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.

Laurentian Matters, Far and Wide

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

Laurentian faculty, staff, and students seem to be everywhere these days.  Our faculty, our students, our research centres and our programs are garnering media attention far and wide, and I am thrilled to be celebrating all of their successes.  Members of the Laurentian community are making their mark, making a difference, and making us all proud.  Here’s a brief list of recent accomplishments in our Laurentian community:

In the North
On January 8th, we celebrated a big announcement from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration:  a three-year funding commitment of $2.7 million for  Professions North, an important program that was started here at Laurentian University by our Faculty of Management. Since its inception in 2010, Professions North has helped more than 300 internationally trained professionals to reach their career goals by bridging education, culture and employment services, and by providing a linking service with employers.  This effort has been making a real difference in the lives of internationally-trained professionals, and in the northern communities where they are living and working.  We’re proud to play a role in this successful program.

On Parliament Hill
From January 9-12th, Laurentian students from Sudbury and Barrie took part in the 22nd annual Model Parliament. As usual, the members of Laurentian’s Political Science Association and faculty worked hard to put together a successful and memorable event and, I congratulate all of them.  I think their “political organizing” skills will certainly serve them well!  It was a privilege for me to attend again this year and to listen to our students’ impressive speeches, questions and answers! It was heartening to see our students meeting and talking politics with keen observers of the Canadian political scene, such as Chancellor Steve Paikin and Richard Madan, Parliamentary Correspondent for CTV News in Ottawa. Our Past Chair, Floyd Laughren, joined us as Governor General. You can read accounts of the student experience in this year’s Model Parliament at and at the Student Blogs page

On January 15th, the federal government announced a new International Education Strategy designed to double the number of international students in Canada by targeting China, Brazil and other fast-growing countries. The government plans to spend $5 million annually to support the program and another $13 million over two years will be spent on the Globalink program, which helps Canadian students study in other countries. This is good news for Laurentian University, where we’ve experienced strong growth in international enrolment.  As set out in our Strategic Plan, we are focussed on increasing the proportion of international students from 6.1% in 2011 to 8% by 2015.

In Ontario
On January 16th, the Honourable Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, announced the launch of a new Course-to-Course Transfer Guide.  This tool makes it easier for Ontario’s postsecondary students to transfer their credits among all of Ontario’s 44 publicly funded colleges and universities. Students can now enter their current transcript information, such as course codes or course titles, and they will be able to see how their credits will be recognized at other institutions prior to applying. As co-chair of the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT), I am thrilled to see this tool developed to assist students in learning about the pathways available to them.  Laurentian University continues to recognize full credit of courses taken in other universities and is #1 among Ontario universities outside the GTA in terms of college transfers.

In the Universe
Congratulations to Nigel Smith, Christina Kraus, Clarence Virtue and everyone at SNOLab for the wonderful feature that aired on January 20th on PBS News Hour.  The program brought viewers inside “one of the most sophisticated particle physics observatories in the world,” and introduced the enormous PBS audience across the United States and abroad to SNOLab, Laurentian University and Sudbury.  Bravo!

The Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) was awarded an exceptional distinction on January 22nd, when the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology) announced winners of the Business-led Networks of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE) program. At the Minister’s announcement in Sudbury on January 22nd, CEMI was awarded $15 million for its Ultra-Deep Mining Network proposal, making it the largest grant recipient of the 2014 competition.  Amazing news for our colleagues at CEMI. I am proud to serve as Chair of CEMI this year.

And Still More Kudos!
Congratulations to our own Tracy Oost, Forensic Scientist and Continuity Officer, whose Titanic research continues to gain attention and wide recognition.  Tracy was interviewed recently on the flagship CBC Radio program As it Happens (39:00), as well as CBC Sudbury and Radio New Zealand National.  She has become a leading name in a fascinating field of research, and her work has helped to unravel long-standing mysteries surrounding the tragedy of the Titanic.

Dr. Amadeo Parissenti, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Laurentian also made headlines this month with breakthrough developments in cancer treatment.  Dr. Parissenti will also be featured on the cover of University Affairs magazine in March.  We are tremendously proud of the work he is doing in helping to improve the quality of life of women with breast cancer.

Laurentian Mechanical Engineering students took home top honours in the Senior Design category at the Ontario Engineering Competition.  Congratulations Richard Lapointe, Justin Gaudet, Nathan Mathias and Mitch Andryechen who will be representing Ontario at the 2014 Canadian Engineering Competition in London, March 13-16.

Research Week is February 3-7th. There is a series of events throughout the week to learn more about the work being done at Laurentian University by our faculty and graduate students.  Click here for the complete agenda.

On February 13th, bidders with an eye for a well-designed ice-fishing hut will be attending a first-of-its-kind auction in support of the Laurentian School of Architecture.  As part of their design/build program of study, our first-year architecture students have been creating ice huts – and without giving too much away, we understand that there are some pretty amazing designs out there!  Perhaps one of these huts will be seen on a lake in your neighbourhood during the current ice-fishing season. The auction will be held at Science North in the Vale Cavern on Thursday, February 13, 6:00-9:00 pm.  Good fishing, everyone.

Also coming up:
On March 6, 2014, the Peter Goring lecture series welcomes the Honourable Bob Rae, who will speak on “Mining and First Nations: Sustainability is the Only Option.” Mr. Rae will share his thoughts on “sustainability” as a critical principle of first nations thinking, and how it relates not only to the land, water, and air, but also to the sustainability of people and communities.  This is sure to be a very popular lecture.  Stay tuned to for further details about this event.

As always, I welcome comments on the blog or any other matter: you can reach me at, or you can join the 6,800 people who follow me on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.

Merci, Thank You, Miigwetch.