Establishing a university was a long-held dream of Northwestern Ontarians. When it was realized 50 years ago, it was a major triumph.
Before 1965, getting a university education meant travelling hundreds of miles from home to Manitoba or southern Ontario. For many families the financial cost was an insurmountable barrier, while the exodus of young people who could afford university drained the region of some of its brightest talent.
But Northwestern Ontarians were willing to fight for greater educational opportunities and their grit and determination led to a university campus in Thunder Bay – vividly embodying Lakehead's motto "Achievement through Effort" (Ad Augusta Per Angusta).
Since then, we've never looked back. The past half century has been an era of evolution and innovation. Lakehead has become a research intensive and truly comprehensive university.
It was a time of heady celebration when the Lakehead College of Arts, Science, and Technology became Lakehead University – this 1965 Winter Carnival float expresses the elation felt by the entire community
In fact, my first day on the job as editor of publications in July 2011 happened to be the same day that Ontario's Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities announced that it would fully fund a Faculty of Law at Lakehead. This historic moment came to pass because of the intense lobbying and hard work of individuals and communities across the region. Lakehead has also forged a vibrant partnership with Central Ontarians since opening our Orillia campus because they too were committed to giving their citizens a better quality of life.
This issue is the first of two 50th Anniversary editions. You'll have the chance to read about three grads who were students during the first three decades of Lakehead's existence – Deputy Commander of Canada's Naval Reserve Jill Marrack, Lakehead University Athletics' Manager of Student Development Lou Pero, and Ian McCormack, an executive coach and community leader based in Northwestern Ontario.
All of them have made a tremendous difference in their chosen fields. They reaffirm what makes Lakehead Alumni so exceptional and why we can be confident that the students who are now in the midst of their studies will make us just as proud over the next 50 years.
The Start of a New Tradition – Homecoming Weekend
We want to extend your connection with Lakehead beyond these pages by inviting all alumni to our inaugural Homecoming Weekends in Thunder Bay and Orillia this October and November. Homecoming will be an annual event where Alumni can reconnect with former classmates and professors and enjoy exciting social and recreational activities. Learn more at our 50th Anniversary website: 50.lakeheadu.ca.