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, or can join the 10,200 people who follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn

Merci, Thank you, Miigwech.