Great Beginnings, Big News…

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

The pace of events in our University community has been unrelenting, and sometimes a little exhausting!  But it’s also exhilarating.  There is much going on, and much progress to report to you in this latest blog posting.



At long last, we’ve settled on the future home of the Laurentian School of Architecture.  This step forward means we can now begin the serious work of imagining and designing what is sure to be a tremendous landmark in the centre of our city.  After months of planning and much work, the purchase of our preferred site – the Market Square property at Elm and Elgin Streets – was approved by the Greater Sudbury City Council. Laurentian, the School of Architecture Project Committee and the design team at Levitt Goodman are all thrilled about the possibilities this site presents. The Laurentian School of Architecture will welcome its first 70 students in September 2013 in the current Market building, while construction for the remaining 65,000 sq ft will be underway on adjacent space on the same site.

Open House


On November 12th, over 200 students, faculty and staff kept busy on the Sudbury campus, ushering in potential future students. We hosted close to 1,000 visitors from all across Ontario, young people and their parents getting a first-hand look at what Laurentian University has to offer. It’s exciting to speak with prospective students and their families, and it’s always gratifying to me to see just how impressed they are when they see our beautiful campus and deal with our engaging and responsive faculty staff.  By all reports, they enjoyed their weekend with us and we certainly hope to seeing most of them back here as new students in September 2012.

Towards a downtown presence in Barrie


Barrie City councilors voted on November 14th to approve a municipal contribution of $14 million toward the establishment of a downtown university campus.  This decision follows a presentation to City Council by Laurentian University on September 26th, outlining Laurentian’s vision for a $60 million academic facility of 162,000 sq ft serving 3,000 students. Laurentian University also pledged $14 million towards the project.  We continue to work toward the next step in the process: taking part in the upcoming provincial process to determine Ontario’s three new undergraduate campuses.


Employee Engagement


This past week, our Leadership Group met to share feedback from their faculties and administrative departments on the Have Your Say survey results.  Joining us were Tom Fenske and Ashley Thomson, who shared important insights with us from LUSU and LUFA. I congratulate the administrative departments where a number of tangible individual and team commitments have already been made to improve specific dimensions in the future. We have received valuable input from faculty and staff on next steps. Flowing from that, we’re pursuing more conversations to identify university-wide areas of focus. I look forward to communicating more on these very shortly.

2012-2017 Strategic Plan


Laurentian’s strategic plan received endorsement last Tuesday from Senate.  This document is truly the result of an exceptional degree of engagement at all levels of our university community, and I am grateful for the level of participation and the collective energy that went into it. There were more than 800 “touch points” from students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members throughout the process since February and I look forward to presenting our final five year strategic plan to the Board of Governors in December. After that, we’ll be talking about some of the highlights of the plan in greater detail. I think you’ll find it energizing and exciting.


Sudbury’s Top 40 Under 40


Sudbury’s young leaders were recognized on Thursday at the 40 Under Forty awards ceremony sponsored by Northern Ontario Business.  These young leaders represent the bright future of our community and their talent, ambition and success was acknowledged and celebrated during the awards presentation.  I am especially proud to report that this year, more than half of the recipients are either Laurentian students, alumni, faculty or staff. I would like to extend my congratulations in particular to Yunni Jeong, Dr Christine Kraus, Sara Kunto, Tracy MacLeod, Kristeen McKee, Chris Mercer, and Dr Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde who were among the recipients!

Toronto Celebrates Sudbury

Another exciting celebration took place on Thursday in Toronto. The first Toronto Celebrates Sudbury dinner was held in the Distillery District hosted by Perry Dellelce managing partner of Wildeboer Dellelce LLP and co-chair of Laurentian’s Sudbury Families initiative. The event brought together people who are either from Sudbury or have ties to Sudbury, who now live in the Greater Toronto Area. The evening celebrated Sudbury and its heritage, and provided an opportunity for Perry and his friends to give back to the Sudbury community. I was impressed by the incredible detail that had gone into planning this event and wish to express my gratitude to the hundreds of participants for supporting Laurentian University.

Margaret Atwood Event


Laurentian and the Sudbury community were as honored again this year to host Canada’s best known poet and author, Margaret Atwood, on her annual birthday visit.  This marks the fourth year that Ms. Atwood has joined us for a dinner party and fund-raising event. This year, the proceeds raised will be used to endow a Laurentian University scholarship in her name. It is a lasting legacy of the long and happy relationship between our university community and Ms. Atwood. Thank you to Dr. Susan Paterson Glover and Dr. Shannon Hengen for pursuing this great tradition.

Hilary M. Weston Scholarship Winners


So many of our Laurentian students do us proud every day. Another recent example is Hiren Rawal,research assistant in Laurentian’s School of Social Work. Hiren is a 2011 recipient of the Hilary M. Weston Scholarship, which will support his research into mental health, homelessness and the foster care experience of Northern Ontario youth.  Last year, Maaria Blackwell-Moxam was honoured with the same scholarship. Maaria holds Laurentian University degrees in Gerontology and Social Work.

Go Voyageurs!


There were several exciting moments in sports recently. The National Rowing Championships (Olympic qualifier) was held last week in Welland where Carling Zeeman placed third in the senior women’s race and as a result was 1st in the U23 women’s category.  Carling won gold at the Canadian University Championships the previous weekend finishing 12 seconds ahead of her closest competitor. Congratulations to our National Champion who earned the Canadian University Rowing Female Athlete of the Year!

As for swimming, the Laurentian Aqua Vees and Voyageurs competed in the Tihanyi Divisional Championships a week ago in Toronto and had some strong showings. On the women’s side, Emily Jones had three top-5 finishes and Brittany Maltais finished first in the 50m breaststroke. Jones qualified for the CIS Championships in the 50m and 100m backstroke while Maltais qualified in the 50m breaststroke. Laurentian will be hosting the OUA Championships from February 9th to11th.

Although soccer season has come to a close I want to acknowledge that the Laurentian Men’s and Women’s soccer teams both qualified for playoffs this season.  This is a first in the university’s history.  Even though we did not bring home the gold this year, I am proud of their efforts and look forward to cheering on both of our teams throughout next season.

As usual, I welcome comments and questions on the topics discussed in my blog postings, or any other matter that may be of concern to you. My email is:

You can also join the 2,500 people who follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Merci/Thank you/Miigwech

Recognizing excellence, recruiting students … growing moustaches

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

There has been plenty of excitement around the University in this busy fall season.  The Maclean’s annual university rankings were released a few days ago and I was very happy to see Laurentian’s overall ranking climb again.  Although no rankings are perfect, it is always nice to see our momentum in both Sudbury and Barrie captured by some of the national rankings. In the past two years we have increased our overall position in Maclean’s by seven ranks, to 11th in the primarily undergraduate category – the biggest jump of any university in Canada during that period.

This improvement over the past two years is due largely to the fact that relative to other universities, we have done a better job of protecting our student-faculty ratio, our operating budget per student has increased, a greater proportion of our students are winning national awards, and faculty members have secured more research grants.

On another exciting note, the 2011 Ontario Universities’ Fair (OUF) was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on October 14-16th.  The OUF is an important opportunity for us to introduce ourselves to thousands of high school students and their parents who are seeking information about post-secondary options.  This year, the fair attracted over 118,000 attendees over the three-day period.

Laurentian University had a new element this year that was staged for a real “5D” Laurentian University experience, featuring a residence room, a replica of the rock-climbing wall at Sudbury’s Athletics Centre, and even an actual beach.  We were delighted by the positive feedback and thrilled to have received a record number of potential students and parents to our exhibit. I’d like to thank our students, faculty, staff and alumni who attended the fair and did such a wonderful job representing our growing University.  We are still receiving rave reviews!

On October 28th, I had the great pleasure of presenting long-term service awards to members of our Laurentian community.  The Chancellor, Board Chair Floyd Laughren and I were humbled to present this special recognition for 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of service to so many deserving staff.  In total, we were celebrating over 3,200 years of service at Laurentian University. Their collective efforts remind us all, again, that the success of any organization starts with its people.  This group has had an impressive impact on the University, helping to bring Laurentian to the place we stand today. I congratulate each of them and look forward to the many more years ahead.   I also want to acknowledge and thank those who we celebrated at our retirement celebration.  We were able to pay tribute to the faculty and staff who have recently retired or will soon retire from a career at Laurentian University.  Congratulations on a well-deserved retirement and best wishes to all.

Over 472 students graduated this Fall. Two convocation ceremonies were held on October 29th on the Sudbury campus. Several key awards were presented. Dr. Carol Kauppi was celebrated as the recipient of the Laurentian University Research Excellence Award for 2010-2011.  Dr. Kauppi is a full professor in the School of Social Work and since 2009 has been Director of the Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy.  In 2010, she was successful in securing a grant of $1M from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.  This single grant provides 5-year funding for the Poverty, Homelessness and Migration project.  Great work Dr. Kauppi and congratulations on this very special award.

The other award that was presented went to Dr. Hoi Cheu from the Department of English for his excellence in teaching. Dr. Cheu accepted the Teaching Excellence Award for his contributions to Laurentian University.  As part of our community, he has vastly impacted his students and is dedicated to their progress and success.  I would like to extend my congratulations to him for his work.

Laurentian University launched its United Way campaign on October 4th with a kick-off breakfast that welcomed 154 people and raised $1,100 for the campaign. The campaign is in full swing with another fundraiser which started on November 3rd. Tickets for a draw to see an all Canadian hockey game, the Toronto Maple Leafs vs Vancouver Canucks in Toronto on December 17th at 7 pm, are available from November 3rd, 2011 and can be purchased for $5. The draw will be held on November 30th at 12:30 p.m. in the Great Hall.  This year we hope to raise $40,000 for this worthy cause, with the pledge drive ending on December 23rd.

Finally, this month is moustache season and I will be participating in my first Movember. This month-long event challenges men from every corner of Canada as well as around the world, to help support prostate cancer awareness by growing a moustache in November. We are all excited to do our part in raising awareness for men’s health this month.  Funds raised in Canada will go to support research on prostate cancer, the most common form of male cancer.  So if you see someone who looks like me, walking around campus over the next month sporting a moustache, chances are it will be me. To support the Laurentian Team by making a donation, you can go here for my page, or here for team captain, Dr. David Lesbarrères’ page.

As usual, I welcome comments and questions on the topics discussed in my blog postings, or any other matter that may be of concern to you. My email is: .

You can also join the 2,500 people who follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Merci/Thank you/Miigwech