Inspiring Events

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

My wife Barbara and I invite all members of the University community to our annual Open House on Sunday, December 9th, from 1:30 to 4:30 pm.  Last year, over 450 people came for a portion or all of the afternoon.  This is a wonderful tradition and a great opportunity to socialize with colleagues and students, as well as with Board members, alumni and other members of the Greater Sudbury community.  Please RSVP by calling 705-673-6577 or by email at by December 5th.  Please bring indoor footwear. A babysitting service is available, as well as a shuttle service from the York Street and Bell Park (off Elizabeth) city parking lots.

I want to thank the 250 people who attended the “LU Rendez-Vous” to celebrate 84 colleagues on November 21st.   We celebrated a combined 2,101 years of service among those who completed 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 years, as well as recent or upcoming retirees. We received a lot of positive feedback about this year’s event and want to acknowledge members of the organizing committee, Silvie Allard, Bernard Beaulieu, Suzanne Chartrand, France Girard, Julie Lacroix and Marie-Lynne Michaud for their hard work, as well as the many people who supported them from various departments.  I would also like to thank the wonderful jazz ensemble and Café Piaf artists who made it a memorable event. Pictures from the event, as well as the video of testimonials from honorees, can be viewed here.

It was also a pleasure for me to join colleagues to celebrate the book launches of Alain Beaulieu (“Gilles Deleuze et ses contemporains”) and Réal Filion (“Foucault and the Indefinite Work of Freedom”) that same afternoon at La Fromagerie Elgin.

On Thursday November 22nd, another well attended Laurentian Soapbox was held in the building housing the School of Education, the Department of Music and the School of Rural and Northern Health.  This month’s edition had an international theme, with insightful presentations from Dr. Jorge Virchez (Geography), Dr. Gerardo Ulibarri (Chemistry), Melissa Keeping  (Laurentian International) and student Matt Rabey.

That Friday, an emotional sunrise ceremony presided over by Chief Steven Miller from the Whitefish Lake First Nation took place on the site of the School of Architecture, across the street from La Fromagerie.  The ceremony was attended by over 50 people from all parts of the University and of the external community, very early in the morning. I was moved once again by the First Nations’ traditions, the symbolism of the ceremony, but most importantly by the diversity of the gathering which illustrated well the genesis and the future benefits of Laurentian School of Architecture.

On Tuesday November 27th, I had the pleasure of opening the NELHIN/Laurentian University Seniors Falls Prevention Forum with my colleague Louise Paquette, CEO of the North East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).  The forum was held at the new United Steelworkers Hall. Congratulations to Dr. John Lewko for his leadership in organizing this joint workshop attended by 180 people.

I have also heard from colleagues how very enthusiastic they are about the announcement from a few weeks ago, appointing the Silver Birch String Quartet as the String Quartet-in-Residence at Laurentian.

Finally, the annual Aramark luncheon to benefit Laurentian’s United Way Campaign will be held on Wednesday, December 12th in the Great Hall. I look forward to seeing you there!  If you haven’t yet considered making a gift or pledge towards the $42,500 campaign goal, I encourage you to do so now!  We are currently at 60% of our goal, with three weeks left to the campaign.  Donors who make a pledge by December 7th will qualify for a draw for free parking and a dinner at Verdicchio’s.

These events – and I could have highlighted many more – have one thing a common: they are inspiring.

As always, I welcome comments on the blog or any other matter: you can reach me at, or you can join the 4,700 people who follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Merci, Thank You, Miigwech.

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:

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Merci/Thank you/Miigwech