important work carried out at the SNOLAB by Canadian and international scientists over the past 17 years. The caliber of these successes are instrumental to the positive progress of Laurentian University and the development of its research aspirations, not only in the community, but also at the international level.

We already have over 700 guests who have booked their tickets on-line for the free lecture by Dr. McDonald on December 17th at 7 pm in the auditorium of the Fraser building. An overflow room has already been secured. I hope to see you there!

Giving Tuesday
First came Black Friday… then Cyber Monday… and now we have Giving Tuesday. So what is Giving Tuesday? It is a National Giving Day where charities, companies and individuals join together online to share commitments, rally for favourite causes, and think about others.

And this year, on December 1, 2015, Laurentian University jumped-in with both feet! A total of $48,208 was raised and 134 members of the University community contributed to the success of Laurentian’s first Giving Tuesday campaign with the incredible support of donors. The response to the campaign exceeded beyond expectations. The spirit of giving at Laurentian is indeed remarkable.

I am so excited to share with you that on this day, and this day only, donors doubled their impact on Laurentian students with prominent donors pledging matching amounts for student financial aid, Voyageur Athletics, and Science and Engineering equipment. All thanks to generous alumni, faculty and staff! To learn more about the excitement about Laurentian’s Giving Tuesday campaign, click here.

Our generous donors help students achieve their academic goals, allow them to outperform and reach beyond what they ever dreamed possible. Making an impact is about more than leaving a mark – it’s about touching and changing lives in a dramatic way. Lisa Ludwig, a student-award recipient, shares her inspiring story here on the meaning of giving to Laurentian students.

Did you also know that Laurentian was trending on Twitter in Canada on Giving Tuesday morning? Faculty and staff tweeted messages about their contributions to encourage colleagues to donate. Students gave thanks to donors for their support and investment. Carol McAulay, Vice-President, Administration, donated $1 for every follower of click here . Dr. Ann Pegoraro, Associate Professor in the School of Sports Administration, captured the enthusiasm of Giving Tuesday with her tweet, “Hmm what to do on Twitter today – yesterday was much fun… how to follow that up??”. I couldn’t agree more!

Oh, and by the way, Laurentian University outdid other Canadian universities. Yes, that’s right, we raised more money than the University of Ottawa, the University of Waterloo, as well as the University of British Columbia. I would say that Laurentian’s Giving Tuesday campaign was a huge success!

A big thank you to the Laurentian University community and its supporters on Giving Tuesday! By giving to this important initiative, not only have you invested in a student’s bright future, but you have also provided an education in the spirit of philanthropy.

I wish you a happy and safe holiday season, and thank you for your all your hard work in the past year. I look forward to reconnecting in 2016!

As always, I welcome comments on the blog or any other matter: you can reach me at dominicgiroux@laurentian.ca, or can join the 10,200 people who follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn

Merci, Thank you, Miigwech.