Lakehead University Alumni Magazine

Five Decades of Achievement

Published January 29, 2015
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Alma Mater Society Begins a New Tradition

Students were quick to form the Alma Mater Society (A.M.S.) in 1965 – Lakehead University's inaugural year. In the 1965 Nor'Wester Yearbook, A.M.S. President Carol Bell said, "We, as students, have been intimately involved in this exciting process of growth."

The Big Bang

In the fall of 1966, a dynamite charge was set off during the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Centennial Building. Lord Bowden of Chesterfield, Vice Chancellor of Britain's Manchester University, pressed the plunger to detonate the charge.

Forestry Parade

Lakehead's Forestry students have always been known for their exuberant school spirit – their floats and parades were highlights of our early winter carnivals.

Lakehead's First Nursing Degree Students

In September 1966, the first class of 12 students was admitted to Lakehead's new four-year nursing degree program. The charter class came from across Northwestern Ontario including Dryden, Rainy River, Beardmore, and Kenora.

On Canada Day in 1965, Lakehead University officially came into being – changing our country's postsecondary landscape.

Over the next 50 years, Lakehead expanded its programs and its geographic reach to become a school with two campuses, 10 faculties, and a place that nurtures exceptional and unconventional learning.

As we reach the half-century mark, our adventure is still unfolding.

People from across the world are coming to our campuses in Thunder Bay and Orillia to learn, to teach, to work, and to make a difference.

In 2015, I invite our friends, donors, supporters, and over 56,000 alumni to join us in celebrating everything that we have accomplished together.

Brian J.R. Stevenson, PhD
President and Vice-Chancellor
Lakehead University

When I was installed as Chancellor in 2013, planning had already begun for Lakehead's 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Being Chancellor at this historic moment has given me the chance to reflect on my own boyhood growing up in Thunder Bay and the qualities that set my hometown apart – ingenuity, self-reliance, and hard work.

It's gratifying to see how Lakehead University has absorbed these values and is committed to teaching students how to think, not what to think. This approach is allowing our graduates to take on regional and global challenges.

With the launch of Lakehead's 50th Anniversary, I would like to acknowledge and congratulate our alumni on their many achievements.

Derek H. Burney, O.C.
Chancellor and 50th Anniversary
Honorary Chair
Lakehead University

A Look Back

Discover more memories by going to our website to check out our Milestones Timeline and browse through our digitized yearbooks.

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Hands-on Learning – The Whitefish Dig

Anthropology Professor Kenneth Dawson and the students on his archaeological team spent the summer of 1966 excavating an approximately 2,000-year-old burial ground at Whitefish Lake, west of Thunder Bay.

Lakehead Loves Sports

The 1967 women's basketball team shows their prowess on the court. Lakehead was already part of the Ontario Intercollegiate Athletic Association when it joined the United States National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in 1967.

Outstanding Professors

Mathematical Sciences Professor John Whitfield embodied Lakehead's commitment to teaching of the highest calibre. In 1986, he became the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science followed by other leadership positions until retiring in 2001.

Pool Re-opening Festivities

Lakehead University Student Union (LUSU) President Dave Grad cuts the ribbon at the Grand Re-Opening Celebration of the C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse pool in June 2009 following a 10-month renovation. LUSU President Richard Longtin led the "Save the Pool" campaign in 2007-08.

Nerves of Steel

Lakehead's civil engineers stack up to the best schools in North America. In 2011, the Student Steel Bridge Team won the prestigious U.S. National Student Steel Bridge Competition in Texas, beating out 48 other teams from Canada and the U.S.

Orillia Students Celebrate Graduation

In September 2006, the Orillia campus opened its doors at Heritage Place. A second Orillia location opened at 500 University Avenue in 2010 – becoming the first campus in North America to be built entirely to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards.

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