This year's convocation ceremonies in Thunder Bay and Orillia were memorable occasions. In Thunder Bay, honorary degrees were given to social activist Margaret Phillips, music industry entrepreneur Michael Rapino, and scientist and philanthropist Dr. Dominic Man-Kit Lam. Alum Roy Piovesana was made a Fellow of the University. It was the first time in our history that all of the honorary degree recipients were Lakehead alumni. In addition, graduating students and their families watched a special screening of highlights from Lakehead's 1965 convocation – including the installation of our first chancellor, Senator Norman M. Paterson. It was the public premiere of the film which had been painstakingly restored by Lakehead's multimedia tech coordinator, John Bonofiglio.
In Orillia, hometown boy and Canadian legend Gordon Lightfoot was given an honorary degree and he then delighted the audience with a musical performance. Angelo Orsi, Orillia's former mayor, was named a Fellow of the University while Robert Lamb, Orillia's manager of economic development, was recognized with a Civitas Award. Both men were essential to the establishment and growth of Lakehead's Orillia campus.
Holistic Early Learning
Education professors Katherine Becker and Sonia Mastrangelo organized the First Global Conference on Holistic Early Learning and Development at the Lakehead Orillia campus. Two days of workshops were led by education and childhood development experts. "In addition to researchers, we expect participation from teachers, therapists, policymakers, parents, and others with an interest in early child development," said Mastrangelo. Last year, Becker and Mastrangelo founded the International Journal of Holistic Early Learning and Development.
Steel Bridge Win
In March, the C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse was buzzing as teams of engineering students from across North America raced to assemble models of steel bridges they had spent months designing. It was one of the regional rounds in the annual American Society of Civil Engineers/American Institute of Steel Construction Student Steel Bridge Competition. Lakehead had the honour of hosting this year's event and also placed first in the competition – adding to our impressive record. Civil engineering students Mauricio Aristizabal, Myles Fadden, Codey Munshaw, Xerxes Unwala, and Adam Petrycki were thrilled with the results. "Starting and completing a complex project under a tight timeline was an exhilarating challenge," said Petrycki, a fourth-year student. "As a group we tackled a problem and over the course of the project we delivered a winning solution."
Holly Prince has received a 2015 Influential Women of Northern Ontario Award for Aboriginal Leadership. "I never chose the field of palliative care, it chose me," said Prince, a researcher with Lakehead University's Centre for Education and Research on Aging & Health (CERAH). She's currently a co-investigator and project manager of the 'Improving End-of-Life Care in First Nations' initiative which has been awarded $1.9 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Over the past 12 years, Prince's innovative research, conducted in partnership with Northwestern Ontario First Nations, has improved access to quality palliative care in these communities.
Orillia Campus Principal
On May 15, 2015, it was announced that Lakehead Orillia Dean & Vice-Provost Kim Fedderson would have a new title and new responsibilities. He's now the principal of the Orillia campus. "This executive change is necessary to ensure the future of this campus, and the continued, successful growth of Lakehead University in the City of Orillia, the County of Simcoe, and beyond," noted President Brian Stevenson. Principal Fedderson will ensure that all operations at the Orillia campus align with the University's strategic and academic plans.
Jenn Lucas and Liz Breton enjoyed sparking the imaginations of elementary students at the Dragon's Lair Gifted Outreach (GO) Conference.
Engaging Gifted Students
Over 30 Lakehead Orillia education students planned and facilitated programs for the Dragon's Lair Gifted Outreach (GO) Conference held on the Orillia campus. The conference was attended by gifted elementary students from the Simcoe County District School Board. It was a unique professional development opportunity for these soon-to-be-teachers, including Jenn Lucas and Liz Breton. The duo, who have just finished their final year at Lakehead, ran a workshop based on the curriculum topic of Habitats and Communities. Their workshop featured a scavenger hunt to collect materials that could be used to create a habitat fit for a dragon.
New Research Chairs
Lakehead received $2 million to establish four new Canada Research Chairs (CRC) in the fields of green chemicals, Indigenous mental health, fisheries, and human diversity. "Our CRCs are the stars of the research world," said Vice-President of Research, Economic Development and Innovation Andrew Dean. "They help develop the research and innovation that is making our future brighter, and for that we are very thankful." Pedram Fatehi is the Green Chemicals and Processes CRC, Christopher Mushquash is the Indigenous Mental Health and Addiction CRC, Michael Rennie is the Freshwater Ecology and Fisheries CRC, and Matthew Tocheri is the Human Origins CRC. Lakehead now has nine Canada Research Chairs dedicated to improving our depth of knowledge and quality of life. CRCs also play a critical role in strengthening Canada's international competitiveness and training the next generation of highly-skilled people.