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History of Laurentian University

Did you know?

  • In November 1960 the Board of Governors and Senate adopted blue and gold as the Laurentian team colours, rejecting the student preference for copper-red and nickel-grey, a more regionally appropriate but less eye-appealing choice.
  • In the early 1960s Laurentian students were expected to attend class in proper attire at all times. Coats and ties were required, while windbreakers and open shirts were banned. Infringements of the rules were to be reported to the Dean, though departmental heads often refused to do so because such actions adversely affected student-professor relations. During convocation, instructions for the graduates were printed in the local newspaper. Men were instructed to wear dark suits, ladies light coloured dresses and shoes. 
  • In March 1966, on the urging of Fr. Roger Leclaire, sj, professor of physics and astronomy, Laurentian entered into an agreement with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration to host a tracking station which, over the next three years, participated in NASA’s GEOS-A and GEOS-B satellite projects. Leclaire also spearheaded efforts that resulted in the establishment of a temporary planetarium on campus in the autumn of 1967. Two years later the university constructed a permanent facility, the Doran Planetarium named after W.J.Doran, president of Northern Breweries, who assisted the project financially. On the basis of these achievements, in 1967 Laurentian created the Institute of Astronomy, its first research centre.
  • In 1968, the Laurentian Board of Governors and Senate approved a bilingual Bachelor of Arts degree program.  Students were required to take a minimum of six full university courses in the second language, either English or French, and pass both a comprehensive oral and written examination in English and French prior to graduation.  The first students to receive the degree graduated in June 1970.
  • Sports Administration, an innovative program developed at Laurentian that combined studies in physical education and commerce, began operations in the autumn of 1972.
  • The first woman to be appointed to a senior administrative position at Laurentian was Dr. Gamila Morcos, professor of French, who became Dean of Humanities in July 1975.
  • Although an alumni association had been created in the mid-1960s, it became dormant later in the decade.  In 1974 the Laurentian University Alumni Association was revived and reorganized with chapters in Toronto, Ottawa and Sudbury, its first major event being Homecoming that fall.
  • 1986 was a notable year with respect to teaching and research at Laurentian, with the creation of the Laurentian University Teaching Excellence Award, the Laurentian University Research Excellence Award, and the Laurentian University Research Fund. 
  • The Students General Association first approved the establishment of a student radio station in 1984, but CFLR, cable106.7, did not begin broadcasting until two years later. Run by thirty-five Laurentian student volunteers, it billed itself as ‘alternative radio,’ then meaning no Madonna or Bruce Springsteen.
  • Laurentian’s first Native Awareness Week featuring a series of cultural activities, guest speakers and a pow-wow, took place in October 1995.
  • In 1996, twenty-two year old legally blind Aaron Marsaw, a fourth year philosophy and political science major raised and educated in Sudbury, was awarded Laurentian University’s only Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University.
  • In January 1996, Laurentian entered the internet era, announcing its www site, then

The above-noted are all excerpts from Laurentian University:  A History, written by Linda Ambrose, Matt Bray, Sara Burke, Donald Dennie, and Guy Gaudreau and edited by Matt Bray