Celebrating Excellence

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

Since my last blog-post, I have had the pleasure of engaging informally over coffee with faculty members from Biology, Commerce, Human Kinetics, Library, Physics and Political Science. We have also held eight budget consultations in Barrie with representatives from faculty, staff and students, and in Sudbury with Senate, colleagues in the Library and in the Faculties of Science and Engineering, Social Sciences and Humanities and Professional Schools, as well as the executive of the Laurentian University Faculty Association. The last of 17 budget consultations will be held shortly with the Faculty of Management.

In this blog-post I want to celebrate some of the accomplishments of our Laurentian community, and I’d like to begin by acknowledging another tremendous performance by our students in the Bharti School of Engineering. They made us all proud at the 2013 Canadian Mining Games, March 8-10 in Montreal.  The Laurentian team finished a very strong second, wrapping up the competition only 3.2% behind first-place Queen’s in the scoring.  Ten universities competed at these games, which Laurentian has won more often than any other school. This year, Laurentian placed first in Drilling and Blasting, Environmental, Mineral Processing, and Surveying.  The Laurentian crew were among the top four in 16 of the 26 events of the Games, and also made the top three in some new events introduced this year: Crisis Management, Sustainable Development, and Mine Trivia. Team Captain Dusty Nerpin (Mechanical Engineering) says the mining games are “a direct representation of the quality of the university and its ability to teach young engineers.”  We agree.  Well-done, Team Laurentian!

Another group of our high-performing students excelled in competition in Boston Massachusetts at the MIT Sloan Sport Analytic Case Competition—an event that’s been called “the Super Bowl of Sport Analytics.”  The team of three Sports Administration students beat the odds simply by being invited to present at the prestigious competition.  They also pulled off an impressive second place with a panel of top executives from the sports and broadcasting industries.  Congratulations, SPAD students, for adding more clout to the Laurentian brand.

I also want to celebrate the achievements of the winners of some prestigious awards for teaching and research.  Dr. Tammy Eger of the School of Human Kinetics and Executive Director of CROSH was named the recipient of Laurentian’s 2012-2013 Research Excellence Award.  This award is bestowed when there is evidence of “outstanding performance” by a faculty member.  Tammy’s work in Occupational Safety and Health is contributing to national recognition for Laurentian.  As well, two faculty members have been honoured in our Faculty of Science and Engineering.  Dr. Mohamed Azzouz, member of the Department of Physics since 2001, was recognized for Teaching Excellence, while Dr. Virtue, who has been at Laurentian since 1992 and is the principal investigator and spokesperson for HALO, was awarded the Research Excellence Award.  My commendations to each of the honourees.

More Laurentian faculty and alumni were recognized during the gala celebration of this year’s Community Builders Awards.  Those honoured include Emeritus Professor in Biology, Dr. Gerard Courtin with the Environment Award, and Canada Research Chair Dr. Thomas Merritt, who won the Sports and Recreation Award for his work to involve people with physical or developmental challenges in sport.  Inducted into the Community Builders’ Hall of Fame were Laurentian graduate and honorary degree recipient, Mary Stefura and her husband John.  Once again, Laurentian is proud to know that so many members of our university community are playing leadership roles in Greater Sudbury. I was humbly honoured to be among them.  You can read a report on the 10th Anniversary CBA Awards Gala here.

Congratulations to Laurentian professor Sylvia Hunt and graduates of Laurentian’s English program in Barrie for the successful launch of their book called The Palace of Pleasure & Other Early Poems on March 1st at The Creative Space.  This team delved into the earlier works of Leigh Hunt in their book published by Juvenilia Press.  Student Karl Denny who did the illustrations in the book and Jessica Hewitt delivered poetry readings at the event which featured an exhibit of the artwork from the publication. Sylvia’s lecture on Leigh Hunt’s early life and the readings of poems were exceptional and totally appreciated by the audience of more than 50 people.  Other students who worked on the project were Sage Hyden, Nicole Birch-Bayley, Lindsay Higgs and Hannah Guirguis.  Kudos on a job well done!

Congratulations also go out to second year students Charles Mapletoft, majoring in physics, and Joshua Vandermost, majoring in neuroscience, who were proud recipients of the NORCAT’s inaugural student business plan competition.  The judges were impressed with their submission for their business Maple-Most, a service that will help students living on campus do their groceries without even having to leave their room.

Laurentian’s Associate Vice-President, Academic and Indigenous Programs, Dr. Sheila Cote-Meek has been recognized as a Women of Distinction along with Assistant Professor Adele Lafrance Robinson, alumni Francine Boudreau and Stella Marotta, and first year student in the Women’s studies Program Tanya Maier!  On April 27th, these members of our Laurentian community will receive this prestigious award from the YWCA at a gala to be held in Sudbury.  Well-deserved!

I also want to thank our last Soapbox presenters: Charles Wilson who reviewed new services offered through the Students’ General Association; Darby Reive who shared his experience at the MIT Sloan Sport Analytics Conference; Tanya Maier from the Women’s Studies Association; Thomas Raskevicius who provided his perspective on the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada exhibition and, Kevin Amirault from the Outdoor Leadership Program and recipient of the Bill Mason Scholarship.  It was great to have a student focused theme this month! I was personally proud of these students and enjoyed learning more about the exciting accomplishments that draw attention to our incredible institution.

As always, I welcome comments on the blog or any other matter: you can reach me at dominicgiroux@laurentian.ca , or you can join the 5,400 people who follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Merci, Thank You, Miigwetch.