Lakehead University Alumni Magazine

Great Grads: Lou Pero

An unrivalled coach and mentor takes on his next challenge

Published February 02, 2015

Lou Pero, the new president of the Alumni Association of Lakehead University (AALU), has been part of our history almost from the beginning.

Lakehead University's 50 year anniversary logo

50th Anniversary Memories

Who were your favourite bands while you were at Lakehead?

I'm a Motown kind of guy, so the Temptations were great. I was also a huge fan of the Beatles and Sly and the Family Stone.

Was there a particular course or professor that stood out?

My economics professor Dr. Merrill as well as my math professor Dr. John Whitfield – he was a brilliant man and an outstanding professor. My business professors were also really good to me.

What is your most vivid Lakehead memory?

There are so many but one would be my convocation in 1969. I was the first one in my family to graduate from university – on both my mom's and my dad's side of the family. Also, being here to open up the C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse – I played my final season of basketball there.

What are your thoughts on Lakehead's 50th Anniversary?

I'm really thrilled about it – especially since I have the honour of representing 56,000 people as the president of the Alumni Association of Lakehead University.

He enrolled at the fledgling campus in 1966, earning his Economics BA in 1969 followed by a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration. "With the 50th Anniversary celebrations underway," Lou says, "it's exciting to recall how Lakehead has grown over the decades."

Lou Pero

In 1970, Lou decided to get his teaching certificate because, he explains, "coaching and teaching have always been my passions." Soon after, he was hired as a business teacher at Lakeview High School – kicking off a 31-year-career as an educator, administrator, and sports coach. Later, while working full time, Lou returned to Lakehead to complete a bachelor and master's of education.

Lou's dedication extends to the community at large. A lifelong Thunder Bay resident, he and his wife Joan have two children and six grandchildren. Lou has been active as a volunteer hockey, baseball, and basketball coach.

In 1989, Lou renewed his connection with Lakehead University when he signed on as the men's basketball coach before moving into his current role as Lakehead Athletics' manager of student development in 2003. "I focus on helping student athletes with their academic program, troubleshooting, and coordinating eligibility requirements," he says.

black and white photo
Growing up, his first love was hockey but Lou (6th from the left in this Nor'Wester '67 Lakehead yearbook photo) switched to basketball because many of his friends were on the University team and he developed a deep love of the sport

Lou has been a mentor to countless athletes and his achievements have been recognized with many awards, including a prestigious Jean-Marie De Koninck Award from Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).

Eight years ago, he joined the Alumni Association of Lakehead University, further deepening his relationship with his alma mater. Now that Lou's taken on the mantle of AALU president, building connections with students and alumni is his priority. "We want to make our grads proud of who we are and where we are going."

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