Ontario Universities’ Fair: One of the Highlights of the Year

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

Since my last blog posting, I have had the pleasure of meeting with the departments of Political Science, History, Études françaises, Economics and the School of Social Work.  As always, I enjoy these informal chats with faculty and staff in diverse disciplines, and they provide me the opportunity to hear first-hand about exciting projects, aspirations and challenges, throughout the university.

I also had the pleasure of taking part in lectures hosted by the Goodman School of Mines (with J. Paul Rollinson, Laurentian alumnus and President and CEO of Kinross Gold, one of the world’s largest gold producers) and by the School of Architecture (with Bruce Kuwabara member of the Order of Canada and a founding partner in KPMB Architects).

On September 17th we also celebrated the launch of the new School of Environment at the Fromagerie Elgin in downtown Sudbury. Congratulations to Dr. Brett Buchanan, Dr. Christian Bouchard, Dr. Elizabeth Dawes, Dr. Osman Abou-Rabia and all other colleagues from the School of Environment for their leadership. I am excited about what’s ahead for this new school, including the lecture on the Sudbury campus on September 29th featuring David Miller, President and CEO of WWF-Canada and the former Mayor of Toronto.

One of the highlights of the academic year is the Ontario Universities’ Fair (OUF) held every September at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  More than 80 of our faculty, staff and students came to Toronto to meet with the 130,000 visitors who registered at this year’s OUF (almost 10,000 more than last year’s fair).

Laurentian is proud to be the Ontario University with the highest retention rate of local high school graduates pursuing a university education. In addition, a majority of our students now come from outside Northeastern Ontario. OUF is therefore a critical opportunity for us to put our best foot forward and engage with thousands of potential applicants and their parents.

I make a point of attending OUF every year to support the work our faculty, staff and students. They make an important personal and family sacrifice to spend close to four days on the road and at the fair. They are on their feet for countless hours, talking with people and representing all that Laurentian has to offer — and I am told they went through an incredible number of Costco-size bags of Ricola mints to keep from losing their voices!

We have had many successful editions of OUF these past few years, but I really think that this year the calibre of the organization, the engagement and the representation from a wide range of faculty and staff was second to none. I would like to thank all of the colleagues and students from Sudbury and Barrie who participated at OUF, as well as those who worked behind the scenes – in Liaison, Marketing and Information Technology to name a few – to make our participation at this year’s 18th edition of OUF a resounding success.

Our Chancellor, Steve Paikin, even joined us for a few hours on Saturday. He spoke with many of our faculty, staff and students, engaged with prospective applicants and their parents, toured the fair and promoted the University actively with his 55,000 followers on Twitter. I invite you to check the pictures I posted on my Facebook page of the Chancellor’s visit. You may also see a sample of all pictures taken at OUF by all universities.

I’d also like to share with you some of the feedback I’ve picked up since returning from OUF:

  • A faculty member emailed me about his experience at OUF over the weekend. “Knowing our efforts pay off and are appreciated makes it all worthwhile. I also have to admit that the constant buzz at OUF gets the adrenaline pumping. Your willingness to throw yourself into the fray at OUF is also leadership that is noticed and appreciated”.
  • One of our suppliers sent an unsolicited email to one of our Directors: “We attended the University Fair in Toronto yesterday (that place was crazy!!) We spent a great deal of time at the Laurentian stand and suite – we were impressed by the hospitality, the staff and how kind and informative they were – so much so that my daughter will more than likely schedule a tour.” 
  • One of our staff members posted on his personal Facebook page: “Quelle expérience merveilleuse de rencontrer ces jeunes adultes et leurs parents. Nous avons une excellente équipe à OUF qui a engagé les jeunes adultes à découvrir la Laurentienne, se découvrir eux memes et de voir le potentiel”.
  • One of our new senior academic administrators posted on LinkedIn: “Notre équipe d’étudiantes, d’étudiants, de personnel administratif, de professeures et de professeurs donne ce qu’on peut appeler une “clinique” d’engagement envers l’Université Laurentienne. Je n’ai pas vu ailleurs une implication et un travail d’équipe de cette qualité, et de loin. Bravo à nous, congratulations to all of us!”
  • Another faculty member wrote on his personal Facebook page: “Another great day at the Ontario University Fair! Talked to many students and their parents about the various programs at Laurentian. Also had a few visits from former students working in Toronto. Hearing about their success is always exciting and rewarding”.
  • Another post on Facebook from a faculty member: “Great day at the Ontario University Fair! It’s great to be part of the Laurentian team! Working together to help students see what Laurentian University can offer.”
  • A staff member posted on her personal Facebook page: “Day one of OUF complete. All I can say is WOW what an amazing “dream team” working the booth today. So much knowledge packed into one area. Super excited for the huge crowds of students tomorrow. Laurentian proud!”
  • Another staff member posted on her personal Facebook page: “So happy to be here talking about our amazing university! It is easy to promote a city you love

and school you are proud to work for.”
Needless to say, I share their pride in our university, and to all the faculty, staff and students who represented us so well at OUF. Every year, OUF reminds me why I love what I do and how fortunate I am to be surrounded by such outstanding talent.

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 8,000 people who follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Merci, Thank You, Miigwech.

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