Lakehead University

Hon. Art Eggleton:

Honourable senators, I join His Honour in welcoming Dr. Brian Stevenson, President and Vice-Chancellor of Lakehead University here to the Senate.

I first met him a little over 20 years ago. He came to work in my office when I was Minister of International Trade. So if there’s anything you want to know about softwood lumber or NAFTA, you can go ask him.

Let me talk about the university that he heads up. Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive institution with 10 faculties at two exceptional campuses in Thunder Bay and in Orillia. It is an institution committed to ensuring that its students succeed by teaching them how to think, not what to think. The university has been recognized for being the most generous institution in its category in Ontario for scholarships and bursaries that are given to its students.

Furthermore, almost 60 per cent of Lakehead graduates are the first in their family to receive a university degree. In northwestern Ontario, Lakehead University offers unique opportunities to learn in the field in many of its programs. Research experiences and opportunities in all of its 10 faculties is one of the reasons why RE$EARCH Infosource has ranked Lakehead the number one research university in Canada in its category two years in a row.

At its campus in Orillia, Lakehead also plays a distinctive role in Simcoe County, offering post-secondary education to under-represented groups, including first-generation students and indigenous students. Indeed, Lakehead prides itself on being a leader in providing a university education for young indigenous people, with over 1,100 indigenous students currently enrolled in its programs.

Lakehead was the first university in Canada to create a vice-provost, Aboriginal initiatives position; the first to establish an indigenous content requirement for all of its undergraduate programs; and under Dr. Stevenson’s leadership, the first to appoint a chair on truth and reconciliation, an advocacy role to ensure that Lakehead responds appropriately and effectively to the recommendations outlined in the 2015 report on truth and reconciliation.

Honourable senators, for over 50 years, Lakehead has provided its students with cutting-edge facilities and technology, as well as hands-on learning opportunities that will continue to set it apart for years to come.