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Season's greetings

December 22, 2017

Dear members of the Laurentian community, Boozhoo, Aani, KweKwe,

As we wrap up files and clean off our desks in advance of the holidays, I wanted to take a moment to thank each of you for your ongoing commitment to Laurentian University and to our students.

In August, with a great deal of pride, I accepted the honour of acting as your Interim President and Vice Chancellor. In this time, I have been impressed by all the achievements and success we have experienced. What a year it’s been.

In this long list of accomplishments, I’d like to begin with the most recent development – Laurentian University’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan was, after a thorough discussion in Senate on December 12, approved by the Board of Governors at its last meeting on December 15. This document reflects the aspirations of our whole community. It is focused, concise, and provides a clear path for the collective success of Laurentian University.

Throughout the planning process, students, faculty and staff turned out to contribute their perspectives in shaping this strategic plan. (A special shout out to the students from Orthophonie for their dedication to the process.) Everyone had the opportunity to weigh in at many stages and I thank you all for your insight, ideas and passion along the way.  Steering the ship through this critical initiative was an incredible feat and I’d like to thank the ‘Captain’ of that process, Dr. Linda Ambrose. Linda did a masterful job of listening, sifting and synthesizing all of the input she and the members of the strategic plan steering committee heard. I want to commend her for her tremendous work and perseverance.

On January 17th at 10:30 you are invited to the official launch of our new 5-year strategic pan.  Join us in the atrium as we make public this strategic roadmap. For those who wish to read the plan ahead of time, click here.


Here are a few highlights from 2017:

  • In May, a group of 28 professors and students from Laurentian University’s School of Human Kinetics’ Outdoor Adventure Leadership program and Health Promotion without Borders offered humanitarian relief to nomadic communities in Mongolia who do not have access to government services.
  • In June, we officially opened the Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre with more than 350 guests touring this exceptional new space. I was especially proud to take part in the celebration and I continue to stand in admiration of the work done by Dr. Sheila Cote Meek to make our university a welcoming place for Indigenous students.
  •  In July, Laurentian University hosted a meeting to develop a framework for a Pan-Northern Mining Research Alliance that will champion and purposefully align with both government and industry priorities. Laurentian also hosted the Topics in Astroparticle and Underground Physics (TAUP) conference with more than 350 particle astrophysics researchers in attendance.
  • In August, Laurentian’s Dr. Robert Schinke was elected president of the International Society of Sports Psychology. Schinke is the prestigious society’s youngest president, and the first Canadian to occupy the post. In his new role he will lead a worldwide effort to help increase sports psychology capacity in developing countries.
  • In September, we celebrated the grand finale of Campus Modernization with the opening of the new Atrium Space. On September 22, the Mobile Occupational Safety and Health Research Lab, (MCROSH), began its Northern Ontario Tour. On September 15 Laurentian University School of Human Kinetics began they 50th Anniversary Celebration with an alumni reunion. Nearly 300 registrants attended.
  • In October, Ming Cai wins prestigious John A. Franklin Award for his work in rock mechanics and Rock Engineering. The Glencore Memorial Lecture was held with Hayley Wickenheiser as the speaker.
  • In November, Al Douglas, Director of the Ontario Centre for Climate Impact and Adaptation Resources at MIRARCO, was appointed to Canada’s new Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Results. Laurentian Online was recognized with the “Access” award at the eCampus Ontario Technology Enabled Seminar and Showcase (TESS). The McEwen School of Architecture won Ontario Wood WORKS! 2017 award. Laurentian ranked #1 in Canada in terms of research income.  Librarian Brent Roe was honoured with The Canadian Association of Research Libraries Award. Dr. Lynne Gouliquer and Dr. Gary Kinsman, played key roles would lead to the federal government’s historic apology to members of Canada’s LGBTQ2 community.
  • In December, our giving Tuesday campaign raised more $103,000 to support campus initiatives and on the same day our Alumni Association campaign to log 1 Million hours of volunteering, crossed the 100 000 hours threshold.  If you want to be part of the campaign, all members of the Laurentian community can go to https://laurentian.ca/onemillion and add to this growing and important movement.
  • We also signed our second Strategic Mandate Agreement with the Provincial government and agreed on two 3-year collective agreements with faculty and staff unions.  


It has been an incredible year and I look forward to impact we will make together in 2018!

I hope you will enjoy my holiday greeting video.

I also hope that you will take a page from Anishinaabek culture during Mnidoo Giizoons – the Little Spirit Moon of December– and take the time to sit with your friends and family and share sacred stories around the fire.

Happy Holidays,

Pierre