LAURIER100 Globe and Mail
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100years inspiring lives of leadership and purpose. 1911-2011 | Wilfrid Laurier University | Ontario, Canada Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier established the foundation for the values Canadians cherish, and he expressed his vision with passion, clarity and vigour. Wilfrid Laurier University’s centennial year is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how the spirit of our extraordinary namesake continues to be reflected in the lives of our faculty, staff, students and alumni. Laurier is dedicated to excellence in human development. I believe the most important benefit universities can provide to society is an educated, motivated, capable and engaged citizen who has a global perspective. Laurier’s graduates have an awareness of, and the courage to embrace complexity – the world’s greatest and most intricate challenges. They do so productively, and with passion, because they have the intellectual and personal tools that will enable them to succeed. In that sense, our vision is also our mission – to inspire lives of leadership and purpose. The more we can do as a university, and a society, to elevate the individual, the more we will serve the needs of future generations. As Laurier prepares to embark on its second century, I am delighted to introduce you to eight individuals who embody the qualities of our namesake. Exceptional citizens and members of the Wilfrid Laurier University family, they reflect the qualities of thousands more in our wonderful learning and personal development community. DR. MAX BLOUW President & Vice-Chancellor, Wilfrid Laurier University When Jon Krohn arrived at Wilfrid Laurier University established Oxford’s first student-run business he had every intention of pursuing medicine after incubator – a wildly successful venture that has the completing his undergraduate degree. But things would distinction of helping facilitate Google’s first UK change as Jon developed relationships with new acquisition. mentors – including two Canada Research Chairs – “My work needs to have real world applications. and an extremely supportive network of friends and There’s no better benefit to society than to be able study partners at Laurier. Suddenly, Jon was faced with to take science research and transform it into a world of new possibilities and ideas, and he set his a product that can actually impact people’s lives.” sights on Oxford. Consider his time at Laurier: founder of the Science Faculty’s student mentorship program, Editor-in-Chief of a science newspaper, active member of the “I didn't know that coming to Oxford was a possibility in my life. Laurier made me feel like I could go out and achieve almost anything I set my mind to.” boxing club, Executive Producer of the musical theatre club, and a Teaching and Research Assistant. To these accomplishments, Jon would add a truly peerless academic record and earn the highest grade point average of his graduating class (a perfect 12.0). Today, Jon is completing his PhD in neuroscience at Oxford University on a prestigious Wellcome Trust Doctoral Research Scholarship. His research focuses on the genetics of anxiety and depression, because of the high prevalence of these diseases and their massive impact on an individual’s quality of life. He has JON KROHN Alumnus 2007 2 1911-2011 | Wilfrid Laurier University | LAURIER100.CA Growing up in Mumbai, Bharati Sethi would escape life’s difficulties by retreating to a pipal tree near a tiny stream. She named this special place the “crossroads” and she would later return to this memory many times throughout her seven-year struggle as a new immigrant in Canada. This stressful chapter in her life came to a close when she received her Canadian landed immigrant status. BHARATI SETHI Alumna 2007, 2009 With that newfound standing, and a dream of earning a PhD, Bharati approached Wilfrid Laurier University where a compassionate admissions officer showed her how she could leverage her Mumbai university experience and fast-track her undergraduate degree. She hasn’t looked back since. Her master’s thesis, Exploring Newcomer Settlement and Immigration Supports in Brantford and Brant-Haldimand and Norfolk Counties, “I really had to struggle to be here... Laurier took a chance on me and I pay it back by promising to do the best that I can for the university and for the community.” has garnered recognition in government, academic and local community circles. Bharati also received the prestigious $150,000 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship to complete her PhD. As a core member of the newcomer task force Immigrant Settlement Transition Employment and Partnership in Brantford, Ontario, Bharati continues to be an inspiration to many local immigrants. “A lot of people ask: ‘How did you manage alone?’ I knew that if I stopped walking, I was never going to get there. If I kept walking I knew there was a chance for me to get there.” 10 0 Ye a rs I n s p i r i n g L ives o f Le a d e r s h i p a n d Pu rp o se 3 “There’s nothing better than coming through for your team. Being a Golden Hawk and winning four championships are highlights of my life. I will carry those wins – and these friends – wherever I go.” LIZ KNOX Alumna 2010 Liz Knox still tears up when she thinks back to the first time she wore the maple leaf as a goalie for Team Canada in an exhibition hockey game against Team USA. “I was standing on the blue line and looking down at my jersey as they played the national anthem and I was so happy and emotional.” One of Wilfrid Laurier University’s most storied athletes, ‘Knoxy’ has an impressive list of athletic accomplishments, from four Ontario University Athletics enough to have her as a coach, Liz strongly believes titles to Canadian University Hockey Player of the Year in in giving back to the sport that has given her so much. 2009/2010. Despite stiff competition from three more- “When I was growing up I was lucky to have girls in experienced players (who happened to play on Canada’s my community who were willing to put time into us. 2010 Olympic gold medal team), Liz has set her sights on I hope to give my players someone to look up to and playing for Team Canada in the 2014 Winter Olympics. to see them get the best experience possible. Hockey And she hasn’t ruled out turning professional before then. is so much more than just competition – it’s about An inspiration to the community, her Golden Hawk teammates and the young players who are fortunate 4 1911-2011 | Wilfrid Laurier University | LAURIER100.CA building friendships and having fun, too. Sport has entirely made me who I am.” While he was an accomplished student – winning the Scotiabank scholarship for academic achievement in his first year – it wasn’t until an encounter in second year with Wilfrid Laurier University President Max Blouw that Kory Jeffrey really considered what he KORY JEFFREY Alumnus 2010 wanted to do with his life. It was after this meeting that Kory ramped up his studies and his volunteer activities and developed a passion for student governance. Kory’s inspiring journey includes a term as the student “Laurier helped me stretch my wings. The more involved I got, the more inspired I became. I believe in the power of change and education and I am committed to making a difference.” representative on Laurier’s Board of Governors and work with the Pave the Way Scholarship Fund, an organization he helped start that raises money and enables foster children to gain a postsecondary education. As a volunteer teacher in a small town in rural South Africa, Kory was both humbled and motivated by the children he met. He found a way to contribute and help people, and consequently give his life purpose. Indeed, in the process Kory gained much more than an impressive curriculum vitae – he gained experiences and an outlook that continue to inform the person he is today. Kory is pursuing graduate studies and has a strong belief in the power of education to help and change lives. His goal is to pursue his PhD in Ethical Philosophy and then eventually apply his experience and passion in university administration. “I want to stay in institutions where I can do a lot of good.” 10 0 Ye a rs I n s p i r i n g L ives o f Le a d e r s h i p a n d Pu rp o se 5 When Romeo Dallaire spoke at a conference at the Future of Africa has clearly taken root and will Wilfrid Laurier University, international student TK carry on long after TK has graduated. “It has been Mawuli Azaglo used this opportunity to ask the retired great to find something you love to do and can Lieutenant-General about his thoughts on the future dedicate your life to. Life isn’t all about money; of Africa. Dallaire spoke about the critical role children life is about humanity and the legacy you leave.” and youth have to play in order to tackle Africa’s challenges head on. “I am the future of Africa,” TK declared to his own amazement and the applause “Laurier has a very supportive environment. People were very, very interested in my story and this made me realize that I was on the right path. It inspired me to keep going.” of the crowd. He had taken a stand and shortly afterwards he and his friend, John Tsirimbis, went on to establish the Future of Africa, a campus club dedicated to raising awareness and supporting worthwhile development initiatives in Africa. His homeland remains an inspiration, and TK is proud to shatter stereotypes and open people’s minds to entirely new values and ways of living. “A lot of people don’t see life beyond their own perspectives... many people in Africa live on so little and yet they are so happy to be alive, to have family and to have community.” With another non-Laurier branch already in place and plans for expansion to other institutions, TK MAWULI AZAGLO Class of 2011 6 1911-2011 | Wilfrid Laurier University | LAURIER100.CA Joanna Harries comes from what she describes as “development stock.” The women in her family have a deep history in, and passion for, societal work. But she was very interested in pursuing a business degree. “Success is about recognizing an opportunity and having the guts to follow through. Laurier presented me with the opportunity and they enabled me to customize my studies so that I could pursue it.” Following graduation from Wilfrid Laurier University, she worked as a successful marketing executive for a global consumer goods company for seven years. It was after attending a Laurier MBA class on competitive business models for a sustainable world that Joanna discovered the inventive development idea of encouraging big business to treat low-income populations worldwide as customers, and not just recipients of charitable aid. This wasn’t finance, marketing or accounting, but it couldn’t be more ideal for Joanna. As she says, “I believe in the power of this concept. I knew that I wanted to work to advance social businesses globally. Everything clicked into place.” From that point on, Joanna pursued opportunities where she could apply her business skills to development. She applied for and won the prestigious Acumen Fellowship and spent a year in Mumbai. She then moved on to Endeavor Global, an JOANNA HARRIES Alumna 2003, 2008 organization committed to “establishing high impact entrepreneurship for sustainable economic development.” Based in Manhattan, she is currently Director of International Expansion. 10 0 Ye a rs I n s p i r i n g L ives o f Le a d e r s h i p a n d Pu rp o se 7 “I’m a Mohawk from the Tyendinaga Mohawk of a full-time position as a recruiter for Laurier with Territory and I’m the first person from my family a special emphasis on Aboriginal Peoples. She has to attend and graduate from university.” chosen to focus on helping the community that That’s how Kandice Baptiste proudly introduces herself, yet that description doesn’t even begin to cover is closest to her heart. “Aboriginal Peoples face so many challenges and her inspiring story. Kandice graduated from high I’m proud to serve as a role model to show people school as an Ontario Scholar and was recruited by that they can do it and that there is something more.” several universities for basketball, including Laurier. Living off the reserve was a big adjustment. Fortunately, Kandice found support in her basketball team and the faculty at Laurier, but she always felt “Being at Laurier has taught me so much about my identity and my passion. I am a strong Mohawk woman and I now know what I want to do for the rest of my life.” that something was missing. In her fifth year, she founded the university’s first Aboriginal Student Association – an organization aimed at raising awareness and helping Aboriginal Peoples realize their dreams of a higher education. Kandice declined the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree at another university in favour KANDICE BAPTISTE Class of 2011 8 1911-2011 | Wilfrid Laurier University | LAURIER100.CA “When I was a kid I loved Dr. Seuss and one quote stuck with me: ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.’ I still believe that. And so does everyone you meet at Laurier.” REUBEN DEBOER Class of 2012 After graduating from high school, Reuben DeBoer spent two years volunteering, first across Canada and then in Bolivia, New Zealand and Australia. It could be said that by the time he came to Wilfrid Laurier University, he had very specific ideas about what he wanted to do with his life. At Laurier’s Brantford campus, Reuben found in the faculty and students a unique community that enabled him to fully explore his passion for volunteerism and the environment. Among other activities, Reuben has been the Coordinator of the Laurier EcoHawks, the Assistant Sustainability Coordinator and the Associate Vice-President of Services for the Students’ Union. Reuben also found faculty at Laurier who were willing to indulge his passion for helping people by offering him course credit for a 3-month volunteer project in Ghana. Focused on community water and sanitation, this project saw Reuben meeting with tribal elders, hiking up to 27 kilometres between villages and learning first-hand what it means to take a “bucket shower.” “There’s a community feel that you get in Africa that we’ve lost in Canada. Nobody knows their neighbours anymore. There’s a sense of common purpose that is very stirring.” Reuben looks forward to making the most of his studies and volunteer activities by leading sustainability initiatives in the public or private sector. But before then, he’d like to work on a project in Asia so that he can say he’s volunteered on every continent before he’s 25. 10 0 Ye a rs I n s p i r i n g L ives o f Le a d e r s h i p a n d Pu rp o se 9 At Laurier, we live and walk in the shadows of giants. Yet there are few opportunities to pause and acknowledge the journey of those who came before us. Or to celebrate the fact that we too are casting shadows that will shape the next century of Wilfrid Laurier University and the world. Throughout 2011, we will acknowledge and celebrate both what has passed and what is to come. LAURIER100.CA 1911-2011 | Wilfrid Laurier University Waterloo | Brantford | Kitchener | Toronto Ontario, Canada Photos: Max Blouw by Dean Palmer; page 2 by Brett Tully; pages 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 by John Beebe; page 8 by Sophie Forbes. Creative: STCworks.ca