LU Rendez-vous: A Celebration of Faculty and Staff Commitment

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

Lise Poirier came to Laurentian in September 1991 after having served in the armed forces and working in the mining sector. Since then, she has been a fixture to life on campus. Not only does she keep us all safe, but is a staple at convocation, greeting graduates and guests dressed in her finest uniform.

Dr. Jorge Virchez started teaching in the Geography Department in 1991. Arguably one of the nicest people on campus, his friendly and supportive demeanour has had a lasting impact on students and colleagues alike.

Michelle K. Brunette started at Laurentian in 2001 as Manager of International Student Recruitment with Laurentian International. Throughout her career, she has continued to pursue her graduate studies while raising her young children. I can’t help but take note of how generous she is with her time – she will not hesitate to lend a helping hand, especially during one of her famous walking meetings!

These are just a few of the stories I have been thinking about since hosting our celebration on January 26th of recent retirees and Laurentian and Federated University employees last week. These colleagues were recognized for having dedicated 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 years of service. This celebration has become one of the highlights of the year for the Laurentian community.

This is an event I look forward to every year. The university is all about its people. Faculty and staff are the ones who make Laurentian such a special place to work and study and you are the ones who have helped propel Laurentian into this “new league.” You work extremely hard and I see it every day.

Dr. Serge Demers was our Master of Ceremony… and once again, the event was filled with his warm and “punny” remarks.

Bill Sanders made us all howl with laughter at another round of wonderful videos celebrating our honourees. Silvie Allard and I were featured prominently this year and I can only say that Bill can make you do or say pretty much anything!

A huge thank you to the whole team in Human Resources and Organizational Development, Suzanne Chartrand in particular, for the work you have not only put into this event, but also for the work you do for all of us on a daily basis.

After the ceremony, I had a chance to speak with many honourees, attendees, Governors and retirees who took the time to came back on campus to celebrate their former colleagues. For many, this was the first time that they attended LU Rendez-vous and they were visibly filled with joy. One colleague commented how, after convocation, this was her favourite event of the year.

I couldn’t agree more. Once again, thank you to those who were honoured at LU Rendez-vous, and to each of you who will be honoured in the years to come.

A group of retired and honoured Faculty and Staff, celebrated during LU Rendez Vous 2017

Laurentian University Rendez Vous 2017.


As always, I welcome comments on the blog or any other matter. You can reach me at, or can join the 12,300 people who follow me on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.

Merci, Thank you, Miigwech.

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.