To celebrate Lakehead’s 40th Anniversary, we thought it would be fun to contact graduates across the decades to ask them what they remember most about their University days. Who was their favorite prof? What are they doing now? How has Lakehead made a difference in their lives?
BA’73, Thunder Bay, Ontario
A successful lawyer, long-time donor, fundraiser, and volunteer involved with Lakehead University’s ATAC ~ Future of the North Capital Campaign. The William H. Buset Centre for Music and Visual Arts on campus is named in honor of his uncle.
How did your time at Lakehead prepare you for your life’s work?
My three years at Lakehead introduced me to problemsolving techniques. A large part of my present work involves finding solutions to problems or issues facing my clients, and my undergraduate work at Lakehead provided me with the initial skills to take on this task.
It was a time of new-found freedom – a time to become an adult – a time to forge new life-long friendships.
Studying for final exams by Lake Tamblyn on a sunny April afternoon.
Richard Anderson (Economics) was a great mentor to me. He encouraged me in my research projects and provided valuable advice concerning my post-graduate education.
I am most proud of my marriage of 27 years to Liz McWeeny, a wonderful person, and of our children who have grown up to become interesting and dynamic young adults. I also take pride in my work and the success of my legal practice.
One day in one of my Business Law classes at Lakehead, I had to prepare and present a case as if I was a lawyer. I found the experience and the intricacy of the law exhilarating, and I knew from that point that I wanted to be a lawyer.
EngTech‘01, BEng’03 (Chemical Engineering) Ottawa, Ontario
An Air Quality Science Officer with Environment Canada working in the Science Assessment and Integration Branch (SAIB), which contributes to the development of effective policies by providing policy makers with sound scientific assessments of environmental issues including climate change, smog, stratospheric ozone depletion and acid rain
The quality of my educational experience at Lakehead definitely prepared me well for graduate studies at the University of Toronto. I have been more than able to compete with “the best” at the University of Toronto, and the excellent learning experience that I had at Lakehead has contributed to that.
I had many great opportunities at Lakehead. One of the best was to work as an undergraduate research assistant with Lionel Catalan (Chemical Engineering) for two summers. At a larger university it would have been very unlikely that I would have had such great access to exciting, hands-on research activities as I had at Lakehead.
Poor air quality is an important issue as it is associated with serious detrimental effects to human health and the economy. In Ontario alone, air pollution is thought to contribute to approximately 5,800 premature deaths this year (Ontario Medical Association, June 2005, Illness Costs of Air Pollution (ICAP), http://www.oma.org/phealth/ smogmain.htm). Because of the health issues associated with air pollution, there are significant economic impacts due to health care costs and loss of productivity.
BEd’87, Chamonix, France
Principal Consultant and Director of Corporate Interventions Ltd., a company based in Chamonix, France, and the United Kingdom that works to develop business leaders and teams by engaging them in challenging, novel, and stimulating learning situations. Co-owner of Wilderness Medical Training and All Terrain Ski
All the work I do is about developing people and their performance in some respect. I get a great deal of satisfaction in helping someone excel beyond their own preconceived limits so that they become more confident, skilful, and most importantly, more independent in what they do – whether this is leading a business team, managing a medical emergency in the jungle, or skiing the back country.
It would be too easy to say that climbing Mount Everest has been my greatest achievement but it really is more of a symbol of how I’ve chosen to lead my life. I’ve worked hard to break a few moulds with the work I do, to be respected in my field, to be my own boss, and to engineer the freedom to follow a lifestyle where it is my priority to do exciting things in addition to work. Nobody on their deathbed ever wished they had worked more in their life.
HBScNursing’91, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Health Policy Analyst at Nishnawbe-Aski Nation
I first became involved at Lakehead during the development and ensuing implementation of the Native Nurses Entry Program (NNEP) in 1987. Then, after 21 years of nursing and raising a family of five children, I finally could go for a degree in Nursing. I can say that I really enjoyed myself, worked hard, and had the indubitable pleasure and support of having my sister Bernice Matthews (HBScN’91) as a classmate. My lasting impression is that Lakehead University is truly an international educational institution.
My work at Nishnawbe-Aski Nation entails working with First Nations people at the community level and with governments. Many years ago when I went into nursing, I thought of working with the Anishnawbe on two paths. One path is to teach about health and wellness. The other path is for my own inner growth and education – going back to learn about my people and my home, and learning to read and speak my first language. As a policy analyst, I create awareness of health issues and voice the First Nations concerns on different health policies developed and used by governments.
HBKinesiology’97, Toronto, Ontario
Human Resources Officer (OIP Intern) with the Ministry of Community & Social Services/Ministry of Children & Youth Services and a member of the Board of Directors of HAGI Community Service for Independence, and Easter Seals
How did Lakehead prepare you for your life’s work?
Besides acquiring a formal education, Lakehead gave me many other direct and indirect skills and abilities needed for employment – interpersonal skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills, formal writing skills, and computer skills. I learned more about life overall from going to Lakehead. Without this experience, I would not have met some of my closest friends and would not have become the person I am today.
Too many to choose, however I’m glad I was able to serve as President of LUSU in 1994-95.
Jane Taylor. Without her help, the Kinesiology program would have been that much harder.
Being hired for the Ontario Internship Program (OIP). I got one of 73 positions available last year and there were over 5,000 applicants.
Most Difficult Challenge
Life in general.
Being surrounded and supported by family and good friends.
Winnipeg City Councillor for the Elmwood/East Kildonan Ward, former Deputy Mayor, and currently a member of Cabinet holding the position of Secretary for Urban Aboriginal Opportunities
I majored in sociology. One course was on urban planning where we analyzed everything from road configuration to sewage and water treatment facilities. Another course was criminology and focused on gang behaviour, including peer pressure, mentoring, and developing positive alternatives. This course has been useful in the development of recreational programs for “at risk” youth. I minored in cultural anthropology, and studies on group interaction and group dynamics have also been useful.
Generally I loved everything – the campus, the professors, the other students, and the activities. I got involved in the school newspaper, The Argus, and though they never published any of my poetry, I learned about organizing thoughts, asking probing questions, and daring to approach “big” people and inviting them to come and speak because they just might do it! We got Allen Ginsberg, the famous American beat poet, to come and talk to us, as well as Tom Hayden, the leader of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) who married (and later divorced) actor Jane Fonda.
I loved playing Bridge in the student lounge. There was always a pick-up game happening, and if you hovered for five minutes you knew that someone would be leaving for a class and say, “Lil, take over for me.” I think that is where I had some of my most profound discussions with people that I hardly knew. We all talked about creating a better society, and I hope that I am living that dream.
Most Influential Experience
Is there anyone who can single out one thing? Perhaps the sit-in that was organized to protest the dismissal of one of our professors.
I love helping people, connecting them to the resources that they need, and motivating them to explore their dreams. I believe that we can make this world a better place if we listen to each other and help each other to achieve our goals.
I could point to many things – bridges, parks, bicycle paths – but the most important thing to me has been having the confidence of my constituents these past 15 years.
Most Difficult Challenge
Trying to utilize the finite dollars of the City of Winnipeg in the most effective way. It always hurts when there is a good idea that you must say no to because there is not enough money.
The birth of my son was my greatest joy. The miracle of birth still amazes me.
HBA’65, MA’70, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Archivist/Historian with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Thunder Bay. Retired teacher and former head of history at Hammarskjold High School, Lakehead Board of Education
Those of us who studied at Lakehead during the 1960s had a unique experience. We were students in a "newly emergent" Ontario university. The degree programs in arts and science, although patterned after those at well established universities such as Queen's, Western, and the University of Toronto, were nevertheless experimental and in a state of flux depending on the style and areas of specialization of a small faculty. Full-time students at Lakehead, however, were fortunate in that classes were small. If the professor was both a scholar and an outstanding teacher (and in several instances they were), the learning experience was unforgettable.
What stands out in my mind now about Lakehead during the early to mid-1960s, was that it was a stimulating place for the exchange of ideas between students and faculty. Outside of lectures and seminars, we frequently sat together over coffee discussing a wide range of issues in the common room (situated in the Braun Building) and later in the Student Union cafeteria.
During the 1960s, three historians had a profound influence on my thinking as a student and later as a teacher of history. Tom Miller taught me the importance of striving for excellence and demanding only the best from myself and from my students. For those of us aspiring to be teachers, Elizabeth Arthur was an exemplary role model. Her consistent capacity for hard work, scholarship, logical and precise thinking, and her genuine enthusiasm and love of Canadian history were reflected in her lectures, seminars, and publications. Kenneth Dodd taught many of us, particularly in the historiography seminar, the historical method and in particular, the central place of documents in the study and teaching of history. This trio in the Department of History established the foundations of Lakehead’s honours history and graduate programs.
BA’73, BEd’82, Thunder Bay
Director of Education, Thunder Bay District Catholic School Board
There were many professors who fulfilled my expectations and added a spark to my academic studies. I would like to specifically thank Alain Nabarra (Languages) and Penny Petrone (Education). Both exhibited a genuine love for teaching and sincere concern for their students, something I appreciated and now look for when hiring staff.
One of my favorite professors was Ron Duhamel. He taught an education course during my diploma year, designed to prepare us to teach French as a Second Language. His style, his joie de vivre, and his love of French were passed on to each of us privileged to be in his classes, and he challenged me to do the same when I was teaching French to my students.
As the CEO of a Catholic school system, I strive to promote the qualities, skills, and distinctiveness of our Catholic School Board as well as Catholic education in general.
HBA’96, Master of Forestry’96, Ghana
Regional Forestry Manager, Forest Services Division, Forestry Commission, Ghana
I was enrolled in the Master of Forestry degree program. A unique thing about the program was the setting up of teams to discuss issues in class. This developed my ability to collaborate well in teams at my job place. As a result, I am able to gather ideas from other people, incorporate them and ultimately come out with workable decisions.
I found Lakehead University to be a pleasant place with an ideal environment for learning. One thing I will never forget about Lakehead, and for that matter Canada, is the very cold winters where one had to dress warmly and wait patiently at the Agora to catch a bus after lectures.
I am currently working as a regional manager of the Forest Services Division in one of the 10 regions in Ghana. The job is challenging but with the training from Lakehead I am able to cope. Forestry in Ghana is primarily a male-dominated field, and I am one of the few women in a fairly senior position. This indicates the intensity of the challenge to perform my job duties.
EngTech’71, BEng’74 (Civil Engineering) Vancouver, British Columbia
Chairman, Co-CEO, and Director of Discovery Capital Corporation
After engineering, IBM, and management consulting, I have found that nothing makes me happier than helping entrepreneurs build successful technology companies.
Fondest Memory of Lakehead
Cystic Fibrosis fundraising campaigns, Winter Carnival, and Engineering Week.
A three-way tie – George Fleming, Roy Murray, Bob Rosehart.
Being part of a small group of people that reshaped Canada’s stock exchanges and capital markets (former Director of Vancouver and CDNX Stock Exchanges, current Board member, TSX Group).
Most Difficult Challenge
Launching a brand-new technology venture capital firm with zero experience.
My wife Barb and our two kids – Kevin, in fourth-year of a Computer Science program at Simon Fraser University, and Leah, after a year at International College in Cannes, France, now at Concordia University in Montreal.
Striking out for Vancouver and Whistler after Convocation in May 1974 in my ’68 MGB.
Coordinator of the Gender Mainstreaming Programme, Lecturer in the Department of African & General Studies, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana
How did Lakehead prepare you for your life’s work?
The emphasis on independent research and self-directed learning prepared me for my doctoral work. Indeed, when I got to Queen's University, I was well equipped with the requisite analytical and cognitive skills for my research work. As a result, I was able to complete my doctoral studies in record time – three-and-a-half years.
The realization that my contribution makes a huge difference in the lives of the largely poor and deprived communities with which I work. The opportunity to give back to my people, the poorest of the poor in Ghana.
Securing support for mainstreaming gender issues into my University's development activities (on- and off-campus). This has resulted in the creation of the Gender Mainstreaming Programme office, which I coordinate.
Camping out with Dennis McPherson (Indigenous Learning) in the Agora Circle in the cold in support of his protest against racism.
The International Student Centre gave me opportunities to meet with other International students, catch up on international and home news, get support on unique issues, and above all relax and gossip about ongoing events.
Thanks for the MEMORIES
This two-part series, Remembering Lakehead, has generated a tremendous amount of positive feedback from our readers. In the last issue we encouraged you to send in your memories by email for a chance to win two bottles of 40th Anniversary wine. Thanks for your feedback and congratulations to our winner, Delfina Trevisan (BA’90, HBSW’91).
“What impressed me was the mixture of people that were present and the vast knowledge and experiences that they were able to contribute to the classes. In general, I found Lakehead very accepting of individuals.
I can remember the cold winter mornings when I had to attend classes at 8:30 a.m. which now, in retrospect, does not seem such a big deal... I loved playing rugby on the women's team which Des Lynch (BA’91, HBSW’93) and I co-founded.
Congratulations, Lakehead University, on your 40th Anniversary.”
– Delfina Trevisan