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Lakehead University Magazine


Superior Outdoors

Magazine creators Michelle and Darren McChristie stake out their claim to cover outdoor adventure on the North Shore

Janet Fuchek

Upon graduation, some Lakehead University graduates move away from Thunder Bay to realize their dreams. For Michelle and Darren McChristie, however, Northwesten Ontario is their greener pasture.

Through their publication Superior Outdoors — a magazine they launched locally in May 2007 — the Thunder Bay couple is connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs in the region who celebrate its uniqueness.

“I have met a lot of interesting people in the outdoors,” Darren explains. “That spawned the idea for the magazine. I got tired of picking up magazines throughout Canada that listed the top 20 places for the outdoors in Canada, and there was no mention of this region.”

Darren and Michelle felt that such a publication would fill a void, informing readers of outdoor pursuits other than the traditional fishing and hunting. Superior Outdoors, with its tagline “a magazine of the North Shore,” covers stories and events from Duluth, Minnesota, to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Originally from Thunder Bay and a graduate of Fort William Collegiate & Vocational Institute, Michelle attended the University of Guelph for its environmental sciences program prior to her stint at Lakehead. She met Darren, who was born in Timmins, 12 years ago before her last year in Guelph. As a youngster, he had moved with his family to London, Ontario, and had later relocated to Thunder Bay, where his father started an exploration company during the mining boom.

The McChristies are pleased with how the first two issues of Superior Outdoors have turned out, and are hoping to produce three issues in 2008. “The magazine is helping to put Thunder Bay on the map,” Michelle figures.

Among the professionals involved are Gary and Joanie McGuffin, well known photojournalists and environmentalists with several books featuring their adventures and photographs. Local writer Michael O’Reilly has contributed his expertise to the project, and other prominent photographers whose work is included in the magazine are Gregg Johns, Tom Gvora, and Lori Fox Rossi.

Keeping the notion of a grassroots magazine in mind, Darren has also recruited fascinating outdoors enthusiasts he has encountered. “A couple of guys skated across the bay to the Sleeping Giant,” he recalls. “I asked them if they would consider writing an article, and the article they wrote was a great story.”

Another popular story was “Surfing Superior,” written by Thunder Bay’s John-Paul Marion. Given the McChristies’ busy schedule, their home makes a convenient office location for the magazine. Michelle, 33, is the Manager of Marketing and Sales for Superior Outdoors, while Darren, 36, is the Editor-in-Chief and attends to the graphics, layout, and production of the publication.

But this monumental task is not their only preoccupation. They also have day jobs and for Darren, another sideline – his Superior Kiteboarding business, inspired by the sport of kite boarding, which he took up seriously while living in Nunavut. “I did it with some Arctic explorers while we were living in Iqaluit for three years,” he explains.

Michelle is a Senior Environmental Advisor with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada – a position she has held for the past three years, while Darren is a supply teacher. In Iqaluit, Darren taught grades 5-7, while his wife held the same type of day job as she has now. “In Nunavut, we were above the treeline and I was teased about having a Master’s degree in Forestry,” says Michelle.

Michelle, Sarah, and Nathan

The international company Disticor distributes Superior Outdoors throughout the North Shore and beyond. It is available at newsstands and bookstores, such as Lakehead University Alumni Bookstore, Chapters, Barnes & Noble, as well as at Mountain Equipment Co-op locations in Toronto, Ottawa, and Winnipeg. The McChristies also  distribute the magazine themselves to several outdoor stores in the region. Subscriptions can be purchased through the Superior Outdoors’ website The cost is $8 for a one-year subscription and $14 for two years.

The Thunder Bay couple cannot speak highly enough about Northwestern Ontario and its attractions.

“I don’t think I appreciated it when I was younger,” admits Michelle. “I had to move away and come back. We never really stray too far from what our passion is, knowing what we have here is so rich and diverse and how exceptional the recreational opportunities are along the North Shore of Lake Superior and Northwestern Ontario in general.”

For the McChristies, there’s no place like home – a sentimental feeling that connects them and their two children, Sarah and Nathan, to other outdoor enthusiasts in the area.

With Superior Outdoors they hope to spread the word around.

Making Climate Change Real

A profile on Professor Steve Colombo, research scientist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Frances Harding

Professor Steve Colombo

Steve Colombo knew he was on to something important when, as a graduate student, he had to stop his research every weekday because of rush hour traffic.

“I was measuring photosynthesis in tree seedlings at Lakehead during the late 1970s. In those days, the Forestry labs were located on the third floor of the Centennial Building directly above the parking lot. I was drawing outside air into a semi-closed gas analysis system — an old aquarium tank actually — and every day around 4 o’clock in the afternoon we would watch our CO2 levels jump as people started their vehicles and drove away from the campus. It was amazing.”

Today, Steve Colombo is a research scientist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources’ Ontario Forest Research Institute and one of the driving forces behind a website that shows through a series of maps just how different Ontario’s climate could be unless we all do our part to control greenhouse gas emissions.

The website shows possible future climates for three time periods — the early, middle, and late 21st Century — under two scenarios representing two different levels of greenhouse gas concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The “A2” and “B2” scenarios of greenhouse gas concentrations are considered intermediate scenarios and have been approved by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

For example, 50 years from now, under the “A2” scenario, the average winter temperature in Thunder Bay would increase by 3 or 4 degrees Celsius. In Fort Severn, high up on the coast of Hudson’s Bay, it would increase between 6 and 7 degrees Celsius, and this is going to wreak havoc on many isolated communities in the North that rely on winter roads during the colder months of the year.

“Our goal was to make climate change real to people living in Ontario,” says Colombo. “We wanted the website to be technically sound but not overly complex.”

Sure enough, the projections are proving to be useful for people doing strategic planning, adaptive management, and resource forecasting. Since the website was launched last summer, MNR has logged an average of 185 views per month.

Born in Owen Sound, and raised in Toronto, Colombo showed no particular interest in science in high school until the early 1970s when, as he says, “the modern environmental movement was beginning.” He chose to study Forestry at the University of Toronto and, after one particular third-year tree physiology course captured his imagination, he decided to become a scientist.

He enrolled first in the Master of Forestry program at Lakehead University in 1977 where he was one of four or five members of the inaugural class. After graduation, he was hired by the Ministry of Natural Resources’ Research Branch and since 1985 has conducted research mainly on climate issues pertaining to forest growth. In 1996, he completed a PhD in Forestry at the University of Toronto.

These days, Steve Colombo serves as adjunct professor at Lakehead University and is based on campus at the Centre for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research (CNFER). Although he does not teach classes at Lakehead, he does serve on the graduate committees for Master’s and PhD students, and has collaborated with Lakehead faculty members, Professors Qing-Lai Dang and Nancy Luckai, on a review paper on forest management effects on carbon storage.

Professor Colombo describes himself as a “humanist” when it comes to approaching the problems associated with climate change. He is optimistic about our ability to change the way we do things in light of the threats associated with rising greenhouse gas emissions. “Given our resources, we can come up with solutions; what is needed is the political will and the dedication of competent people in many different fields.”

Reprinted with permission from the Ministry of Natural Resources
“Most of the adaptations we need to make are good for us anyway,” says Colombo. “Take industry for example. Industry needs to be more energy efficient and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When they do, they’ll also be more competitive because their energy costs will go down.”

Does he think the issue of climate change will stay high on the political agenda?

Yes! “Climate change is a grass roots issue that is being driven by people concerned about their future. From taking part in meetings around the province, I know that if the subject is climate change, you are guaranteed a sell-out audience.”

See how climate change will affect your community

Lakehead Says No to WiFi

Lakehead University takes a precautionary approach to the widespread application of WiFi technology

Eleanor Abaya and Fred Gilbert

Last fall, Lakehead University held a Town Hall Meeting to provide information on its policy on high-frequency wireless local area network technology commonly known as WiFi (short for "wireless fidelity").

Lakehead's policy states that there will be no use of WiFi in those areas of the University already served by hard wire connectivity until such time as the potential health effects have been scientifically rebutted or there are adequate protective measures that can be taken.

Eleanor Abaya, Lakehead's Director of Communications, met with Lakehead University President Fred Gilbert after the meeting to discuss his concerns over the effects of long-term exposure to WiFi electromagnetic fields, and his approach in limiting wireless connectivity based on the precautionary principle.


Eleanor Abaya: What is your main concern about wireless networks?

Fred Gilbert
: Potential health effects! There are now so many peer-reviewed studies demonstrating biological effects that it is difficult to imagine that there are no negative health effects.

Abaya: What do you say to critics of your position who say that, according to Health Canada and other sources, there are no health concerns about wireless technologies?

: Get your heads out of the sand! Read the literature - a great starting point is the Bio Initiative Report - What that report clearly demonstrates is that the standards that are supposed to protect us are set too high in North America.

Abaya: Lakehead prides itself in being a leader in offering advanced communications technology for teaching and learning. Does our current WiFi policy not threaten this leadership position and project the image that we at Lakehead are technologically backward?

: Lakehead has demonstrated clearly a commitment to being at the forefront of technological advancement. We were one of the first Canadian universities to put in place VOIP (voice over internet protocol) telephony, and we are still one of the largest Canadian deployments of VOIP. We have developed classroom learning technology with partners Sony, IBM, Precision Camera, and others. We acquired a Cray supercomputer early on and an SGI-based virtual reality laboratory (among others).

Both the Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses are hardwired with fibre optic connectivity. WiFi is a  convenience, not a necessity in such an environment. We have permitted the Lakehead University Student Union to provide this convenience in student-controlled space on the Thunder Bay campus - The Outpost - provided the site is posted as a WiFi hotspot and the radiation does not impinge on areas outside The Outpost.

Abaya: What infrastructure is currently in place for connectivity at Lakehead?

: Lakehead University data communications network supports all administration, research, and academic needs. The network encompasses over 66 wiring closets, 290 Ethernet switches, and over 7,500 network connections.

The infrastructure is tied together over a multi-gigabyte fibre-optic backbone. Computers, cameras, environmental controls, and over 2,600 IP phones are just some of the devices using TCP/IP as the standard for connecting across this network.

Lakehead also maintains connections to high-speed research networks ORION, CANet4, and other commercial internet providers. Connectivity to the Orillia campus and remote offices exists over leased and dedicated Ethernet infrastructure.

Our overall connectivity infrastructure is as modern and efficient as anywhere in the Ontario university system. 

The policy

Click here to view Lakehead University WiFi Policy.

Notes from the Editor

Committed to Sustainability

Frances Harding, Editor
Frances Harding
Frances Harding


We all know that universities must play a leading role in responding to the crisis of environmental pollution and the degradation of our natural resources.

What you might not know is that more than 350 presidents, rectors, and vice chancellors of universities around the world, including Lakehead University’s President, have endorsed a 10-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations, and outreach. It is called the Talloires Declaration and you can read more about it online (

In past issues of Lakehead University Magazine, we have celebrated Lakehead’s remarkable success in reducing greenhouse gasses and improving energy efficiency. In this issue, we highlight some of the actions our students, faculty, alumni, and staff are taking to effect change — including the Do Something awareness campaign urging high school students to do something about war, poverty, pollution, and climate change.

Our cover story celebrates two young graduates — Darren and Michelle McChristie — who are championing outdoor recreation opportunities around the North Shore with a spirited new magazine called Superior Outdoors. Their vision and entrepreneurial drive is an inspiration to us all. Next we feature a more seasoned Lakehead graduate and Adjunct Professor of Forestry, Steve Colombo, who shares his wisdom on climate change.

Finally, we have a conversation with Lakehead President Fred Gilbert who discusses his views on the health risks associated with the widespread application of high-frequency wireless local area network technology, otherwise known as WiFi.

I sincerely hope you enjoy this issue of Lakehead University Magazine — in print and online — and that you keep us apprised of your current mailing address. And remember, if you have comments, story ideas, or news you would like to share with your classmates, please let us know.

Lakehead University Pool

Whither the Lakehead Pool?

In the Fall/Winter 2007 issue of Lakehead University Magazine we reported on a proposal to address the deferred maintenance costs associated with the Lakehead pool.

For an update on the latest developments visit

Campus News

Reducing our Environmental Footprint

Lakehead University is identifying sustainable practices and other ways to lessen its environmental footprint in Orillia and Thunder Bay.

Energy Wise: Work continues on Phase II of a $23.3-million campus renewal program in Thunder Bay, which has reduced Lakehead’s greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 4,600 tonnes per year and reduced its use of energy per square metre by over 40% since 2004. Last October, Lakehead was presented with a cheque for $71,783 from Union Gas in recognition of its energy conservation program, and was featured in the company's fall 2007 Energywise publication, promoting better energy management among public institutions.

LEED Building: Lakehead’s new campus building in Orillia will be seeking LEED certification at the Platinum level. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ranking system was established by the U.S. Green Building Council and is rapidly becoming the industry standard to measure the degree of sustainability.

Student Bus Pass: Students in Thunder Bay may now pick up a U-Pass from Transit Thunder Bay, entitling them to unlimited bus travel from September through April. The cost is $70 and is included in the student activity fee. Since the U-Passes were first issued last fall, transit ridership by Lakehead students has increased by 46% over last year.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Recycling programs are in place in Thunder Bay for cardboard, paper, glass, metal, batteries, fluorescent lamps, oil, grease, print cartridges, cell phones, ink-jet cartridges, and e-waste. Styrofoam products in the cafeteria have been replaced with china and biodegradable containers.

Buy Local: Whenever possible, Lakehead’s food service provider purchases food from local companies including Thunder Bay's George’s Market, De Bruins Greenhouse, Thunder Oak Cheese Farm, and B & B Farms.

Take a Bike: Students who ride their bike to Campus in Thunder Bay are now able to park in the Bike Shack, a secure, non-heated facility beside the William H. Buset Music and Visual Arts Building.

Tune In: Read Professor Reg Horne’s story “Orillia Students Do Something” in the online issue of Lakehead University Magazine to find out what his class is doing about the environment click here.

A Portfolio Approach

Professor Bill Parker is speaking up about the responsibilities Professional Foresters have for conserving the forest’s genetic base.

Crowe & Parker
Kevin Crowe & Bill Parker

Parker is a forest geneticist who has spent much of his career modeling tree growth based on climate variables such as precipitation and temperature. By the use of common garden tests, he has been able to assist government and industry by developing a reduced number of effective breeding zones for jack pine and black spruce, thus saving millions of dollars destined to be spent on unneeded tree improvement programs.

Recently, Parker teamed up with Professor Kevin Crowe to apply a well-known economic theory of portfolio diversity to ensure that Ontario forests flourish in times of climate change.

The Theory of Portfolio Choice was developed by Harry Markowitz in the 1950s and earned him a Nobel Prize for Economics in 1990. It’s a theory that analyzes how wealth can be optimally invested in assets which differ in regard to their expected return and risk. In short, it is a way of minimizing risk.

Applying this economic theory to their own field, Crowe and Parker have selected a portfolio of tree seed “stocks” and charted their performance from 2010 to 2060 at a particular site, under five different climate scenarios. “The challenge was to minimize the co-variance of the tree seed stocks,” says Parker, “in essence, to choose seeds that performed well across a wide range of variables, particularly precipitation and temperature.

“We know from the climate change modeling being done around the world that predictions about the amount of precipitation and rise of temperature depend on many different factors, such as how quickly society moves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The portfolio approach to tree seed selection will help us to manage our forests in the best way possible, given these uncertainties."

Eco-Literacy Adventure Camp

Eco Literacy

This summer Lakehead is again offering its Eco-Literacy Adventure Camp — a three-week summer camp for children entering Grades 4-7, combining literacy skill development with ecology, art projects, fitness, and games to provide a quality learning experience that is both fun and interesting. For more information contact the Department of Lifelong Learning at (807) 346-7872 or visit at

Underdog Strategies

Laure Paquette

Laure Paquette
Professor Laure Paquette
Political Science Professor Laure Paquette has been conducting research with an American military university to develop tools for understanding underdog strategies. Her work with Joint Special Operations University focuses on the mistakes that terrorists and other criminals make in their strategic thinking processes.

Paquette has lectured at military academies and staff colleges in Canada, China, South Korea, and Japan. She has published Bioterrorism and Health Services Administration, provided advice to the U.S. Air Force on its counterinsurgency doctrine, and is developing a guide to counterinsurgency training.

Changing Misconceptions

Lori Chambers
Professor Lori Chambers

A new book by Women’s Studies Professor Lori Chambers sheds light on the problem of child poverty in Canada. Misconceptions: Unmarried Motherhood and the Ontario Children of Unmarried Parents Act, 1921-1969, is the end result of a painstaking analysis of the case files of social workers in Ontario, and it reveals that in order to improve child welfare we must also work to improve the welfare of mothers. Chambers received the Alison Prentice Award from the Ontario Historical Society for her first book published in 1997, Married Women and Property Law in Victorian Ontario.


A Tradition of Excellence

Tom Warden, Athletics Director

Lakehead Athletics roared into action last fall as varsity teams and club teams began their seasons, and campus recreation continued its tradition of excellent intramural programs and fitness classes for our students and staff.

Club sports showed success with teams such as Lakehead Rugby continuing its strong play in the Minnesota Rugby Union. Our new Golf team made an immediate impact at U.S. and OUA golf tournaments as well. Lakehead made its first appearance at the new CIS National Curling Championships, and the Wolves men’s squad went a perfect 6-0 in round robin play before bowing out in the first playoff round.

The varsity Thunderwolves teams continue to make inroads and develop. Lakehead Cross Country, under Head Coach Kip Sigsworth, made huge improvements again this season, and Lakehead placed an athlete at the CIS national championships for the first time in a long while. Similarly, Coach Sigsworth and the Indoor Track teams had another strong season this year.

Lakehead’s young Wrestling squads, under Head Coach Owen Dawkins, did very well at this year’s OUA Championships. The men qualified 10 wrestlers for the CIS National Championships (the most of any team) and Mitch Fryia and Huy Nguyen brought home national gold medals. Lakehead’s women volleyball squad, under Head Coach Kathy Clouthier, did not make the playoffs but showed they are developing well. Things look good for next season with most of the team returning.

Coach Lisa Patterson and her two Nordic squads won OUA titles for the fourth consecutive year with Lakehead skiers being named MVP for both men and women and Lakehead garnering six OUA All Stars. The women’s Nordic team went on to capture the Canadian Colleges and Universities’ National Championship for the fifth straight year.

Coach Scott Morrison and his men’s Basketball team and Coach Jon Kreiner and his women’s squad put up tough battles and almost qualified for the playoffs. Lakehead’s men made a huge improvement from last year and lost to eventual national champions Brock by one point in a controversial game which, if Lakehead had won, would have put the Wolves in the playoffs.

Finally on the Hockey front, new Head Coach Don McKee led Lakehead men’s Hockey team to a record-breaking season as the team set the best record in the entire OUA. The Wolves got to the Ontario Final Four before bowing out to Brock in the deciding game of the series in overtime. However, the Wolves’ Chris Whitley and Jordan C. Smith were named CIS First Team All Canadians and Whitley was also the OUA and OUA West MVP. Lakehead had three OUA First Team All Stars, one Second Team All Star, and one OUA All Rookie. The team loses only two players and things are looking very good for next season when Lakehead University hosts the CIS national championships.

It has been a fantastic year and next season looks to be an even better one.

Stay in touch with Lakehead Athletics, its teams, and its new intramural and fitness programs by going to our websites at and

Class Notes


Professor Richard Bladek (Ryerson Engineering and Architecture - First Year, 1963) worked in Korea for two years and has spent the last five years in China. He is currently working in the International Exchanges department of Beijing University of Technology.

Valedictorian of Lakehead’s first graduating class Doug Brown (BA’65) is retired from a career in Psychology and living with his wife Bobbie (Ainsworth) at Lurgan Beach, Lake Huron, south of Kincardine, ON. Brown completed a Master’s degree from the University of Waterloo in 1967 and spent 34 years working in Psychological Services for the Waterloo County Board of Education. He has two children — Ian, a doctor of naturopathic medicine practicing in Collingwood, and Keely, a lawyer who works for the Edmonton Oilers.


In 1993, Jane Somerton (BA’72, HBA’74, BEd’77) retired from teaching for the Lakehead Board of Education where she served as an elementary/special education teacher, and a public school principal. Jane was widowed three times. She married Bert Somerton in May 2007 and together they are enjoying their five daughters and families. She writes, “What opportunities we were offered and accepted. Thanks Lakehead!”

Ottawa poet and writer Cyril Dabydeen (HBA‘73) was recently awarded the Guyana Prize for Literature for his novel Drums of My Flesh. Dabydeen read from the book in the Netherlands and in New York City at the Guyana Folk Festival during 2007. The novel was nominated for the 2007 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and was a finalist for the city of Ottawa Book Awards in 2006.

Lorraine Milton
(BA’79) is the author of Step by Step to Grace: A Spiritual Walk through the Bible and the Twelve Steps, published by Novalis Press 2002. She is now writing a second book, Cameos of Courage: The Spiritual Challenge of Living with Chronic Illnesses and Disabilities. Milton has a Master of Arts degree in Theology from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities at New Brighton, Minnesota. For eight years she worked as a chaplain consultant in the Spiritual Care Department at the Hazelden Foundation, an alcohol and chemical addiction rehabilitation centre in Minnesota.


Rich Lavoy (HBScF’81) is an education coordinator with Archbold Biological Station in Lake Placid, Florida, and is working on a BA in environmental education.

Gary Armstrong (BAdmin‘84) is Chief Financial Officer of Family Memorials Inc., a company in the business of consolidating retail businesses selling granite monuments for placement on individual cemetery lots. Armstrong is a Certified Management Accountant who has held senior executive positions, including CFO for TBayTel and Manager of Finance and Administration for the City of Vancouver Police Department.

Duncan Weller (BA’89) is the winner of the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Award – Children’s Literature (Illustration) for The Boy from the Sun, a book described by the jury as a “charming, fresh, and joyful book” that perfectly melds story and image. Born in Montreal, Weller studied fine arts at Lakehead and now is back in Thunder Bay working on an honours degree in English. His two other published books are Space Snake and Night Wall. Weller is collaborating with younger brother Eric, a local film producer, on a high-definition video version of the latter book. Weller also paints, and writes poetry and short stories.


Tracy Mullins (HBOR/BA’90) received his AICP accreditation from the American Institute of Certified Planners. To become a certified planner entitled to use the AICP designation, members of the institute must meet stringent educational and experience requirements and pass a written exam. Tracy is the Director of Planning and Design at MJA Consulting, a regional planning and urban design company in Lakeland, Florida, that specializes in conservation development and green designs. Mullins received a full scholarship for his Masters of Science degree in Geography from Eastern Michigan University. Tracy worked as an adjunct lecturer in the Behavioral Science Department of the University of Michigan before moving to Florida and marrying his wife Marcia Morse Mullins. Tracy plans to release a book on Traditional Indigenous Planning in the fall of 2008.

Pasi Pinta (BSc’91) accepted the position of Director of Technology at Northern Ontario School of Medicine in October 2006. In addition to graduating from the Computer Science program at Lakehead, he worked in the University’s Computer Services/CRTC department from 1991 to 1995. From 1995 to 2006, he was based out of Dryden, ON., and worked in the forest products industry with Avenor, Bowater, Weyerhaeuser, and EDS prior to coming back to Thunder Bay. Pasi obtained his MBA specializing in Information Technology Management from the University of Athabasca in 2003 in addition to becoming a certified Project Management Professional in 2005 from the Project Management Institute. He married his wife Kerri-Ann in 1997 and they have a son, Kasey, 9, and a daughter, Brooke, 7. The family enjoys the outdoors together through all the seasons.

Vic Dhillon (BAdmin‘92), Ontario MPP for Brampton West, is Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour. He is married to Shaminder and they have two sons, Robin and Sajjan, and a daughter named Taj. Before being elected in 2003, he ran a family-owned business and worked as Executive Assistant to MP Colleen Beaumier. Vic has taken on leading roles in many non-profit fundraising campaigns, including a local group that collected much-needed supplies for the devastating ice storm in eastern Ontario, tsunami in Asia, and earthquake in Pakistan.

Lecturer in Sociology Kevin D. Willison (MA’93) has had a book chapter on the subject of interprofessional education (IPE) and chronic disease management accepted for publication in New Perspectives on Knowledge, Attitudes & Practices in Health, a book soon to be published by Nova Science Publishers. Willison was born and raised in Orillia and is now teaching courses in Sociology at Lakehead’s Orillia Campus. His research interests include the sociology of health and illness, gerontology, health promotion, and public health. He is pursuing the completion of his PhD with the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto. Type: ”WILLISON” to link to sample peer-reviewed publications by K. Willison:

Gregory Duras (BAdmin‘94) has been appointed Chief Financial Officer of Beartooth Platinum Corporation of Toronto, ON.

Andrew Bird (BAdmin’95) works as an Implementation Manager for Zantaz, an autonomy company based in Ottawa. He married Ann in July 2006 and they spent their honeymoon in Tahiti. To celebrate their first anniversary, they moved into a new house in one of Ottawa’s premier golf course communities.

In 2007, John MacPhail (HBA‘96, MA’00) received a Governor General’s Award (GGA) For Excellence in Teaching Canadian History and is currently teaching grades 7-8 at St. Dominic Catholic School in Oakville, ON. John coordinates an annual project for his class focusing on a six-week mock trial of William Lyon Mackenzie as a way to develop his students’ skills in critical thought, debate, and questioning assumptions. The GGA panel found that John “successfully bridges the gap between the Rebellions of 1837 and modern issues such as media bias, power structures, and the justice system. His lesson plans are comprehensive and the scaffolding he provides ensures student success.”

Scott Crawford (BA’97) is Director of Operations at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Marys, ON. He and his wife Samantha have two sons — Toby, 3, and Noah, born in September, 2007.

Carrie McGown (BA’99, HBOR‘99), a doctoral student in education at the University of New Hampshire, was deemed Outstanding Experiential Teacher of the Year by the Association of Experiential Education in November 2007.


Kevin Kelner (HBComm’04) is a senior analyst with Johnson & Johnson in Markham, ON, and has been a Project Management Professional since February 2007.

Robert Carlson (BA’05) is the owner/operator of RJC Window Cleaning, providing services to residential and commercial clients in Thunder Bay.

Do Something

Awareness Campaign 2007-2008

Eleanor Abaya

Breaking News

Do Something Awareness Campaign Wins Gold

Lakehead University has won the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE) Gold Award for its Do Something advertising campaign in the 2008 Prix d'Excellence Awards. The Do Something campaign surpassed all advertising entries from member universities and colleges across Canada in a competition judged by a panel comprising representatives from member organizations. Last year's YaleShmale won a Bronze.

In October we were approached by Strategy magazine, a publication that caters to the marketing, advertising, public relations, and direct mail industry. The magazine wanted to feature Lakehead University's Do Something ad campaign as the creative of the month in its November issue. Strategy invited two advertising agency creative directors to critique the campaign with respect to its overall strategy, creative approach, ability to convey its message in a fresh and unhackneyed manner, as well as its success in achieving the campaign's objectives.

Both creative directors had specific likes and dislikes about the campaign's executional details, as might be expected. Fundamentally, however, the campaign strategy was seen as a welcome departure from the plethora of trite higher education advertising flooding the GTA, many of which show -smiling faces signifying campus diversity,- or school buildings, or slices of campus life.

Therein lies the challenge of creativity in this genre. Universities by their very nature are in the business of marketing a similar set of attributes centered around the concept of Quality - quality of education/faculty, quality of research projects/researchers, quality of experience with faculty/staff, quality of campus life, and quality/quantity of scholarships and bursaries. To a great extent, the quality of alumni and opportunities for varsity athletics also come into play. All of these attributes help determine how potential students perceive and/or experience a particular university brand. And in the case of older universities with a lot of heritage, these attributes are seen as an intrinsic part of the brand until direct experience proves otherwise.

However, unlike branded products such as packaged goods and durables, it is far more challenging to convey Quality in the ultimate 'products' of a university - its students and graduates. First the 'production cycle' takes at least four years, and second there are countless variables that go into the production cycle. Standardization of best practices and procedures does not always achieve the same result when dealing with human beings as a 'product.'

As a fairly young institution in a region with a diminishing population, Lakehead's challenge is to be part of the short list for the decision process among Ontario's prospective students by continuing to invest itself with the brand attributes associated with Quality, but in a way that is different from what other universities do.

The Do Something campaign intentionally markets Lakehead indirectly as a Quality institution.

The campaign was conceived to align Lakehead with the concept of social responsibility. Leveraging the notoriety the institution has enjoyed with last year's YaleShmale ad campaign and the WiFi issue (See the article "Lakehead Says No to WiFi" on page 14), the campaign takes Lakehead to a higher plane; it appeals to young people at a time of their lives when idealism is expected and changing the world seems possible. Through association, the inference is that Lakehead is a socially aware institution - one that through its various programs and initiatives will help the student find ways to effect personal or community transformation. How could an institution concerned with changing the world for better not be a quality institution?

Do Something was launched in September with a microsite, a postering blitz in Toronto, and T-shirt giveaways at the Ontario University Fair for qualified prospects. This was supported by a transit campaign in the GTA, Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg. The microsite features various elements such as a Quiz, Send a Postcard, Did You Know, and Website Links to organizations that deal directly with the social issues being covered. The latter is important because Lakehead does not claim it has all the answers; rather, Lakehead's goal is to generate dialogue and possible solutions. The microsite also takes the audience to a subsidiary page on the Lakehead website that offers a list of programs and initiatives that demonstrate Lakehead's efforts in various areas to Do Something. A direct mail campaign was also launched - addressed to the principal - to over 600 high schools across Ontario. The direct mail campaign's objective was not only to bring the name Lakehead University to the forefront of the consciousness of these high schools but also to encourage its students to participate in a contest to win a mini-library of books that can help change the world. In addition, a short video on various ways Lakehead students are helping reduce, reuse, and recycle was developed to coincide with an on-campus conference on food security and sustainability, and the video is still getting hits on YouTube.

While it is too early to tell what effect the campaign will have on applications for 2008-09, stakeholder reaction to the campaign has been utterly positive and supportive. Prospective students think the campaign is clever and earnest without being coy. Current students love it, faculty and staff sing its praises, and alumni have indicated their support. One notable exception is a Dean who refused to wear our T-shirt at the Ontario University Fair with the explanation that - Lakehead has not really demonstrated that it has 'done something' to be able to stand up to the campaign. Many faculty members and students would disagree as shown by the long list of initiatives on the Lakehead University website (click here).

As we go to press, we are already in the planning stages for our next awareness campaign. It is too early to tell whether Do Something will continue to work as a longer term strategy or whether we need to develop something fresh to continue to pique interest. It is likely, however, that we will continue to leverage this approach in combination with other strategies.

Response as of April 1

Microsite Hits: 14,991
Contest Entries: 195

Going for Green

Campus Greening

Approximately 700 spruce, birch, pine, larch, green ash, and apple trees were planted last year to beautify the Thunder Bay campus and to promote a sustainable community. According to Director of Physical Plant Hugh Briggs (BAdmin’06), a healthy tree stores about 13 pounds of carbon annually. Lakehead University is currently working with EarthWise Thunder Bay to develop a community environmental action plan.
In this issue of the magazine you can learn more on how Lakehead is reducing its environmental footprint.

Distinguished Researcher - Todd Dufresne

Against Freud

Tim Anderson

Dr. Todd Dufresne has devoted most of his academic career to studying the impact of the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud.

His latest book, published in 2007, is entitled Against Freud: Critics Talk Back. The book features interviews with world-renowned scholars of psychoanalytic theory and practice to show that Freud’s theories were just plain wrong. As Dufresne puts it, “The book’s not just about Freud’s botched science, but about the bankruptcy of psychoanalysis as a socio-cultural movement.”

Born in Fort Frances, Ontario, Todd Dufresne went to high school in Thunder Bay. He completed a BA (Honours) in Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario and then went on to earn an MA and PhD in Social & Political Thought at York University in Toronto. He joined Lakehead’s Department of Philosophy 10 years ago, and has been Chair of the Department for the last six. Last February, he was presented with one of Lakehead University’s highest honors — the 2007 Lakehead University Distinguished Researcher Award.

Dufresne suspects he has only one or two books left to write on Freud, and has already begun to branch his efforts out into other areas. “I’ve started to collaborate with a small group of people doing work on creativity and economic development.” Ideally this work “will provide a vehicle to attract grants so that we can do some collaborative research of real relevance to Northern Ontario.”

Distinguished Instructor - Phil Fralick

Primordial Slime - The Genesis of Life

Michael Ade Sekudo

Life today may have been started by pond scum! At least this is what Phil Fralick believes. He is a sedimentologist, Chair of the Department of Geology, and recipient of the Lakehead University Distinguished Instructor Award for 2007.

“I’m building a fantasy world of what Earth looked like at various times in the distant past,” says Fralick. “If we were sitting here 2.7 billion years ago, we would be on the side of a volcanic island surrounded by oceans with no atmospheric oxygen, just carbon-dioxide vapor like Venus’s atmosphere. The highest life form then was photosynthesizing cyanobacteria, better known as pond scum.”

Fralick’s research group was the first to show that billions of years ago Earth formed pockets of oxygen in delta areas around the planet. Rivers emptied nutrients into the oceans. Cyanobacteria fed on the nutrients and produced oxygen. And with oxygen came the evolution of more complex life forms including humans.

“Earth has changed drastically in the past, but the rate of change has always been slow except for catastrophic events like meteorites. The problem is what people are doing. We’ve thrown a major monkey wrench into Earth’s plan, so now we’re driving the system as opposed to the Earth driving her own system.”

International News

Lakehead graduates connected with one another at Alumni Receptions held on January 11 and 12, 2008, at the Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore and the Holiday Inn Golden Mile in Hong Kong. Plans are already under way to hold the next alumni reception in late 2008 or early 2009.

“Though the turnout was small, I felt really good to have met people who have been to Lakehead... I believe Lakehead should hold reunions more frequently as the last one was about a decade ago. Though I’m moving to Montreal soon, I really hope the alumni chapter will grow here and graduates in Singapore will enjoy the same level of warmth as our counterparts in Canada.” — Veerappan Veeramariappan, BEng (Electrical) ‘02

“Thank you very much for your warm reception in Hong Kong. I had a great time at the reception meeting old and new friends. It is good to hear Lakehead is growing… I am eager to visit the campus in the near future if time allows. I would like to thank Lakehead for giving me such a quality education. Without Lakehead, my life would not have been the same.” — Daniel Tong, Eng Dip‘78, BEng (Civil) ‘80

The Alumni Association plans to profile more Asian alums in its Alumni E-News. It also hopes to use future annual gatherings to formally recognize and introduce some of the outstanding alumni and chapter executives to their peers and the local community.

Photos and alumni comments on the January 2008 receptions are available at the Alumni website:

If you missed the last reception and would like to add your name to the invitation list for the upcoming one, please email

(l-r) Alex Ho (BEng ‘79), Vonnie Cheng (BSc ‘80, BA ‘82, HBA ‘92, Grad Dip Bus ‘92), and Daniel Tong (Eng Dip ‘78, BEng ‘80) at the Hong Kong Alumni Reception.

Orillia Students “Do Something” to Save Environment

Reg Horne
Reg Horne
Reg Horne

At the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year, the 68 students in my Introductory Environmental Issues course at Lakehead - Orillia discussed environmental issues and their environmental footprints. While most of the students admitted that their lifestyles were not environmentally acceptable it remained to be seen if they would do something about this.  Eight weeks later, the class was surveyed to see if they had in fact done anything about their environmental footprint.  The multiple response survey generated 190 actions in 50 different categories.

Conservation around the house accounted for 93 responses with 22 students reporting that they were taking shorter showers. Other responses included doing laundry in cold water and washing dishes by hand.  Reducing electricity use by turning off lights and unplugging electronic equipment were also popular and a few students had invested in energy efficient light bulbs. Turning the thermostat down was another common household act.

The three “Rs” (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) were mentioned in 48 responses with being more careful about recycling having the highest single score at 27. Shopping with reusable bags and reducing the use of the essentials of every student, notepaper and bottled water, were also listed. Changes in food habits including reducing the purchase of packaged goods while increasing vegetables and local produce were other popular responses.

Reducing transportation footprints accounted for 32 responses and included walking, car pooling, and trying not to idle the car. Seven students mentioned reducing their use of chemicals and there were a few unexpected but nonetheless environmentally friendly responses such as: quit smoking, stop littering, becoming more aware of local and international environmental issues, and driving more carefully to reduce road kill.

The City of Orillia has an active green campaign and the students at Lakehead - Orillia have become a meaningful part of it. They have discovered that many green actions do not cost anything and some even save money, a strong incentive for University students to do something.
Professor Reg Horne has over 20 years of teaching experience and is currently teaching Economic and Cultural Geography, Environmental Issues, and Climatology at the Orillia campus. 

Preserving the Ojibwe Language

Andrew Bryce
Ethel Gardner
Professor Stelomethet Ethel Gardner
Professor Stelomethet Ethel Gardner, Chair of Lakehead University‘s Department of Aboriginal Education, is passionate about conserving the linguistic and cultural diversity that enriches the fabric of the human race. A member of Fraser Valley, British Columbia’s Stó:lo First Nation, Gardner has devoted much of her academic career to Aboriginal language revitalization in Canada. She is currently spearheading a research project – in partnership with the 28 “Treaty 3” Anishinaabe communities in Northern Ontario and Manitoba – with hopes to rejuvenate and reinvigorate their Ojibwe language.

In 2006, her first year at Lakehead, Gardner was asked to attend a meeting with members of Treaty 3’s three Tribal Councils. This meeting was held at the behest of the Treaty 3 representatives, who reached out to Lakehead’s Faculty of Education with hopes to gain the cooperation of the academic community and, together, take initial steps towards Ojibwe language restoration. After 30 years of language revitalization efforts, the Treaty 3 Tribal Councils had failed to produce any new Ojibwe speakers. Faced with the somber possibility of language extinction, the Councils coordinated their 28 communities, and decided to devote the next 15 years to reversing the stagnation of their language.

Gardner was pleased that the Treaty 3 Councils wanted to work with Lakehead faculty members, as universities typically do not have the best reputations in First Nations communities; Historically, she says, research done in Aboriginal communities has provided benefits for the researcher and the academic institution, rather than the community members. At this meeting, Gardner was inspired by the Treaty 3 Councils’ “astute” awareness and concern for their language, and wanted to be involved in a project that will actually benefit First Nations people.

Ethel Gardner is now leading a Research Team that includes Treaty 3 representatives, Professor John O’Meara, and three Lakehead graduate students, and they have recently been awarded a three-year, $225,000 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant. During this time, Gardner hopes to create a program that will enable Treaty 3 Chiefs to have support, resources, and an ability to advocate for the revitalization of their Ojibwe language for as long as is necessary. The SSHRC grant provides an incredibly valuable opportunity to work towards the realization of the Treaty 3 Councils’ ultimate goal: complete fluency in Ojibwe language for all Treaty 3 community members. And, the project is already under way.

The Treaty 3 Tribal Councils have identified individuals living in all 28 Treaty 3 communities who will act as community researchers. These individuals will receive Macintosh computers (chosen because of their video conferencing capabilities) and will be responsible for collecting raw language data from each of the communities (images, videos, audio, etc). As research assistants, the three Lakehead graduate students will also receive Macs, and they will be responsible for unpacking the data compiled by the community researchers, and writing reports. Gardner hopes this data collection will be completed before the end of 2008.

In the project’s second year, Gardner and her team will come together, and, using Joshua Fishman’s “eight stages of language revitalization” as a theoretical framework, make decisions based on the specific needs of the Treaty 3 communities. They will implement pilot language programs in Treaty 3 communities on an ongoing basis throughout the grant period, and the results of these programs will also influence the future direction of the Research Team. As a means to involve as many people as possible, Gardner plans to hold “language planning retreats” in each of the project’s three years. The retreats will bring everyone involved in the principal research, as well as Aboriginal Elders, and expert language technicians, together for discussion. The outcome of these retreats will undoubtedly influence the development of the project. Gardner also plans to hold conferences for any interested parties (e.g., parents, teachers, and administrators from school districts in Treaty 3 communities) that will showcase the Research Team’s data and future plans.

By the end of 2010, a comprehensive language revitalization program – that may incorporate language specific curriculum, Ojibwe radio stations, community resources, and language weeks, among other things – will be completed. Gardner hopes her program will prove to be a transferrable aid that may, ideally, benefit groups facing similar circumstances. Ethel Gardner is building a link between the academic world and Aboriginal communities, and thereby addressing historically based social inequities in this country. The program she creates will protect and revitalize the culture and language of Anishinaabe people for future generations.

Andrew Bryce is one of several students taking part in SPARK-Lakehead, a student writing program sponsored by The Chronicle-Journal.

Lee Pigeau appointed Capital Campaign Manager

Frances Harding
Lee Pigeau
Lee Pigeau

Lakehead has hired a seasoned fundraiser to manage its $10-million capital campaign in support of creating a sustainable campus in Orillia. Lee Pigeau lives in Orillia and until very recently was Executive Director of Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Foundation in Orillia. He began his new position, reporting to Bonnie Moore, Director of University Advancement, on November 19, 2007.

“The role of the Capital Campaign Manager is to provide expertise and support to the Director of University Advancement, the Orillia Campus Dean, and a volunteer campaign cabinet to raise the $10 million required to help finance the construction of the permanent Orillia campus,” says Moore.

“I am excited to be working for Lakehead,” Pigeau says. “The expansion of the University and the presence of a permanent campus in Orillia will make such a positive impact on this community. I care about Orillia, and I am proud to have been selected to play a lead role in this project.”

Born and raised in a rural area outside of North Bay, Lee Pigeau has worked as a fundraiser and a volunteer in some of Canada’s largest cities and smallest rural communities. His passion for volunteering was sparked during his grade school years, and he has worked with, and motivated and learned from hundreds of volunteers ever since. He officially launched his fundraising career at the United Way of Greater Toronto, and went on to the United Way of Edmonton as the Senior Campaign Manager, Business and Education. In addition, he has served as Campaign Director for Trent University’s successful $17-million Beyond Our Walls campaign.

Work on the development of the permanent campus in Orillia is already well under way. In January, Orillia City Council gave a gift of $10 million to Lakehead in the form of 85 serviced acres of land on which to build the University and $5 million in cash.

You may contact Lee Pigeau by phone: (705) 330-4018 or by email:

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