New Season, New Faces, New Projects

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

Our focus shifts to the new academic year. We are busy with the arrival of students beginning a new stage in their studies, as well as some new faculty, staff, and a lot of construction! We can see the transformation of the Sudbury campus taking place all around us, and we are poised for another season of exciting developments.

As always, a new academic year brings many new faces and a lot of fresh energy. I would like to extend a warm welcome to our incoming cohort of students, as well as new staff and faculty who have joined the Laurentian community in Sudbury and in Barrie. I would also like to welcome Alex Freedman as the new Chief of Staff in the President’s Office. Mr. Freedman is an award-winning bilingual journalist who has worked for the CBC for 15 years in Montreal, Winnipeg and most recently in Quebec City, where he was Senior Producer managing the CBC’s Quebec City bureau.

I also want to give a shout out to colleagues from the Print Hub on the Sudbury campus. I have had the opportunity recently to spend time with the team and see some of their new equipment and new user-friendly website. More than 40% of the volume of work at the Print Hub comes from the external community, evidence of the quality and timeliness of the work of our campus colleagues. Congratulations to Martin Rondeau and his incredible team!

Laurentian at Pan Am and Parapan Am Games Toronto 2015
As the Pan Am Games took over Toronto July 10-26th followed by the Parapan Am Games August 7-15th, Laurentian was well-represented by a large constituent of Voyageurs. Congratulations to former Voyageur standout Carling Zeeman, to Human Kinetics professor Dr. Robert Schinke, and to alumnus Sgt. Steve Daniel. Women’s rower Zeeman won two gold medals in women’s single sculls and women’s quadruple sculls. It’s hard to believe she only started rowing when she became a Laurentian student and was spotted by rowing coach Dr. Amanda Schweinbenz. Dr. Schinke was one of Canada’s National boxing team’s coaches. Sgt. Steve Daniel was part of the final leg of the Parapan Am torch relay, carrying the flame into the stadium. Laurentian also had several current students and alumni who worked and volunteered for the Canadian Olympic Committee and the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. Bravo to all who took part in these games.

Amazing Race Canada
As we saw on August 12th, the third season of The Amazing Race Canada made a stop in Sudbury, with the Detour challenge taking place on Laurentian University’s Sudbury Campus. It was “amazing” exposure for the city of Greater Sudbury and for our beautiful northern campus and facilities. It is estimated that well over two million Canadian viewers watched the episode, as competitors tested their skills in two challenges. The first one saw teams dipping into the Jeno Tihanyi Olympic Gold Pool to learn and perform a synchronized swimming routine. The second challenge sent teams to the forensic training facility, to locate 10 pieces of bone and teeth in a 3x3ft “crime scene.” For more on Laurentian’s prime-time television moment on The Amazing Race Canada, click here!

Sudbury Campus Modernization Update
The transformation of campus continues this fall after a busy summer of construction. Most parts of this ambitious project are moving along on schedule and in some cases ahead of schedule. The teams have had to be nimble in dealing with the unexpected as always in a major construction project. We have seen everything from heavy equipment and earth moving to fresh paint in the Classroom Building with lots of detours to keep things interesting! I want to thank everyone for their patience as we move through this project. We have already seen tremendous change and our students will certainly benefit from the flexible classroom designs that will accommodate diverse teaching styles. Stay tuned!

Laurentian Research Broadcasts
Over the course of the summer, many of us enjoyed hearing a regular feature on the CBC Northern Ontario radio program Morning North. The feature, “Summer U” highlighted a series of Laurentian University researchers and their work. We are always proud of all the Laurentian faculty and graduate students whose work expands the boundaries of knowledge, and we applaud them for taking the time to share their expertise with the public, via all forms of media. With our nine Canada Research Chairs, nineteen research centres, and more than $100 million in research income in the past five years, we have a lot to talk about.

If you missed “Summer U” you can click the following links to hear the interviews:

  • Dr. Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde, here!
  • Dr. Joel Dickinson, here!
  • Dr. Nathan Basiliko, here!
  • Dr. Joy Gray-Munro, here!
  • Dr. Janice Liedl, here!
  • Dr. Alicia Hawkins, here!
  • Dr. Sandra Dorman, here!
  • Dan Scott, here!
  • Dr. Thomas Merritt, here!

Research Grants
In June, seven Laurentian University faculty members and three graduate students received research grants and scholarships awarded by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Total funding awarded to Laurentian University researchers tops $1.329 million. Laurentian Faculty awarded Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery Grants are:

  • Dr. Douglas Boreham, Faculty of Medicine: $170,000 (Biological Mechanisms Induced by Low and Ultra Low doses of Ionizing Radiation)
  • Dr. Thomas Johnston, Department of Biology: $105,000 (Individual specialization and the trophic niche of aquatic consumers)
  • Dr. Daniel Kontak, Department of Earth Science: $110,000 (Chemical fingerprinting of hydrothermal ore deposit systems)
  • Dr. Tammy Eger, School of Human Kinetics: $110,000 (Modeling human response to foot-transmitted vibration)
  • Dr. William Lievers, Bharti School of Engineering, $110,000 (Measuring and modeling the mechanical and failure behaviour of bone)
  • Dr. Jungfeng Zhang, Bharti School of Engineering, $22,000 (Blood Flows and Blood-Vessel Interactions in the Microcirculation)
  • Dr. Zhibin Ye, Bharti School of Engineering, $200,000 (Developing semicrystalline star polyethylenes and advanced polyethylene ionomers).

In addition to his five-year Discovery Grant, Dr. Ye was also awarded a Discovery Accelerator Supplement in support of his research, worth $120,000 over three years.

Three graduate students have also won graduate scholarships worth between $21,000 and $35,000 per year:

  • Nicolas Rouleau, three-year Postgraduate Scholarship (Biology)
  • Nirosha Murugen, three-year Postgraduate Scholarship (Biology)
  • James Baxter-Gilbert, three-year Canada Graduate Scholarship (Biology).

Vale, the United Steelworkers and CROSH new study
In July it was announced that Vale and the United Steelworkers have partnered with the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) on an important mental health in mining research project. Dr. Michel Larivière of CROSH will direct the study, with the support of the United Steelworkers and Vale. The three-year study aims to promote the best possible mental health for workers at Vale’s Ontario Operations. The study will also contribute to the body of research in the mining industry and similar sectors to develop practices that effectively promote positive mental health. For more information on the partnership and the study click here!

Laurentian Voyageurs
Voyageurs Athletics are once again gearing up for another season. The Voyageurs have introduced two new varsity teams, women’s golf and men’s cross-country/track and field. Open try-outs have been announced for several teams and can be seen here!

Congratulations to Voyageur rower, Curtis Halladay, who is competing in the Canadian National Para Team for the World Rowing Championship (August 30-September 6) at Lake Aiguebelette in France. Curtis and teammates have qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after winning bronze in the LTA Mixed Coxed Four final! Congratulations to Voyageurs head coach, Dr. Amanda Schweinbenz, who will serve as the Para Coach for Team Canada.

Congratulations to Voyageurs alumnus Leah-Marie Ramalho, who has been selected to the Guyana national team for the Caribbean Football Union’s 2016 Women’s Olympic Qualifiers. Go to for all Voyageurs news and schedules.

Readers’ Choice
I am proud and honoured to say that The Sudbury Star readers have chosen Laurentian University as their favourite post-secondary institution for 2015. Thank you to all who voted for Laurentian, your support is appreciated, and thank you to all the staff, faculty and students who make Laurentian truly exceptional.

As always, I welcome comments on the blog or any other matter: you can reach me at, or you can join the 9,800 people who follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.

Merci, Thank You, Miigwech.