Summer 2017 Lakehead Alumni Journey Magazine

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Can deadlift 605 lbs. but it’s his coaching abilities that attract celebrated athletes and actors to the world-famous training facility Gym Jones

pLUS Researcher Thamara Laredo uses chemistry for projects ranging from cleaning up wastewater to creating heat-resistant chocolate Are mountain lions prowling Northwestern Ontario? Bobby Maximus a.k.a Robert MacDonald (BEd’03)

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Head over heels: Bobby Maximus’s young son shares his passion for physical fitness.

Photo courtesy of Bobby Maximus







The Simcoe County Alumni Chapter member is someone you can count on in a crisis

The truth about what goes into processed cheese slices



The latest news from our Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses

6 MOUNTAIN LION MYSTERY Two Lakehead students encounter the first cougar carcass in the history of Ontario

12 LETHAL WEAPON Alum Bobby Maximus is a fierce elite trainer and former UFC fighter

CITIZEN OF THE WORLD Being educated in Canada, Malta, and Germany sharpened Abena Buahene’s leadership abilities

20 INGENIOUS SOLUTIONS Professor Thamara Laredo uses chemistry to solve some tough challenges

TURNING POINTS Alumni milestones and achievements

24 STUDENT FARHAN YOUSAF An engineering dynamo and diversity champion who breaks the mould

Cert no. XXX-XXX-000


suMMeR 2017 Volume 33, number 2

lakehead Journey alumni Magazine is published twice a year by the Marketing and Branding team which is responsible for establishing policy, editorial direction, and content for the magazine. the views expressed or implied do not necessarily reflect those of Lakehead university or the Marketing and Branding team. Publications Mail agreement number 40062450

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Marketing and Branding Director clayton Browne editor, Publications tracey skehan graphic Designer gail Zanette telephone: 807-343-8134, Fax: 807-346-7770 email: contRiButoRs

editor tracey skehan, Jaclyn Bucik, tina Maenpaa, Bonnie schiedel

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Office of Alumni and Community Relations lakehead university 955 oliver Rd., thunder Bay, on canada P7B 5e1 telephone: 1-800-832-8076 Fax: 807-343-8999 email: or online

aluMni association BoaRD oF DiRectoRs President Past President Vice-President Vice-President secretary/treasurer Board of governors' Representative lusu Representative executive Director Director Director Director Director Director Director Director Director Director Director Director

eXteRnal Relations teaM

Michel Beaulieu lou Pero Debra Woods Jennelle therrien chris Valliant lou Pero leah ching Mark tilbury nancy angus Karen Boz harry curtis chris Dasilva Marc gagnon nancy luckai Josh McQuay Paul Popo-ola ashleigh Quarrell Kara smith yolanda Wanakamik

external Relations Vice-President Deb comuzzi alumni & community Relations Director Mark tilbury government Relations Director Richard longtin (Toronto Office) Marketing and Branding Director clayton Browne Philanthropy Director Jennifer labine administrative coordinator Patricia Mccluskey alumni & community Relations associate Diane Robnik alumni & community Relations associate Meghan hanbury alumni & community Relations associate anna sampson campaign operations assistant Jennifer steers communications and Marketing associate Jaclyn Bucik (Orillia Campus) Donor events associate alexandra Jones Donor events Manager Patti Merriman external Relations associate Jacquie Kent (Orillia Campus) gift & Database administrator laara losier Marketing and Branding editor tracey skehan Marketing and Branding graphic Designer gail Zanette Philanthropy associate lee-anne camlin Philanthropy associate Kathryn Davidson Philanthropy associate Devon ottertail


on the hoRiZon As our students leave campus for their summer break, it’s the perfect time to reflect on what has been a busy school year for your Alumni Association. The fall marked an exciting expansion of our engagement activities as we ventured off campus to bring Lakehead to you! In collaboration with the Athletics department, we visited communities throughout Ontario to support the Lakehead Thunderwolves varsity basketball and hockey teams. The response from our alumni was overwhelmingly positive. By turning out to root for our teams – often outnumbering the home fans – you boosted team morale and the scoreboard results. The Alumni Association also continued to take part in student activities on the Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses. Building on the success of our chapter network, a companion Alumni Ambassador program has been established. Ambassadors serve several roles including staging Thunderwolves events, assisting with student recruitment, and serving as a resource for alumni in, or moving to, their communities. The Alumni Association board of directors was proud to appoint ambassadors to Hamilton, Guelph, Kitchener/Waterloo, Windsor, Sarnia, and Sudbury who joined existing Kingston ambassadors. In this issue of Journey, we feature the story of Robert “Bobby Maximus” MacDonald, an education grad who has had careers as a police officer, UFC fighter, elite fitness trainer, and health writer. If ever an alumnus epitomized our “Exceptional and Unconventional” tagline, it’s Bobby Maximus! In addition, we celebrate the achievements of alumni Abena Buahene and Sarah McCullough as well as the inspiring leadership of engineering student Farhan Yousaf. And what does fall 2017 have in store? At the Thunder Bay Homecoming, running on September 28, 29, and 30, we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of our Alumni Awards program that honours distinguished Lakehead graduates. Our partnership with Athletics will continue and we look forward to seeing many of you cheer on the Thunderwolves in your hometowns. Also on the horizon is the launch of a crowdfunding platform to help our students and athletic groups raise funds. Finally, be sure to visit and watch our social media accounts for all the latest information.

Michel Beaulieu, President Alumni Association

Mark Tilbury, Director Alumni and Community Relations





an eXcePtional PResiDent says gooDBye can shepherd them as they grow and evolve,” explained Dr. Stevenson, who was renewed for a second five-year term in 2015. “This will require a longer commitment of time than I am able to make.” Lakehead Board of Governors' Chair David Tamblyn accepted the president’s decision with regret. “From the moment Dr. Stevenson was appointed Lakehead’s president, his vision and leadership have only served to enhance and improve the quality of our University,” he said.

Dr. Brian Stevenson has announced that he will be stepping down as Lakehead’s President and ViceChancellor on December 31, 2017, leaving the University revitalized and prepared for future growth. “I want to thank our outstanding students, faculty, staff, and alumni,” said Dr. Stevenson. “You have made my journey at Lakehead one of the most enriching of my life. It has been one of the greatest privileges to serve you all.” Since his appointment in 2010, the President has led the creation of a new Strategic Plan, a new Academic Plan, and Lakehead’s first Strategic Enrolment Management Plan. Lakehead is also beginning construction of the $25 million Centre for Advanced Studies in Engineering and Sciences (CASES), finalizing the new integrated planning and budgeting process, and gearing up for a national and international institutional campaign. “These initiatives will require consistent stewardship over the next decade, and they will require the ongoing support of a president who

The President had a special message for the thousands of alumni and donors who give generously and selflessly to the University to help with our many needs: “Thank you for your faith in us and thank you for not only making us a better university but a more caring and fair one.” The Lakehead University community has accomplished many things together during Dr. Stevenson’s tenure as President and ViceChancellor.

selecteD Milestones • Being named Canada’s #1 research university twice in a row • Opening the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law • Increasing the number of international students from less than 100 to over 1,000 • Establishing the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Mining and Exploration • Increasing undergraduate enrolment at the Orillia campus by over 30% • Appointing the fi rst ever Truth and Reconciliation Chair • Contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to our regional economies

Lakehead’s next chancellor, Lyn McLeod (HBA'84/MA'86), was made a Member of the Order of Ontario in recognition of her career in public service.

neW chancelloR Lyn McLeod – the first woman to be elected leader of a political party in Ontario – will become Lakehead University’s ninth chancellor. McLeod was the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party from 1992 to 1996 and the member of provincial parliament for the Fort William riding from 1987 until 2003. She also has a distinguished record of community leadership and commitment to postsecondary education. McLeod served on the Ontario Health Quality Council, the Health Council of Canada, and the Ontario Power Authority. She is a Fellow of Lakehead University as well as an alumna. McLeod is currently vice-chair of New Path, an agency that provides mental health services for children in Simcoe County, and a member of the Georgian College Board of Governors – one of Lakehead’s partner institutions. Lyn McLeod will be formally installed as chancellor at the first of several convocation ceremonies in June 2017. “I have an appreciation of the role that Lakehead plays in providing access to a high quality university education,” said our incoming chancellor, “and look forward to supporting the achievement of its goals in any way I can.”



New Principal

Research Facility The Ontario government is investing $5 million in the Centre for Advanced Studies in Engineering and Sciences (CASES) – a new research facility on the Thunder Bay campus.

President Dr. Brian Stevenson (right) announced that Dr. Dean Jobin-Bevans (centre), the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities interim dean, will become the new principal of the Orillia campus when Dr. Kim Fedderson (left) retires this summer.

“Lakehead University continues to position itself as a leader in research and innovation,” said Bill Mauro, minister of northern development and mines. “This investment will provide the modern space and equipment for researchers and students.”

big plans for the campus’s future. “It is a privilege

The funding – provided through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) – will increase lab space, create 67 new local jobs, and purchase specialized equipment for Lakehead researchers including graduate students and Lakehead’s Canada Research Chairs.

to have been chosen as this campus’s second

Accounting Win

Lakehead Orillia has a dynamic new principal – Music Professor Dean Jobin-Bevans – and he has

principal and to have the chance to engage with our community partners in the City of Orillia and Simcoe County as we continue to grow current programs and develop and shape new programs at the Lakehead Orillia campus,” he said. Dr. Jobin-Bevans has been a faculty member on the Thunder Bay campus for 12 years and he’s currently interim dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities. He has also served as the Department of Music chair and as assistant and acting dean. Prior to joining Lakehead, he

Four accounting students won first place and $1,500 in prize money this past January at the 16th annual Business and Accounting Student Case Competition (formerly GAAPS). Tingting Zhuang, Sarah Dyce, Taylor Goods, and Daniel Sabbe travelled to Winnipeg for the three-day conference to compete against nine other teams from universities across Canada. This was the second time that the Lakehead team has won this major accounting event sponsored by the Asper School of Business Accounting Association and the Chartered Professional Accountants of Manitoba.

was the director of the McGill Conservatory of Music where he taught and coached voice. President Dr. Brian Stevenson, who chaired the job search committee, described him as a fitting successor to retiring principal, Dr. Kim Fedderson. Dr. Jobin-Bevans will begin his new role on July 1, 2017.


Winning team (l-r): fourth-year students Daniel Sabbe, Tingting Zhuang, Taylor Goods, and Sarah Dyce

pASSAGES Bill Keeler (BA’98) Our dear friend and one of Lakehead’s leading lights, Bill Keeler, passed away on February 17, 2017. Bill was the past president of the Alumni Association of Lakehead University (AALU), a past member of the Lakehead University board of governors, and the 2016 Alumni Legacy Award recipient. Bill spent the early part of his career with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police but he was best known as the long-time athletic facilities supervisor of the C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse. It was a post he held for nearly 30 years before retiring in 2009. “My most memorable moments were hiring our students to work at the Fieldhouse and watching them mature," Bill said when he was nominated for the Legacy Award. While working full time, Bill decided to further his education and in 1998 he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree. Along with overseeing the campus facilities, Bill volunteered with numerous sporting committees and organizations. Even after retiring, Bill’s connection to Lakehead remained strong. He was studying for a Master of Arts in History degree and he stayed active in the Alumni Association. One of Bill’s proudest AALU accomplishments was the growth of the Alumni Association’s annual golf tournament. In 2016, more than $50,000 was raised for student scholarships. Bill Keeler affected the lives of countless students and alumni as a friend and mentor. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Lucille, son Cory, and daughters Kelly and Andrea, and their families.

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ON THE MAP MeDical iMaging A new company – Radialis Medical – was launched during Lakehead’s annual Research and Innovation Week. The company, a joint venture between Lakehead University and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute, is partnering with the Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization (CIMTEC) to design, manufacture, and sell advanced imaging systems from Thunder Bay. The first product will be a highresolution Positron Emission Mammography (PEM) system for low-dose imaging of breast cancer. “We launched Radialis Medical to commercialize our PEM technology and to bring it to clinical trials at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, which will help save lives and put Thunder Bay on the cutting edge of healthcare,” said Dr. Alla Reznik, Radialis’s chief scientific officer and a Lakehead faculty member.

BiG CAT STALKS THE NORTH Mandi Weist and Istvan Balogh didn’t expect to encounter a ferocious predator that many people believed was extinct in Northwestern Ontario – and most of Canada and the United States. Istvan, a forestry student, and Mandi, an environmental management student, were returning from an outing on the Boreal Road west of Thunder Bay with their friend Casey Nykyforchyn, and Mandi’s boyfriend. “We saw a couple standing by a minivan and stopped because we thought it might have broken down,” Mandi says. It turned out that the couple were staring at an animal carcass frozen in the snow. From a distance it looked like a deer, but the spring melt revealed it to be a mountain lion (also known as a cougar). Over the decades, there has been heated debate over whether or not there are cougars in Northwestern Ontario. “I was shocked,” Mandi says, “but I was 100% sure it was a mountain lion.” Lakehead Natural Resources Management Professor Brian McLaren, on the other hand, was not surprised. “Cougar sightings are real. The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) has indisputable proof, including DNAtested hair and scat.” Professor McLaren thinks lone male cougars travel east from an isolated population in North and South Dakota in search of territory. “They can’t travel through the cornfields so when they hit the Great Lakes, they travel north.” From the nose to the tip of the tail, the cougar was approximately nine feet long. Despite its impressive size, it was emaciated and had porcupine quills embedded in its shoulder and cheek.

DistinguisheD ReseaRcheR Dr. Wilson Wang was named the 2017 NSERC Distinguished Researcher for his exciting work in areas such as artificial intelligence, smart sensors, and online machinery condition monitoring. The mechanical engineering professor’s research has diverse uses for business and industry. “My research goal,” Dr. Wang said, “is to develop new technologies and intelligent tools for more reliable diagnostics and prognostics of the health conditions of engineering equipment, in real time.” A current research project, for example, pinpoints faulty components in airplanes, forecasts the remaining useful life of damaged units, and schedules repair operations. This will help companies improve production rates, reduce costs, and enhance their global competitiveness.

Cougars have been known to stalk hapless hikers and skiers, but these attacks are unusual. In fact, these shy animals are wary of humans and prefer deer and smaller prey. All photos courtesy of Mandi Weist


The intrepid friends strapped the big cat onto the roof of Mandi’s jeep and drove to a taxidermist not far away. “Since it was such a rare find,” she says, “and solid proof that these elusive cats actually do prowl the forests of Northwestern Ontario, we couldn't leave it behind!” After taxidermist Dan Cavicchiolo conducted an examination, he confirmed that it was an adult male cougar and that its stomach and intestines were completely empty (a subsequent necropsy found that it died of starvation and had quills in its digestive tract). The following day Mandi brought Rick Leblanc, a ministry of natural resources conservation officer, to the spot where the cougar was found.

Leblanc told Mandi that mountain lions are an endangered species in Ontario and that this particular animal was the first mountain lion carcass in Ontario’s history. The MNR intends to display the stuffed cougar on its premises for educational purposes. Mandi and Istvan have a different idea. They’re lobbying to have the mountain lion placed in Lakehead University’s biology collection to make it accessible to students, researchers, and the public.

Find out more about the second biggest wildcat in the Americas (the jaguar is the largest) in the National Geographic video The Secret Lives of a Mountain Lion Family: http://video.

“I love that the students are using this as an opportunity to teach their classmates about dispersal, genetics, and habitats,” says Professor McLaren, “and that they spend time in the outdoors exploring – it’s something that sets Lakehead students apart from their southern Ontario counterparts.”

Encountering the body of the wildcat was a once-in-alifetime experience for student Mandi Weist who hails from Wawa, Ontario.

Cougars can weigh up to 100 kg (220 pounds) and can accelerate up to 80 km/h (50 mph).

Professor Brian McLaren says that 13 million years ago, North America was densely populated by approximately a dozen big cat species. The cougar is one of the few to survive.




Thursday, September 28, 2017


• Alumni Engagement Event – Fieldhouse/Hangar • Thunderwolves Basketball vs Winnipeg

We want to assist our Exceptional and Unconventional alumni to engage and reconnect. Reunions are a terrific way to celebrate a milestone anniversary, expand your professional networks and catch up with old friends. Want to reconnect with your former classmates or teammates? Contact our office for more details.

Friday, September 29, 2017 • Alumni Awards Dinner • Thunderwolves Hockey vs UOIT • Thunderwolves Basketball vs Winnipeg

Saturday, September 30, 2017 • Wall of Fame Induction Ceremony • Alumni Engagement Event – Fort William Gardens • Zanatta Games (alumni vs student athletes)

Lakehead-in-a-Box Can’t make it back to campus for Homecoming? Host your own reunion and order a FREE Lakehead-in-a-Box to help you celebrate. Box includes Alumni-branded give-aways, decorations, games, and more.

• Thunderwolves Hockey vs UOIT New events are being added to the schedule frequently. Visit Take advantage of alumni discounts on transportation and accommodations. Visit for details.

Call for Memorabilia We are looking for donations of Lakehead University memorabilia as well as keepsakes from our proud predecessors – the Lakehead Technical Institute and the Lakehead College of Arts, Science and Technology.

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Photos Sports Jerseys Newsletters Hats Yearbooks Pennants and Pins Rings Varsity Jackets Trophies Other amazing artifacts

Contact the Alumni and Community Relations Office by calling 1-800-832-8076 or by emailing 8

. Event Programs . Class

Varsity Sports During the 2016-17 varsity season, members of the Alumni and Community Relations team hosted events at some of our away games. We were thrilled, community by community, at the number of alumni, friends, and family members who came out to support our beloved Thunderwolves. We’re going to be back with an even more ambitious schedule of engagement in collaboration with our varsity teams. Keep an eye on your email inbox starting in September.

See you next season!

Varsity Away Games • 2017 Schedule of Dates • First Semester Date



Varsity Sport

Friday, October 6 Exhibition Tournament Winnipeg Women’s Basketball Saturday, October 7 Exhibition Tournament Winnipeg Women’s Basketball Sunday, October 8 Exhibition Tournament Winnipeg Women’s Basketball Friday, October 13 Laurier Golden Hawks Waterloo Men’s Hockey Saturday, October 14 Laurier Golden Hawks Waterloo Men’s Hockey Friday, October 27 Waterloo Warriors Waterloo Men’s Hockey Friday, October 27 Queen’s Golden Gaels Kingston Men’s and Women’s Basketball Saturday, October 28 Waterloo Warriors Waterloo Men’s Hockey Saturday, October 28 York Lions Toronto Men’s and Women’s Basketball Thursday, November 9 Ryerson Rams Toronto Men’s Hockey Friday, November 10 Guelph Gryphons Guelph Men’s Hockey Saturday, November 11 York Lions Toronto Men’s Hockey Friday, November 17 Algoma Thunderbirds Sault Ste. Marie Men’s and Women’s Basketball Saturday, November 18 Algoma Thunderbirds Sault Ste. Marie Men’s and Women’s Basketball Friday, November 24 UOIT Ridgebacks Oshawa Men’s Hockey Saturday, November 25 UOIT Ridgebacks Oshawa Men’s Hockey Friday, December 1 Toronto Varsity Blues Toronto Men’s and Women’s Basketball Saturday, December 2 Ryerson Rams Toronto Men’s and Women’s Basketball At the time of printing, the volleyball and wrestling schedules were unavailable. Go to for current information. Want to receive an invitation to these events? Make sure we have your up-to-date email address and/or phone number. Contact the Alumni and Community Relations Office by calling 1-800-832-8076 or by emailing Having fans in the stands can be a tremendous advantage for a visiting team. We encourage you to attend games in your town as much as possible. The coaches and players appreciate your cheers!

For a complete listing of varsity games, visit We look forward to seeing you on the road, and at HOME in the THUNDERDOME!


Derek and Joan


Lakehead Legacy Our Eighth Chancellor Leads the Way Forward

When the official portrait of Lakehead University’s eighth chancellor, Dr. Derek Burney, was recently unveiled, he quipped, “It’s not every day of the year that you get to participate in your own hanging and live to talk about it.” Derek and Joan Burney are passionate Lakehead supporters who have helped the University take a giant leap forward. This isn’t surprising given that Dr. Burney has been part of historic achievements such as negotiating the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.

influential private sector strategist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Derek and Joan share a belief in the transformative power of postsecondary education. “If I’ve learned one thing from travelling to places like Japan, Korea, and the United States, as well as living in Canada,” says Dr. Burney, “it’s that apart from DNA, the quality of education is what really determines success.”

The couple also has a deep connection to Northwestern Ontario. They’re The Burneys became prominent figures both from what is now the City of Thunder Bay, but from opposite sides in Canadian public life during Derek’s of town. Derek grew up in Fort William career with the federal government, which included posts as deputy minister while Joan grew up in Port Arthur – communities that had a long-running, of external affairs and ambassador to yet friendly, rivalry. the United States. Since leaving the civil service, Dr. Burney has become an Since being installed as chancellor in 2013, Dr. Burney has elevated Lakehead’s profile throughout Canada, shaken the hands of over 8,000 graduating students, and been a stellar fundraiser. As a member of Lakehead’s law cabinet, Derek has helped raise significant funds. He was instrumental in securing the lead gift from Norton Rose Fulbright LLP where he holds the position of senior strategic advisor. His influence and contacts allowed Lakehead to attract financial support for vitally needed student scholarships and capital improvements. Chancellor Derek H. Burney 2013 - 2017


Derek and Joan have not only been advocates for Lakehead, but also extremely generous donors. “It’s very

important that Lakehead continues to inspire better teaching and better learning,” explains Dr. Burney, “so that the students of today – the citizens of tomorrow – will make Canada a better country.”

"Apart from DNA, the quality of education is what really determines success." Their gifts have gone to Faculty of Law scholarships and they donated $150,000 to establish The Derek and Joan Burney Postdoctoral Fellowship at Lakehead’s Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Mining and Exploration (CESME). Dr. Karl Skogstad, the first postdoctoral fellow, is conducting crucial research on the economic impact of mining on Northern Ontario. “Joan and I are convinced that CESME will be a catalyst for responsible mining development,” says Dr. Burney. Although the March 2, 2017, portrait unveiling marked Dr. Burney’s retirement as chancellor, he has been bestowed the title of chancellor emeritus. In this new role, he and Joan will continue to work with the University on issues that are close to their hearts. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time as chancellor,” said Dr. Burney. “When Joan and I left the region, it was still the Lakehead College of Arts, Science and Technology. Since then, Lakehead has become a major economic and social power in Northwestern and Central Ontario.”



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“We included Lakehead University in our will because we believe in the transformative power of education.” Dr. Bill Heath Professor Emeritus, Lakehead University Ms. Betty Heath Lakehead Alumna

Since 1999, ‘Superior Science’ has raised greater awareness of science through a variety of outreach programs to over 30,000 children and youth throughout Northwestern Ontario.

Give a gift today at For further information contact Devon Ottertail, Philanthropy Associate Tel: 807-343-8198 Email:

Creating a will is arguably one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. Not only can a will protect those you care for, it can also detail how you would like your estate managed. A gift in your will to Lakehead University can provide future financial support to a student, create a lasting legacy, and provide significant estate tax benefits.

Your Will is a Gift For further information contact lee-anne camlin, Philanthropy associate 807-346-7792 email: All requests remain confidential with no obligation



was a 99-pound weakling – now he’s one of the fittest men on the planet by Bonnie Schiedel

All photos courtesy of Bobby Maximus

Bobby doesn’t confine working out to Gym Jones. His backyard in Salt Lake City makes a great outdoor fitness facility.


You shouldn’t scroll through Bobby Maximus’s Instagram feed if you’re feeling hungry. It’s packed with photos of cheeseburgers, pizza, and massive grilled ribeye steaks topped with big chunks of butter.

muscle on taut display – often with a big grin. In some shots, he’s hefting weights so heavy that they cause the bar to bend under its load. His 42,000-plus followers love it.

Bobby Maximus is the alter ego of Lakehead education grad Robert MacDonald and his food fixation hasn’t had a detrimental effect on his physique. Far from it, his Instagram account is also filled with images of Bobby working out – every

Bobby (BEd’03) is a former UFC mixed martial arts fighter turned elite trainer. He’s sought after by pro athletes, movie stars, and hardcore fitness types looking to get into peak physical shape for their next career move. Men’s

Health magazine named Bobby one of their “100 Fittest Men of All Time.” He can deadlift 605 lbs., bench press 225 lbs. – 36 times in a row – and holds a couple of world records in power endurance events. And he’s also a darn pleasant guy to talk to. “I’m from a town where people show up with a casserole and a case of beer when you move into the neighbourhood; where people shovel your driveway,” he says.

“When I talk to people, I say ‘thank you.’ I try to help people, I apologize when I f—k up. We forget, in today’s world, just how far being nice can take you.” For Bobby, being a nice guy and working hard has taken him from his small hometown of Capreol, Ontario, just outside of Sudbury, to a career as a respected and wellknown fitness trainer, teacher, and author. Growing up, he wasn’t an athletic kid, and when some high school bullies slammed him to the ground and broke his collarbone in grade nine, he decided to join the wrestling team. He continued the sport with his university team during his undergrad studies. A chance to be on Lakehead’s wrestling team helmed by coaches Francis

Clayton and Harry Curtis, coupled with the education department’s good reputation, sealed his decision to attend teacher’s college at Lakehead. “Rob was a go-getter. He wasn’t going to sit around and let life happen to him,” says Clayton. “He was an undersized heavyweight so he often had to wrestle people bigger than him. He was a good team guy, he was pretty fierce. He didn’t like losing and he showed up and worked hard. I’m not surprised he’s doing well.” “Lakehead was such a good time in my life,” says Bobby. “In teacher’s college I had the same kids in all my classes. The wrestling team was really close. I liked that close-knit community feel, everyone kind of taking care of each other. I made a lot of lifelong friends there.” He wrestled

at a national level while at Lakehead and brought home a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (now known as U Sports) bronze medal. “That was a big deal for me.”

“i’m from a town where people show up with a casserole and a case of beer when you move into the neighbourhood; where people shovel your driveway.” After earning his BEd, Bobby headed to southern Ontario, but teaching jobs were scarce, so he decided to pursue his other dream job as a police officer and joined the Peel Regional and Toronto police departments.

Bobby says that as a kid, he was a geek and a big science fiction fan. His involvement with athletics began when some high school bullies broke his collarbone and he decided that it would never happen again.


FiTNESS TipS from Bobby Maximus • Show up, don’t quit, and ask questions. People want to make it complicated but it doesn’t need to be. • Be curious. Ask yourself or ask your trainer: Why am I doing this? Could I be doing this better? How can I improve more? Those are all things you ask when you care about something. • My favourite exercises are burpees and pushups. But everyone has different goals. Just get s—t done. For my mom, her exercise of choice is walking because that’s the biggest bang for her buck; that’s where she’s going to improve the most. • If you want to go to the next level, you have to reprioritize your life. The secret to getting better is more time and more effort. Showing up 30 minutes a day, three days a week is not going to cut it. You have to be willing to sacrifice to do that.

That switch happened to line up with a growing interest in mixed martial arts – he fought and won his first fight the summer before he started at Lakehead and had two more pro fights he won by TKO (technical knockout) – and signed with the UFC in 2006. Along the way he won the Ring of Fire light heavyweight championship in 2007 and starred in Spike TV’s The Ultimate Fighter. In 2009, he retired from pro fighting. “I was a B-level fighter. I’d win then lose, win then lose,” he remembers. “You have to put so much time into training and competing when you’re fighting. When my oldest son was born, I realized I’d rather be at home with my little man, and I never looked back.” So it was time for another career change. While visiting an assistant director friend on a movie set in Toronto, Bobby met the owner of Gym Jones, an elite invitation-only gym in Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s a no-frills place with one shower, no mirrors, and a fierce emphasis on self-improvement (gym credo: We are dedicated to the Art of Suffering). They liked his style and offered him a job – he’s now general manager and training and seminar director. “It was very much in line with what I believed. You don’t need a lot of equipment, you shouldn’t have any excuses, everything you do should be done the right way, which is the hard way,” he says.

Whether you’re a newbie who wants to start off right or a fitness veteran on a quest to improve your workout, check out these short video clips and have Bobby Maximus put you through the paces (no weights required):

How to do a push-up

How to do a curl-up watch?v=GAYeGHQ_oyE

How to do a broad jump And for the advanced gym rat:

How to do a burpee pull-up Tough and determined: Lisa MacDonald, Bobby’s wife, is the head of the Gym Jones women’s program and lives by the motto “let your actions be consistent with your words."


In his time at Gym Jones, Bobby has worked with pro athletes from the NFL and NBA, like Nate Orchard, Stewart Bradley, Kevin Curtis, Ronnie Price, and Deron Williams, as well as celebrities like Patrick Wilson, Liev Schreiber, and John Leguizamo. His colleagues at Gym Jones have also trained the famously ripped actors in the movie 300, Henry Cavill, the actor who plays Superman, and several Navy SEALs, to name a few. Working with high-profile people ups the ante, Bobby says. “When somebody’s got something on the line like a big pay cheque, their safety, their professional career, it’s very, very serious and you have to take your job seriously too. If I hurt this guy during training, that severely affects him and his family.” Bobby has an eye on the next generation of athletes as well – he’s sponsoring a local 15-year-old Nordic skier who’s an Olympic hopeful. “He’s my favourite person to train right now. I was given a lot of chances growing up and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for people who took an interest in me, so I am happy to sponsor this kid.”

“i go for the highest calorie stuff i can get – steak, burgers, avocados, and pasta,” he says. “i basically start eating when i wake up and finish eating when i go to bed.” One of the reasons Bobby is so valued as a trainer and teacher is because of the way he connects with clients. “He really invests in people on a personal level,” says Red Sullivan, a fellow Gym Jones instructor in New Jersey. “Sometimes it’s difficult to motivate people, because they don’t necessarily know why they’ve come to the gym, they just kind of know they want to make a change. Rob puts in the time to

Family man: Bobby left the Ultimate Fighting world after his eldest son was born so that he could be a hands-on dad.

figure out what is meaningful to you, so you can draw the straightest line to your goals.” Bobby, for his part, credits his former wrestling coach Francis Clayton for some of his style. “To have the opportunity to work with someone like Fran for a year, every single day, you really learn what it is to be a great motivator and a great coach and role model.” In addition to his work at Gym Jones, Bobby is a regular contributor to Men’s Health magazine and just published his first book with the magazine called Maximus Body and he’s starting to greenlight endorsements from a few companies he really likes. A typical day means training about four hours and working with clients or trainee instructors. Downtime is spent with his wife Lisa, head of the women’s program at Gym Jones, and his two sons – an eight year old and a five month old. He’s also got a full-on geek devotion to Magic: The Gathering trading cards.

Usually Bobby mixes up his training with running, hiking, cycling, and swimming, but right now he’s concentrating on time in the gym with heavy weights. And he eats a prodigious amount of food to fuel his workouts and muscle development, which explains all those meat pictures on Instagram. “I go for the highest calorie stuff I can get – steak, burgers, avocados, and pasta,” he says. “I basically start eating when I wake up and finish eating when I go to bed.” The extra calories and heavy weights are part of a long game: Bobby plans to compete in the World Jiu Jitsu Championships in Las Vegas in August 2017 and wants to pack an extra 20 lbs. on to his 6’3”, 245-lb. frame to make his weight class. “I’m even toying with the idea of fighting professionally again,” he says. Watch out world: that nice guy who works hard and makes no excuses has got a new goal!



Annual Fund


share it forward An Unconventional Path to an Exceptional Education Lakehead’s Thunder Bay campus was the last place that fine arts student Vanessa Magee thought she’d end up. “I didn’t enjoy high school and I didn’t think I was smart enough for university,” she explains. Right after graduation, she entered the working world and postsecondary education was not something she considered. Things were running pretty smoothly until April 2008 when Vanessa was struck by a mysterious fever. Her immune system began attacking her nervous system, resulting in a loss of physical mobility. Even with rehabilitation, she could no longer keep her job.

“Art changed the way i dealt with my illness. When i was struggling, it shone a little light.” Three years later, she was still battling health problems and trying to turn her life around. Fate intervened when, on a flight from Toronto to Thunder Bay, Vanessa poured out her troubles to the man sitting next to her. He listened and then asked, “Have you ever thought of going back to school?” before rummaging around for a piece of paper. On it, he scrawled the name “Humanities 101,” his name and email, and a colleague’s name and email. When Vanessa got home, she Googled her seatmate’s name and

discovered it was none other than the current principal of Lakehead’s Orillia campus, Dr. Kim Fedderson. Humanities 101 is Lakehead’s free semester-long, non-credit program that introduces community members to the university experience – in particular, people facing social or economic barriers to postsecondary education. The first Humanities 101 class was the next evening so “I became a Lakehead student 14 hours later,” Vanessa says. Vanessa thoroughly enjoyed her experience, was voted class valedictorian, and enrolled in Lakehead’s Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts program as a part-time student. She discovered she has a particular talent for ceramics and sculpture. Although Vanessa has a job she enjoys at Lakehead Ironworks Inc., earning a degree is opening doors. She’s considering a career in art therapy – a field she’s drawn to because the act of creating has had such a powerful effect on her life. “Art changed the way I dealt with my illness. When I was struggling, it shone a little light.”

To help other students like Vanessa continue their journey to life-long learning, please consider donating to the Lakehead Annual Fund.

Visual Arts student Vanessa Magee 16


Ambassador Program The Alumni Ambassador Program is a companion program to the Association’s chapter network. The Alumni Association of Lakehead University (AALU) holds regularly scheduled events in regions where there are significant numbers of alumni. Many events are attended by the president of the University, Alumni Association board members, and other University representatives. The Alumni and Community Relations Office invites alumni in these areas to the various events. Ambassadors are the key resource for all Lakehead alumni in a given region. As such, the AALU will maintain a contact list of all domestic and international Ambassadors on our website, including Ambassador email addresses so you can be contacted.

What do Ambassadors do? Alumni Ambassadors may be called on to assist with some of the following: • Host varsity sporting events • Be the point of contact in your geographic area • Provide mentoring • Participate in student recruitment events

How do I become an Ambassador in my region? Individuals are encouraged to submit an Alumni Ambassador application form at any time. To qualify you must be a graduate of Lakehead University, and have adequate time to fulfill the roles and responsibilities of the position. Alumni Ambassadors are officially appointed by the Alumni Association of Lakehead University’s board of directors. Current Ambassadors are located in Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, Sarnia, Sudbury, Waterloo, and Windsor.



Thursday, July 13 • 4:30 pm The Unicorn Pub on the Unicorn Classic Floor 223 8 Ave SW, Calgary, AB. • RSVP to the Alumni office For more information please contact the Alumni and Community Relations Office by calling 807-343-8155 (toll free: 1-800-832-8076), visit 17

gR gRe aD at


Explores the World of Crime and Punishment by Jaclyn Bucik

Nine years ago, Sarah McCullough made the decision to take the road less travelled. Her friends had all gone off to large universities but Sarah chose to move from Collingwood, Ontario, and study at Lakehead’s Orillia campus. Her time at Lakehead Orillia was one of personal transformation. Sarah arrived with the intention of becoming a schoolteacher, but a criminology elective in second year – taught by Professor Curtis Fogel – piqued her interest and led her to rethink her future. “I really excelled in my studies and the research component of the course,” Sarah explains. She graduated in 2013 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts and Science and immediately began a Master of Arts in Sociology. With her eye on a career with the Ontario Provincial

Police (OPP), Sarah focused her master’s research on criminology. “Knowing that the OPP was my ultimate goal, Professor Fogel made sure that my research was well-rounded,” she says. “My thesis concentrated on junior hockey and the law. In particular, why some behaviour that happens in the change room has no legal repercussions even though it would be liable to criminal prosecution if it happened on the street. It was a sensitive topic, but fascinating research.” Today, Sarah works as a dispatcher with the OPP’s Provincial Communications Centre in Orillia, responding to crisis situations. She sees the job as a stepping stone on her professional path and hopes one day to be involved in law enforcement research, planning, and policy. None of it would have been possible without her university experience.

“Despite my attachment to teaching, i fell in love with criminology and really began to like school – i found my passion.” “At Lakehead I learned how to think. Because of my education I know how to apply new concepts, approach situations, and respond – I’m better able to grasp how to do my job, which will help me as I progress in my career.” Sarah didn’t spend all her time hitting the books. In her first year, she became one of the founding members of the Orillia campus women’s hockey team. An enthusiastic horseback rider, she Sarah McCullough (HBASc’13/MA’16)


also established Lakehead Orillia’s equestrian team. Sarah wanted fellow students to have the chance to ride without the financial and time commitments that come with this often expensive sport. The team, based out of Rushmount Equine Sports in Severn Township, regularly competed on the Ontario University Equestrian Association circuit. “Extracurricular activities were an important outlet,” she says. “Not only was it a great way to get exercise and have fun with friends, but it allowed me to de-stress and decompress from the pressures of school.” Sarah also became a champion of the Orillia campus. During her second year in the master’s program, she joined the Graduate Students Association (GSA). The only member from Orillia, she was determined to bring another voice to the table. “I did the first year of my master’s in Thunder Bay,” she explains, “and every day I saw the support available to grad students – from social activities to academic assistance. I wanted to ensure the same resources were available to Orillia grad students, no matter how small in number we were.” Since graduating in 2016, Sarah has brought that same passion to the Lakehead alumni association’s Simcoe County Chapter where she enjoys helping with recruitment fairs and promoting outreach activities. “I didn’t want to say goodbye,” Sarah says. “I want to continue to spread the word about Lakehead so that the University can grow and other students can have the same opportunities I’ve had.”

ABENA BUAHENE A Passion for Public Service by Tracey Skehan to be discriminated against. It would also give them the means to stand on their own two feet, both financially and professionally. In 1978 the Buahenes returned to Canada, settling in Thunder Bay because it had a university. Abena won a first-year scholarship to Lakehead and did a double major in English and political science. Lakehead brought small classes and engaged professors. “One of the greatest gifts our parents gave us was the courage to embrace change,” says Abena Buahene (BA’82). “We didn’t just move to different neighbourhoods growing up – we moved to different countries and different cultures.” Her adaptability has allowed Abena to seek out diverse career challenges – including her current position as the Ontario Film Authority’s executive director and registrar. In 1968, eight-year-old Abena and her family left Toronto for the Mediterranean island of Malta. Her father had been hired as a scientific researcher with an international food and agriculture organization. “I remember being very upset the first winter to find out that we wouldn’t have any snow,” she says. Four years later, Abena’s father decided to study medicine in Germany – the country where her mother was born and raised. “With a dietician for a mother and a doctor for a father,” Abena notes, “I understood the power of education.” Her parents also valued academics because as a biracial family (her father is from Ghana) they believed postsecondary education would make their children less likely

“Professor Futhey was one of the best professors I ever had. In his medieval English course, instead of opening up Canterbury Tales immediately, we spent a month discussing medieval religious and social dynamics. To this day, I love reading about the Middle Ages, and most of my books at home are history books – fiction and nonfiction.” After getting her bachelor’s degree, Abena went to law school at the University of Windsor before joining a small law firm in White Rock, British Columbia. Ultimately she found private practice too constraining and traded it in to become a bar course materials editor with the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia. A year later, she switched to continuing legal education (CLE) programming and never looked back. “I spent over 20 stimulating years in this field,” she says, “and worked with some amazing members of my profession in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. Leading jurists – including the late Edward “Eddie” Greenspan, one of Canada’s finest defence lawyers – regularly volunteered their professional time in CLE sessions."

Abena also immersed herself in demanding volunteer work that gave her regulatory and governance skills. She served on the boards of the British Columbia College of Chiropractors, the Ontario College of Psychologists, and Centennial College. It was while director of the Ontario Bar Association’s continuing professional development division that she transitioned into the regulatory world, becoming the registrar of two health professions – opticianry and denturism. As registrar, Abena was responsible for protecting the public by ensuring that healthcare professionals provided safe, ethical, and competent patient care. In 2015, Abena became the first employee of the Ontario Film Authority – a start-up regulator. “I took the job because I enjoy working in environments that are just emerging. The foundation is there, but the house hasn’t been built.” The Ontario Film Authority oversees the Ontario Film Review Board (OFRB), previously run by the provincial government, and issues licences to film distributors, exhibitors, and retailers. The OFRB provides ratings (such as G, PG, and 14A) based on violence, nudity, profanity, and other elements so that the public, particularly parents, can make informed viewing choices. “Even as an adult,” Abena says,” I can’t watch horror films.” Instead, she prefers to spend her free time watching British mysteries and sharpening her budding photography skills. “My wonderful life partner introduced me to photography,” she says. “Walking around with a camera allows me to see the world from a different perspective.”


PR Fa oF cu ile lty

Professor Thamara Laredo

The CHEMISTRY of EVERYTHING by Tracey Skehan

Lakehead Orillia Professor Thamara Laredo has some pressing issues on her mind. “A big chunk of decision-making processes could be improved if we had better scientific literacy,” she says. “People don’t understand the urgency of challenges like climate change and they fall for pseudoscience like magnetic bracelets, natural supplements, and psychic readings. I’m trying to minimize the gap between popular knowledge and scientific literacy.” Professor Laredo is a physical chemist with an ambitious research agenda focused on environmental sustainability, science education, and food science. She grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, in a science-inclined family. Her mother is a physicist and university professor and her father is an engineer. Her interest in chemistry, however, stems from her love of food. “My mom was constantly cooking. We always had fresh bread and Tupperware containers full of homemade cookies. I became intrigued by the chemistry of cooking.” This childhood fascination remains strong in current research projects such as the development of a chocolate bar that resists melting. “We’re trying to add an ingredient, basically a cellulose polymer, that would prevent chocolate from deforming at high temperatures for markets in the tropics and the Middle East.”


Nonetheless, Professor Laredo’s greatest passion remains increasing scientific literacy in the general public – children, university students, grandparents – because it affects the future of the planet.

“people don’t understand the urgency of challenges like climate change and they fall for pseudoscience like magnetic bracelets, natural supplements, and psychic readings." She and Professor Chris Murray, one of her Lakehead Orillia sustainability sciences colleagues, have a monthly column in the Orillia Packet and Times newspaper highlighting everyday science. She also gives community talks and in 2012 and 2013, she ran the Summer of Sustainability (SOS) – a free public lecture series that brought together experts and everyday citizens to discuss problems like decreasing biodiversity. “Sustainability is important because resources are finite and if we don’t use them in a conscientious way, we will have a hard time ahead of us,” Professor Laredo says. An example of this approach is Professor Laredo and Professor

Murray’s Environment Canada-funded research project to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering Lake Simcoe from sewage treatment plants. The phosphorus in the wastewater effluent creates algae blooms that deplete oxygen levels, making it impossible for some fish to survive. The two researchers have developed a type of biochar that can be placed where the wasterwater effluent is discharged into the lake. Although there are other commercial products that eliminate phosphorus, their biochar is unique because the raw material is truly a waste product – the sludge left over from sewage treatment plants. Right now, huge lagoons of these bio-solids are hauled to landfills. “We take this very stinky gross-looking mud and we dry it and burn it in the absence of oxygen,” Professor Laredo explains. “You end up with a black powder that can remove close to 99% of the phosphorus, but it needs to be even better because that 1% is having a very adverse impact, so there’s a lot more fine-tuning that needs to be done.” Professor Laredo’s boundless curiosity and dedication to science means that she will continue her hunt for solutions to some of the most serious problems facing the planet today.


Is what you’re eating actually plastic? by Professor Thamara Laredo and Professor Chris Murray are close to each other and it takes a lot of heat to get the structure to break down. The negative image of processed cheeses like Cheez Whiz comes from a much longer shelf life, more uniform consistency than traditional, expensive cheeses, and their prevalence in fast food (like the beloved cheeseburger). Its image may also suffer from a general, often unfounded, fear of things technological and scientific – ranging from immunizations to microwave ovens. Now let’s consider a popular video showing a slice of processed cheese refusing to melt in an open flame. Is this proof it is not cheese? We’ve all heard it: “Don’t eat that stuff! It’s one molecule away from plastic!” The “stuff” can be processed cheese, margarine, or even processed meats. You might have even seen videos on the Internet showing “proof” that processed cheese is plastic. What is plastic, exactly? We are often referring to thermoplastic products synthesized from petroleum. Many people see these items as unnatural because of their extreme durability and differences from materials such as wood and fibre. These plastic materials tend to belong to the same class of materials as proteins – a broad category of molecules called polymers that include anything made up of many units repeated in chains or networks. How can something be “a molecule away” from plastic? To answer this question, we need to understand what a molecule is. A molecule is two or more atoms joined together.

The air we breathe, for example, contains dioxygen, otherwise known as O2. The “2” in O2 tells us we are talking about a molecule, not an individual atom of oxygen, and that each molecule is two atoms of oxygen joined together. There are many types of molecules in cheese, whether processed or natural. All types of cheese contain proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and molecules that may be added to increase shelf life or change the texture or flavour. That cheese melts and becomes gooey (and delicious) has to do with its chemical composition, water content, and the heating process. When cheese melts, the fat in it becomes softer and the proteins start to become fluid. If the cheese is very soft (think Brie), proteins are surrounded by a lot of water and the overall structure is not very tight so it becomes runny. If you have a hard cheese, like Parmesan, the proteins

First, processed-cheese slices are, like many “natural” cheeses, not strictly solid at room temperature – you will not see a clear change from solid to liquid no matter how much heat is applied. Second, under an open flame, heating can be so rapid that molecules will degrade before they have a chance to move apart and flow – instead the cheese will burn and blacken. Is cheese plastic based on these definitions? If it can be formed into another shape (by melting and cooling, for example), the answer is yes, whether you’re talking about processed cheese or natural cheese. But if you already feel guilty about indulging in Cheez Whiz, don’t feel even worse because someone tells you you’re eating a close relative of a garbage bag – you are not. This is a condensed version of an article previously published in the Orillia Packet and Times.



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Perry Peterson (BEng’88), PYXIS president and CEO, and the creator of the PYXIS digital-Earth spatial reference system is featured in a special 2017 joint issue of the Canadian Geographic and Walrus magazines. The issue, called “The Story of Canada in 150 Objects,” highlighted Perry’s development of a ‘virtual globe.’ Through his leadership he has attracted a diverse team of scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and geographers to PYXIS dedicated to supporting this new digital earth information medium. Perry’s efforts have been recognized by many geospatial-focused organizations including the International Group on Earth Observations, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, NASA, Natural Resources Canada, the United Nations Environmental Program, and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Perry’s innovative work started at Lakehead University while studying for his engineering degree under Civil Engineering Professor Umed Panu.

Linda Evans (née Veneruz) (HBCom’94) is the new city treasurer and general manager of the City of Thunder Bay’s Corporate Services & Long Term Care Department. Linda, a chartered professional accountant, has 23 years of managerial experience with the provincial government. She served as the manager of finance and administrative services with the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Postsecondary Education Division. She also has extensive experience with various federal and provincial departments including as co-chair of the Provincial Repayment Assistance Program committee – a federalprovincial working group. In addition to her Lakehead degree, Linda has completed the Executive Development Program at Western University’s Ivey Business School as well as other continuing education training.

Dr. Ross Sherlock (MSc’89) was appointed to GoldMining Inc.’s technical advisory board to help GoldMining’s management team evaluate and advance its gold projects in the Americas. Ross is a professional geologist with over 28 years of experience in the mining industry. He has held senior positions with major mining companies including Kinross Gold Corp., Gold Fields, and Miramar Mining Corporation/Newmont Mining Corporation. Ross was also a research geoscientist at the Geological Survey of Canada and a senior geologist at SRK Consulting Engineers. Ross completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of British Columbia’s Mineral Deposits Research Unit, a PhD at the University of Waterloo, an MSc at Lakehead University, and a BSc (Honours) at McMaster University.

Juanita Lawson (HBSW’90/MSW’94) is the new chief executive director of the NorWest Community Health Centre in Thunder Bay. “Juanita’s client-centered focus and strengthsbased leadership will be a great asset. The board of directors is excited to work with Juanita in this new role,” said the Centre’s board chair, David Richards. Juanita joined the NorWest CHC in 2009 as the director of clinical services. Juanita also has a PhD in social work from the University of Calgary, a Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy Studies from the University of Guelph, and an Advanced Health Leadership Certificate from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. Darren Lentz (HBOR’94/BSc’94/ BEd’96/MEd’07) was chosen as one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals. This nationally-recognized award bestowed by The Learning Partnership honours 40 exceptional educators in publiclyfunded schools. Darren was named a 2017 outstanding principal because he is a hands-on leader who creates

a strong sense of community at the Hyde Park and Kingsway Park public schools in Thunder Bay. He supports at-risk students by providing sensory rooms and by developing strategies to de-escalate behaviours. Darren is passionate about integrating First Nations learning. He focuses on the “Seven Grandfather” teachings in assemblies, projects, and classroom lessons. He also serves on the Minister’s Principals Reference Group and teaches with the Native Language Instructor Program at Lakehead University. In addition to receiving the award, Darren took part in a five-day executive leadership training program at the Rotman School of Management. Darren Yaworsky (HBCom’94) became the senior vice president, finance, and chief financial officer of the Wajax Corporation on March 8, 2017. Wajax is a leading national distributor of equipment, power systems, and industrial components for major Canadian industries. Darren most recently served as Canadian Pacific Railway’s vice president, finance, and treasurer. Prior to that, he held several senior financial roles within the Enbridge Group of Companies and served in corporate finance and risk management roles at the Bank of Montréal financial group and at RBC Capital Markets. Darren also has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Manitoba.

2010s Matthew Pearson (BEd’14), the general manager and co-owner of the Thunder Bay-based Sleeping Giant Brewing Company, is increasing production at the popular craft brewery from just under 4,000 hectolitres to 9,000 hectolitres a day. Since its establishment in 2012, the brewery has rapidly expanded. It has 20 employees and its ales and stouts are now carried in LCBOs throughout Ontario as well as in a growing number of Beer Stores and licensed grocery stores. In the summer of

2016, Sleeping Giant moved into a new 12,000-square-foot facility. Matt, who is from London, Ontario, also has a degree from the University of Western Ontario. He worked in the restaurant industry and hospitality consulting sectors in Southwestern Ontario for many years before relocating to Thunder Bay. Hasan Syed (BScN’16) has been busy since graduating from Lakehead’s nursing program last year. As well as preparing for his RN licensing exam, Hasan is running from Vancouver to Ottawa this spring to raise awareness about the lack of access to safe drinking water in many First Nations communities in Canada. “Throughout nursing school,” said Hasan, “we were taught to believe that in order to have a healthy human being, capable of performing the simplest tasks required for survival, their basic needs should be met.” Hasan, who

immigrated to Canada from Pakistan when he was 10 years old, hopes that his run will help bring clean drinking water to every Canadian home. You can visit Hasan’s website, Access 2 Clean Water (, for more information and to make a donation. Jonathan Tunley (HBK’12) started his career as a physiotherapy resident this year. After completing his HBK degree, he worked for two years as a clinical kinesiologist. “I had a great experience working as a kin and I took that time to research, as much as I could, my options for further education,” said Jonathan. “After taking another job managing insurance claims for motor vehicle accident clinics, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in physiotherapy.” He completed his MSc Physiotherapy degree at Leeds Beckett University in the United Kingdom and he’s now qualifying as a registered physiotherapist in Canada.

Passages professor Emeritus WiLLiAM EAMES Professor Emeritus William Preston Eames passed away on March 7, 2017, at the age of 87, surrounded by family. Bill was born in Minnedosa, Manitoba, on September 21, 1929. During the Depression, Bill’s parents took in and fed many hungry and unemployed men. This instilled in Bill an understanding that people who struggle or face hardship do not do so out of choice. The first in his family to go to university, and funding himself completely on scholarships, Bill went to Brandon College for chemistry and mathematics. He went on to the University of Manitoba and subsequently to Queen’s University, where he completed his PhD in calculus at the age of 24. In 1966, Bill and his wife and children settled in Thunder Bay (Port Arthur), Ontario. Bill was chair of the math department at Lakehead University where he had many good friends and colleagues. He inspired countless young people with his love of mathematics and creative ways of teaching. After his retirement in 1993, Bill and his wife Jane travelled extensively. Bill will always be remembered for his humour, his unlimited generosity and kindness, and his quiet determination.


FARHAN yOUSAF wins Thunder Bay’s 2017 RESpECT AWARD by Tina Maenpaa

between local law enforcement and the Muslim community are some of the projects Farhan has taken on outside the classroom. Although he’s had many inspiring role models, Farhan points to his mother Naseem Akhtar as the most important. “She would always tell us, ‘be kind to people no matter who they are or what they do.’”

Student Farhan Yousaf is a social justice advocate, a community builder, and a friend you can rely on. Respect and compassion aren’t buzzwords to Farhan Yousaf – they are principles he lives by. “It’s everybody’s responsibility,” he says, “to work for the betterment of society.” This belief has made the fourth-year mechanical engineering student a leader both on and off campus. On March 22, 2017, Diversity Thunder Bay honoured Farhan with their 2017 respect. Award (which stands for respect period) because he’s helped further their mission of fostering an equitable community free of racism and discrimination through his social justice and outreach work. Organizing a winter clothing drive for international students, coordinating Lakehead’s Culture Days celebration, establishing a business and support network for racialized young professionals in the region, and working with the Thunder Bay Police to develop positive relationships


Farhan was born in the same tiny village in Pakistan where his parents grew up. When he was six years old, his family moved to Qatar on the Persian Gulf after his father Yousaf was hired for a job in the capital city of Doha – a metropolis of over one million people. His father was the first person in his village to go to university and his mother was equally passionate about education. She had dreams of going to university too, but had to leave school after grade five to help out at home. The many hardships she encountered as a result steeled her resolve that her son and daughters would all be university graduates. When it was Farhan’s turn to begin postsecondary studies, he looked to Commonwealth countries that had a British system of education like Qatar. The United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia were his main options. “My parents wanted me to go to the UK because it was closer. They thought Canada was way too far and way too cold,” says Farhan. “I pushed for Canada because I wanted to go somewhere

far away and we had family friends there. I think it was the right choice.”

“Everyone faces a challenge and everyone’s challenge is different. The key is to keep going and never give up because the rewards are worth it.” After earning a Mechanical Engineering Technology diploma from the Nova Scotia Community College, he transferred into Lakehead’s mechanical engineering program in 2012. Engineering was a natural choice because Farhan has always been fascinated by how things work. In the space of a few years, Farhan’s community spirit has inspired students, faculty, and local citizens. He has just been re-elected to his second term as the Lakehead University Student Union operations & finance vice president and is an executive member of the World University Service of Canada, a nonprofit that enables refugee students to study in Canada. Farhan is keenly aware that international students can feel overwhelmed when they come to Canada, but he encourages them to take heart, saying, “Everyone faces a challenge and everyone’s challenge is different. The key is to keep going and never give up because the rewards are worth it.” Farhan hopes to stay in Thunder Bay after he graduates in June 2018. “I really like Northern Ontario – I’ve even gotten used to the cold. An engineering job would be great but whatever is in store for me, I’m ready for it.”


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DEFINITELY NOT BUSINESS AS USUAL. . . “Our graduates become innovative business leaders through mentorship, challenging consulting opportunities, international exchanges, vibrant student organizations, and national and international business competitions.” BAHRAM DADGOSTAR, DEAN FACULTY OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

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