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Laurentian, United Steelworkers Canada Team Up to Honour Sudbury-born Labour Leader

New Leo Gerard Legacy Fund will establish a scholarship, lecture series on workers’ issues

(February 21, 2020) Laurentian University is pleased to announce the creation of the Leo Gerard Legacy Fund, thanks to a generous financial contribution from United Steelworkers Canada and the Sudbury and District Labour Council.

This $33,500 pledge will go towards two major new initiatives:

  • the biennial Leo Gerard Lecture on Workplace and Labour Studies, a series of presentations which will be free and open to the public
  • a scholarship for students enrolled in the Workplace and Labour Studies program

This gift serves to commemorate Leo Gerard’s lifelong commitment to fighting for working families and labour rights around the world. 

“I am humbled to be honoured by the contributions made to this fund in my name,” Mr. Gerard said. “The fund, designed to recognize and support students in the Workplace and Labour Studies program, will develop future leaders in labour rights through teaching, research, and community outreach.” 

Various bodies of United Steelworkers Canada helped make the fund a reality, including the National Office, District 6, and Locals 6500 and 2020.

“We are pleased to assist the University in bringing forward the next generation of labour leaders and to help provide the tools, training, and opportunities they will need to succeed,” said Ken Neumann, National Director of United Steelworkers Canada.

Mr. Gerard spent most of his formative years in Sudbury, obtaining both a bachelor's degree and honorary doctorate from Laurentian University. Dr. John Peters, Associate Professor in the Workplace and Labour Studies Program at the School of Northern and Community Studies, is grateful to see Mr Gerard’s name associated with initiatives which will train the next generation of labour leaders at his alma mater.

“The donation is greatly appreciated,” said Dr. Peters. “It will enable more of our students to graduate with work experience, and apply their skills to real-life problems. Laurentian’s Workplace and Labour Studies program has long been a major proponent of experiential learning, with the aim of producing graduates to work with unions, non-governmental organizations, governments and businesses in Canada and the United States.”