The Reilly Family

Alumni Spotlight

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Laurentian University runs in the family! This month, we were appreciative of Nina Reilly, Laurentian alumna (B.A.Sc. Metallurgical Engineering ‘85), for making the time to share her family’s story with us all the way from her home in Calgary, Alberta. 

The Reilly family’s time at Laurentian University dates back to even before the university bore that name. Irvine Reilly, Nina’s father, B.Eng., M.Eng. PhD, began his studies at the University of Sudbury in 1958, two years prior to Laurentian University’s official founding. At the time, Irv’s courses were taught at the University of Sudbury’s downtown campus in the Empire Block on Elgin Street. The current location for Laurentian had not yet been established. After Irv’s first year of engineering studies, he relocated to Windsor to complete his B.Eng. since only the first year curriculum was offered in Sudbury at that time. 

After completing his Master’s and Doctorate degrees, Irv Reilly joined the School of Engineering at Laurentian (now the Bharti School of Engineering) as a professor. Irv worked in Laurentian’s School of Engineering from 1965 until his retirement in 2000. Over the course of his 35 year career at Laurentian, Dr. Reilly was instrumental in the expansion and accreditation of the University’s engineering programs. Laurentian’s current expansive engineering offering has developed immensely from the first year general engineering program that attracted Irv in 1958. 

Irv’s wife Nancy (nee Celestini, deceased 1999) also studied at Laurentian completing Bachelor’s degrees in both Native Studies (‘83) and Social Work (‘87).  

Following the example of their parents, all of the Reilly children chose to complete degrees at Laurentian: Tanya Reilly-Hunter for her BScN in nursing, Kelly Reilly for her BScN and her MBA, and Nina for her B.A.Sc. in Metallurgical Engineering. Tanya and Kelly continue to make Sudbury their home. Kelly is a high school science teacher with the Sudbury Catholic District School Board and Tanya is a nurse with Public Health Sudbury and Districts.

Members of the next generation of the family have also chosen to pursue their postsecondary studies at Laurentian University! Tanya’s son, Curtis Hunter, is a recent graduate of Laurentian’s Mechanical Engineering program. Irv had the pleasure of presenting his grandson with his Iron Ring at a ceremony this year. Kelly’s daughter, Julia Greco, graduated from Laurentian with a B.A. in English (‘11) and her son, Ben Kovala, is currently enrolled in the Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Concurrent Education program at Laurentian.

Laurentian has played a major role in educating generations of the Reilly family. In recognition of Laurentian’s importance to the Reilly family and in honour of Dr. Reilly’s significant contributions to Laurentian’s School of Engineering over the course of his 35 year career, Nina and her husband, Philip Sommerville, recently established the Irvine G. Reilly Scholarship. This scholarship will provide several future Laurentian students with the opportunity to pursue their postsecondary engineering studies at Laurentian University.

Irv Reilly and his family have had a great impact on Laurentian University, and they are thrilled to continue their involvement by providing the same opportunities they once had to Laurentian’s future students.

Pictured in photo: Tanya Reilly-Hunter, BScN; Irv Reilly B.Eng., M.Eng., PhD; Nina Reilly, B.A.Sc., M.A.Sc., MBA; Kelly Reilly, BScN, MBA.