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For Alumni & Friends

Be Bold

 ichael Lee-Chin charts M a course as Laurier’s new chancellor

Laurier gets a brand-new look Looking back on a year of celebration

Winter 2011-12

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Cover Story Doing well, doing good


Michael Lee-Chin has had an astonishing career as an entrepreneur and philanthropist, but Laurier’s new chancellor says he’s just getting started.



Editor’s Note


On Campus

President’s Corner


Alumni News


Stories as medicine to heal the aboriginal soul. Plus, predicting election results with Kreskin-like prescience.

Campus News


Turning over a new leaf

Keeping in Touch


Calendar of Events




13 13


At the dawn of its second century, Laurier unveils a bold new visual identity.

100 years, 365 days

27 23

As the university’s centennial year comes to a close, we look back in photos at some of the great moments from our biggest celebration ever.

Short and sweet Their stories may contain only 100 words, but the winners of Laurier’s centennial drabble short-story contest are long on talent.

32 27

LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12


We both excel at producing the brightest.

Š 2011 Christie Digital Systems Canada Inc. All rights reserved.

Congratulations Wilfrid Laurier University on celebrating 100 years.

Editor’s note

Big changes

Volume 51, Number 2, Winter 2011-12 ISSN 0700-5105

Laurier Campus is published by the Department of Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing (CPAM) Wilfrid Laurier University 75 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5 Publisher: Jacqui Tam Assistant Vice-President: Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing Editor: Nicholas Dinka Writers: Lori Chalmers Morrison, Sandra Muir, Mallory O’Brien ‘08, Vanessa Parks Design and Art Direction: Justin Ogilvie, Janice Maarhuis

After a year of festivities – of conferences and statue unveilings, concerts and parties – Laurier’s centennial celebrations are finally drawing to a close. The end of a grand celebration is an occasion for mixed emotions: pleasure at the great memories, wistfulness that the excitement is over, and maybe just a hint of relief that life is finally getting back to normal. But as you’ll see in the pages of this issue of Campus, there’s already a whole new normal at Laurier. This October, the university welcomed a new chancellor, Michael Lee-Chin, a self-made entrepreneur and immigrant from Jamaica with an international outlook and a strong vision for the university’s future (see story on page 16). October also saw the unveiling of a new Laurier visual identity, including a new wordmark and refined seal, which graphically captures the university’s forward-looking stance (see report on page 23).

It might seem as if Laurier, in rushing to meet its future, is turning away from its past. But in fact, nothing could be further from the truth, because if there’s one thing we learned from our look back over the last 100 years, it’s that throughout its first century Laurier was a place of constant change and reinvention. It is in our blood to look to the future, to innovate and to renew ourselves at every turn. And so by doing these things, we are in fact staying true to the spirit that has animated us from day one. Here at Laurier, the more things stay the same, the more they change. And that’s exactly how we like it.

Nicholas Dinka

Photography: Tomasz Adamski, Dean Palmer Send address changes to: Address Updates, Development and Alumni Relations Email: Phone: (519) 884-0710 ext. 3176 Publications Mail Registration No. 40020414 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: CPAM Wilfrid Laurier University 75 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5 We welcome and encourage your feedback. Send letters to the editor to We reserve the right to edit all submissions.

Laurier Campus (circ. 58,500) is published three times a year by CPAM. Opinions expressed in Campus do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or the university’s administration. Cover photography: Dean Palmer Visit us online at

Questions, comments, rants or raves? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at

LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12



Centennial launches Laurier into next century The past year has been a remarkable success for the entire Laurier community. A centennial is a significant milestone for any organization. It is also an excellent opportunity to re-engage as a community, promote our accomplishments and share our story with the world. The Laurier community achieved this and more in 2011. We celebrated our 100th anniversary with style, exuberance and a reinvigorated confidence and sense of self.

Not only was it a year of celebration, it was a time of reflection and community building. Over the past 12 months we embraced our heritage, took stock of our present, and laid the groundwork for a new and exciting century. The impressive array of events and initiatives that took place during our centennial are too numerous to mention, but I would like to highlight a few. The first was the 100 Alumni of Achievement program. To my mind, there is no better way to articulate the essence of this university than by telling the stories of the individuals who make up the Laurier community. The 100 alumni selected for this list, as well as all the nominees, are impressive people who exemplify what Laurier does best: inspire lives of leadership and purpose. Another key development that took place during our centennial was the installation of a new chancellor, the entrepreneur and philanthropist Michael Lee-Chin. Like his predecessor, John Pollock, our new chancellor has a keen interest in education and students. He is also passionate about the importance of a global perspective and the need for individuals and organizations to give back to society.


LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12

His passion aligns well with Laurier’s institutional values and goals, including our emphasis on “community focus and global engagement” and our desire to challenge “people to become engaged and aware citizens of an increasingly complex world.” As Laurier moves into its second century, these concepts will become increasingly important elements of who we are as a university community. Not only are we expanding our links internationally through such initiatives as our China office, we are increasing our capacity at home to connect with students and academic partners around the world through leadingedge projects such as the Global Innovation Exchange, a landmark facility being built on our Waterloo campus. Other areas that will define Laurier in the future include a strategic effort to increase our research capacity and maintain teaching excellence, improvements to how we manage our multi-campus reality, and an ongoing focus on integrated and engaged learning. The last initiative I would like to mention is Laurier’s newly evolved visual identity. A visual identity is vital to how an organization sees itself and how it is seen by others. The design that was unveiled in October, and which is described on pages 23-25, was developed after numerous input sessions involving alumni, faculty, staff and students. It was also informed by the consultative research conducted during the Envisioning Laurier initiative. Consequently, I believe it is an authentic representation of this university and will serve us well as we embark on a new and exciting century. Finally, I would like to thank you for making our centennial year such an extraordinary success. By participating so enthusiastically, you strengthened the Laurier community and created a legacy for those who will follow us in the years ahead.

Dr. Max Blouw President and Vice-Chancellor Wilfrid Laurier University


Celebrating 100 years with Laurier’s alumni

WLUAA 2011-12 Executive President Tom Berczi ’88, ’93 Vice-President Megan Harris ’00 Vice-President Marc Henein ’04 Treasurer Mark Richardson ‘95 Honorary President Dr. Max Blouw Past President Steve Wilkie ’82, ’89

Board of Directors Bruce Armstrong ’72 Peter Batson ‘69 Scott Bebenek ’85 Thomas Cadman ‘87 Marie-Helene Colaiezzi ‘07,‘08 Sourov De ‘05 Paul Dickson ‘03 Peter Gobran ‘99 Paul Maxwell ‘07 Michelle Missere ‘06 Kiran Nagra ‘02 Priya Persaud ’98 Patricia Polischuk ‘90 Karen Rice ‘87 Chris Rushforth ‘80 Shirley Schmidt ‘86, ‘09 Kelly Schoonderwoerd ‘03 Maeve Strathy ‘10 Cynthia Sundberg ‘94

As Laurier’s centennial year draws to a close, I would like to share with you some of the great initiatives the Alumni Association has undertaken to support the university during its 100th year. As a key sponsor and organizer of the 100 Alumni of Achievement initiative, it was great to see more than 700 people come out during Homecoming weekend to celebrate the lives of 100 of our most influential and successful alumni. The challenges the selection committee faced in choosing from among so many strong nominations is a testament to how many of our alumni have succeeded in leading lives of leadership and purpose. A printed publication containing brief profiles of each of the 100 has been included with this issue of Laurier Campus (an electronic version is also available at laurieralumni. ca/100alumni). We hope you enjoy reading it, and take inspiration from the careers of these amazing Laurier grads. On Oct. 18, the statue of Sir Wilfrid Laurier was officially unveiled in the amphitheatre of the Waterloo campus. The Alumni Association took a leadership role in supporting this project by creating a fundraising campaign wherein we matched alumni donations made in support of the statue. More than 140 alumni have participated in this initiative, which has raised more than $30,000. On Oct. 28, we proudly sponsored the Faculty of Music’s Opera Gala, held at Knox Presbyterian Church in Waterloo. This concert featured our 2011 Alumna of the Year, Jane Archibald, and was a great success.

The Alumni Association has always been committed to supporting students through our many scholarship and bursary programs. I am very pleased to report that we have initiated a new scholarship program, beginning this academic year. A total of seven WLUAA Undergraduate (and Graduate) Campus Citizenship Scholarships, valued at $1,000 each, will be presented annually to recipients who have demonstrated strong academic performance, combined with a proven track record of volunteerism and community service during their years at Laurier. This is truly an all-inclusive initiative: we have ensured that a student from each faculty and campus will be a beneficiary of one of these great new scholarships. We have also recently initiated a yearround application process for the WLUAA Board of Directors. If you are interested in applying, a cover letter, along with your resumé, can be sent to the attention of the chair of the WLUAA Nominating Committee at and we will be in touch in the new year.

Tom Berczi ’88, ‘93 President, WLUAA

Board of Governors Representatives Tom Berczi ‘88, ‘93 Tim Martin ‘92 Steve Wilkie ‘82, ‘89

Senate Representatives Susan Lockett ‘99 David Oates ’70 John Trus ’90

LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12


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campusnews New Sir Wilfrid Laurier statue already a campus favourite Laurier IN BRONZE

A life-size bronze statue of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, portrayed as a young man seated on a granite bench, has attracted lots of attention since it was unveiled on the Waterloo campus in October. Commissioned by the university to commemorate its centennial, the statue was created by renowned artist Marlene Hilton Moore. It is situated in the Quad, along the walkway leading between Mid-Campus Drive and the Fred Nichols Campus Centre. At the unveiling, Hilton Moore told a crowd of more than 150 people that a youthful Sir Wilfrid seemed most appropriate given the many students who populate a university campus. “I wanted him to be young, when he had a tremendous vision and passion of where he might be going,” she said.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier was Canada’s seventh prime minister and one of the most respected politicians to hold that office, serving from July 11, 1896 to Oct. 6, 1911. In his remarks, Laurier President Max Blouw praised Sir Wilfrid as a man of passion whose belief in conciliation, co-operation and inclusivity align with the university’s mission and values. Laurier has launched a fundraising campaign for the statue. To date, more than $30,000 has been raised, including a significant donation from Laurier’s Alumni Association. A donor wall commemorating the names of everyone who donated $100 or more will be installed near the statue at the end of the year. Donations will be accepted until Dec. 31, 2011. For more information, visit

Centennial history book

Leadership and Purpose tells the university’s story in words and photographs A history of Laurier commissioned in celebration of the university’s centennial was launched Oct. 21 at a “Turning the Page” event that also featured the unveiling of the Laurier’s new visual identity. The ceremony was held simultaneously at the Brantford and Waterloo campuses, thanks to digital transmission technology. Leadership and Purpose: A History of Wilfrid Laurier University, a 180-page book by historian Andrew Thomson, covers such events as the early decision by the Seminary to offer a BA program, the breakaway of several faculties from the university

to form the University of Waterloo, and the decision to become a public institution and adopt the name Wilfrid Laurier University in 1973. It features dozens of historical photographs and sidebars on key university figures. Thomson first came to Laurier in 1976, completing BA and MA degrees in history here before going on to do a PhD at the University of Waterloo. He has taught at Laurier’s Waterloo and Brantford campuses and at Laurier Toronto over the years. Now that the book has been launched, he will be speaking about it

at on- and off-campus events. He says he’s looking forward to that part because “I love talking” and because the material is so rich and accessible. “It’s a story of challenge, and in the end of triumph over challenge,” he said. Leadership and Purpose will be available for sale at Laurier bookstores and on the WLU Press website at

LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12


campus news

Laurier installs Michael Lee-Chin as chancellor and honours Lennox Lewis at Fall convocation CELEBRATING CONVOCATION

Laurier graduated about 1,120 students from its Waterloo and Brantford campuses at the university’s largest fall convocation ever on Friday, Oct. 28, at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex. During the morning ceremony, School of Business & Economics students witnessed the installation of Laurier’s eighth chancellor, Michael Lee-Chin, who took over the role from former chancellor John Pollock. In his address, Lee-Chin, one of Canada’s foremost entrepreneurs, investors and philanthropists, encouraged graduands to identify their cause in life and to aim high. “I think the most important lesson that I have learned over the last many years, is that success begets complacency begets failure,” he said. “I challenge you therefore, today being a pivotal point in your life, that you enter tomorrow being prepared.” Lennox Lewis, former world heavyweight boxing champion and Olympic gold medalist for Canada, received an honorary doctor of laws degree during the afternoon ceremony for the faculties of Arts, Music, Science, Social Work, Education; the

From left: Laurier President Max Blouw, Lennox Lewis and Michael Lee-Chin have fun before the ceremony.

School of International Policy and Governance; the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary; and Laurier Brantford. “Sacrifice, hard work, winning attitude and knowledge are the key to achieving life’s purpose,” said Lewis. Joanna Burzynski, a Contemporary Studies and Health Studies graduate, received the Alumni Gold Medal for the Brantford campus and the honour of being Laurier Brantford’s 2,000th graduate, only two years after its 1,000th graduate.

In our modern age the distinction between war and peace has become a whole lot less clear. What is required is more candour from the politicians to the public. Military history Professor Roger Sarty, commenting on NATO’s involvement in Libya.

People at Laurier Pat Rogers has been appointed to the new role of associate vice-president: teaching & learning. Rogers will provide senior leadership and support to the vision of excellence in teaching and learning as a major pillar of the university. Two Laurier chemistry professors – Hind Al-Abadleh and Kenneth Maly – have received prestigious Early Researcher awards from Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation. Al-Abadleh looks at the environmental impacts of tiny metalcontaining nanoparticles. Maly’s work is


LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12

focused on liquid crystals, which may offer a more economical alternative to silicone solar cells. Laurier Physicist Shohini Ghose has been awarded a Sera Bangali award for her work on combining chaos theory and quantum mechanics. The award honours people of Bengali origin who have made significant contributions in the fields of music, film, business, science, sports, art or public life. The award has previously been won by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus. Laurier has created Canada’s first Chair in Brand Communication with an investment

of $1.9 million by 45 leading Canadian companies and marketers. Professor Brad Davis, an expert in branding, advertising and marketing, has been appointed as the inaugural chair. As part of the recent Canada Research Chair (CRC) appointments, Laurier has three new chairs – prestigious professorships funded by the federal government. They are: CRC in International Migration (tier 2) Alison Mountz, CRC in Forests and Global Change (tier 2) Jennifer Baltzer, and CRC in Market Insight and Innovation (tier 2) Tripat Gill.

campus news THE LORAX LIVES

Laurier professor pays tribute to Dr. Seuss in spider’s name

What’s the best way to come up with a name for a newly discovered species of jumping spider? By making a conceptual leap, of course. Just ask Laurier Professor Tristan Long, who recently won a contest to name the critter, discovered in Ecuador in 2010. His winning name, Lapsias lorax, is a reference to the Doctor Seuss character The Lorax, whose yellow moustache was called to Long’s mind by the yellow markings on the spider’s face. (The spider is somewhat less cuddly than the Dr. Seuss character, however.) In an interview with The Waterloo Region Record, Long said it’s an honour to have a name in the hierarchy of species, the universal classification system devised by Carl Linnaeus in the 18th century. “To be a little part of such a long and distinguished history is quite amazing,” he said. Seuss’s Lorax, who “speaks for the trees,” tries to protect the forest and its creatures from the greedy Once-ler, whose factories belch “smogulous smoke” that devastates the environment. “The Lorax’s message to preserve biodiversity, and his resemblance to the new spider, make his the perfect name for the new spider,” notes Wayne Maddison of the University of British Columbia, who discovered the spider and subsequently launched the naming contest. Take that, Once-ler.


Laurier alumni win major entrepreneurship awards Entrepreneurs and Laurier grads Greg Overholt and Razor Suleman were honoured in Toronto recently with an Ontario Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for their innovative and inspiring ventures. Overholt (BBA ’08) received a special citation in the category of Social Entrepreneur for his charitable organization Students Offering Support (SOS). The citation is given in recognition of an entrepreneur whose achievements have driven large-scale social change and improved people’s lives or quality of life. Overholt founded SOS in his second year at Laurier. The non-profit

organization is dedicated to helping firstand second-year students with exam preparation. Since its launch, SOS has tutored 20,000 undergraduate students. Suleman (BBA ‘98), CEO and founder of Toronto-based Achievers, received his award in the business-to-business products and services category. Achievers offers a social recognition software platform that provides performance-based recognition and rewards in the form of points that can be redeemed for products and services. Clients pay when employee performance improves, which has helped the company maintain a 99 per cent customer retention rate.

Submetering program helps Laurier conserve energy

Sustainability on campus

Laurier’s colours may be purple and gold, but the university is about to get a lot greener as it launches one of the most comprehensive energy management projects among post-secondary institutions in North America, made possible in large part by a $150,000 investment from the President’s Innovation Seed Fund (PISF). Laurier will capture data on electricity, natural gas and water use by submetering 40 buildings at its Waterloo and Brantford campuses and Kitchener location. All of the information captured by the submeters will flow into a software system called Lucid, which will display a public, real-time dashboard view of energy consumption in each building.

It is only the second time a Canadian university has implemented the Lucid energy dashboard. Laurier will also have one of the most comprehensive Lucid programs in North America in terms of both the number of submetered buildings and the types of energy consumption being captured by the software. The project was made possible due to the PISF investment — the largest since the fund was established in 2009. “This grant is an important investment in energy conservation and ensures a stronger and more sustainable future for Laurier,” said Steve Farlow, chair of the fund’s implementation committee. The Laurier dashboard is available to anyone with a web connection at http://

LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12


campus news

More than $16 million in funding announced for Laurier Brantford-YMCA athletics complex Laurier Brantford ATHLETICS

The Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure announced more than $16 million in funding for a new community athletics and recreation centre to be shared by Laurier Brantford and the YMCA. The investment is a significant contribution toward the development of a 115,000-square-foot facility to be used by Laurier students and the broader Brantford community. In addition to Laurier Brantford and the YMCA, project partners include the City of Brantford, Six Nations, Nipissing University and Mohawk College. By partnering on the project, Laurier Brantford and the YMCA will create an athletic and recreation centre with a range of programming that will far exceed what either organization could provide independently. The facility will offer traditional YMCA programming and support the programming goals of the Six Nations partners.

Laurier President Max Blouw, back right, helps celebrate the funding announcement.

History is both potent and personal. Memories of our history hold us together as individuals, as families and as communities. When we forget who we have been, we remain unaware of who we are. Opening line from Helen Waldstein Wilkes’ Letters from the Lost: A Memoir of Discovery, winner of the 2011 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction.

Soaring for a Century

Laurier community celebrates centennial Homecoming A record-breaking number of Laurier Golden Hawks came back to the Waterloo campus Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 to celebrate Laurier’s centennial at Homecoming 2011. Laurier’s Waterloo campus welcomed reunion class celebrations, enthusiastic students, alumni and football fans for the largest event of its kind in the university’s history. Saturday kicked off with the free pancake breakfast. Highlights of the day included campus tours, numerous faculty open houses and the Legends of Laurier Lecture Series featuring Professor Emeritus Tupper Cawsey. On Saturday afternoon, the Golden Hawks football team defeated the Ottawa Gee-Gees, 51-16. The traditional football game and tailgate party had a number of centennial twists, including a fireworks display, a live hawk and the President’s Choice Superdogs performing at half-time. The Centennial Alumni Celebration, held Saturday evening, honored Laurier’s 100 Alumni of Achievement and all centennial reunion classes. More than 700 distinguished


LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12

alumni, reunion class graduates and members of the Laurier community attended. On Sunday, 520 people laced up for the fourth annual Laurier Loop run, which together with matched donations from alumni raised $9,000 for the Sun Life Financial Movement Disorders Research & Rehabilitation Centre (MDRC). Also on Sunday, the Founders’ Luncheon welcomed alumni from the classes of 1945 to 1961, who together raised more than $36,000 for their alma mater. Laurier Brantford also celebrated its third-annual Homecoming Sept. 24 with a varsity baseball double-header against the Guelph Gryphons (with the Hawks dropping both matches), a comedy festival and pub night.

campus news Laurier’s new category

Maclean’s moves university into ‘comprehensive’ status For the first time in the 21-year history of the publication, Maclean’s magazine has moved Wilfrid Laurier University into the comprehensive category of its annual university rankings. The move reflects Laurier’s growth in research and graduate programs. Maclean’s shifted three universities from primarily undergraduate to comprehensive: Laurier, Ryerson University and Brock University. Laurier placed 7th out of 15 in the reputation category, and 11th in the overall ranking. In the national reputational rankings of all 49 universities in Canada, Laurier placed in the top half for best overall, highest quality and most innovative. “We’ve been moved onto an entirely new and exciting playing field this year,” Deborah MacLatchy, vice-president: academic and provost said. “The move acknowledges the growth in both our undergraduate and graduate student populations, as well as our increasing research profile and strong professional programs. It also more accurately reflects the direction the university is heading as we enter our second century.” In Laurier’s Century Plan, which covered the period 2005-11, the university aimed to be “an innovative comprehensive university, with a strong focus on student experience” by its centennial year. Over the past five years, Laurier has seen a dramatic increase in research activity. The number of active Tri-council grants has increased by 40 per cent and the value of those grants has increased by 50 per cent. Tri-council grants include funding from Canada’s three major granting bodies— the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Laurier currently has 36 research chairs, centres and institutes. “Being the best possible comprehensivestudent focused university is a main priority as Laurier moves into its next century,” said MacLatchy.

Laurier’s Annual Literary Award

Helen Waldstein Wilkes wins Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction Author and academic Helen Waldstein Wilkes has won the 2011 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction for her book Letters from the Lost: A Memoir of Discovery. The book is the story of the author’s discovery of a box of letters kept by her father. The box holds “letters from the lost” — letters from family members left behind in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. At age 60, Waldstein Wilkes follows the letters’ trail back to Europe in search of “the lost” — homeland, family and personal identity. After receiving her PhD in French literature, Waldstein Wilkes spent 30 years teaching in Canada and the United States. Her research interests include cross-cultural understanding, language acquisition and neurolinguistics. Now retired and living in Vancouver, she is actively examining her own cultural inheritance and its impact. The Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction was launched in 1991 and is administered by Laurier, the only university in Canada to bestow a nationally recognized literary award. The $10,000 award encourages and recognizes Canadian writers of a first or second work of creative non-fiction that includes a Canadian locale and/or significance.

Showcasing research

Scholars Commons @ Laurier provides public access to Laurier’s academic work Laurier has launched a new service called Scholars Commons @ Laurier, an online repository of academic work that serves as both a research tool and a showcase for faculty and graduate students. Scholars Commons provides public access to the intellectual, creative and academic work of the Laurier community, including graduate theses and dissertations, conference and symposium materials and online journals. Launched in September, Scholars Commons is a third-party hosted site, maintained by the Wilfrid Laurier University Library and WLU Press. Digital repositories are used by a large number of universities and colleges in the United States and Canada. In Ontario, McMaster University, Ryerson University and the University of Western Ontario all have digital repositories hosted by the Berkeley Electronic Press, the electronic publishing firm chosen for Laurier’s Scholars Commons initiative. Scholars Commons already contains over 1,200 existing documents from the Library’s archives. The Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies’ academic journal will also be accessible on the service. The project will begin requesting research from faculty members soon. Coinciding with Laurier’s centennial year, Scholars Commons will also feature archival issues of The Cord dating back to 1926. LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12


Let’s make Laurier even stronger — together.

We need you! Every gift to Laurier helps us provide our 16,000 students with exceptional learning and personal experiences. During this season of giving, show your support to your alma mater and make your gift today. Let’s make a difference — together. Give today.


on campus

You have to know where you come from to know where you are going.

A healing touch In western societies, medicine often comes in the form of a pill, liquid or ointment and is designed to treat a specific physical ailment (it may also taste bad). But in North American indigenous cultures, medicine can sometimes be given in the form of a story, one designed to heal not just the body but also the soul. Kim Anderson is an associate professor of Indigenous Studies at Laurier Brantford. In her recent work, she’s been “digging up medicines” found in stories about life in the mid-20th century as told by native elders from communities in Ontario and the Prairies. Anderson believes that an understanding of how traditional communities worked can help indigenous people build healthier communities today. “You have to know where you come from to know where you are going,” she says, referencing an adage commonly heard in the native world. Anderson recently published a new book about her work, featuring the stories and teachings of 14 individual elders, called Life Stages and Native Women: Memory, Teachings, and Story Medicine. The elders’ stories portray events in their own lives and in those with whom they lived, describing customs

and beliefs related to pregnancy, birth, child care, puberty, adult life, aging and death. At each stage of the life cycle, Anderson says, native women in traditional communities had quite specific roles and responsibilities. Even infants had a designated part to play in the community — that of giving joy — while female elders often acted as “doorkeepers to the spirit world,” acting both as midwives and in the role of undertaker, washing and preparing bodies for burial. Such roles and responsibilities shaped women’s sense of who they were, and were also integral to ensuring the healthy functioning of the community as a whole, Anderson says. For her next project, Anderson will be studying recent movements among indigenous men to explore positive forms of masculinity rooted in native traditions, a project supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. In the meantime, she’s continuing to share the medicines she’s unearthed to date. “I hope that other peoples in North America and beyond will also take inspiration from the beautiful teachings represented in these story medicines,” she says. ❖

LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12 13

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1 Award of AIR MILES reward miles or CashBack rewards is made for purchases charged to your account (less refunds) and is subject to the terms and conditions of your BMO MasterCard Cardholder Agreement. 2 Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty Insurance benefits provided by Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Company. 3 You will not be liable for most cases of unauthorized purchases made in person, over the phone or online. Please refer to your BMO MasterCard Cardholder Agreement for more information. 4 Subject to credit availability and verification of identity. Cash advance fees will apply. ® Registered trade-mark of Bank of Montreal. ®*Registered trade-mark of MasterCard International Incorporated. TM†/®† Trademarks of AIR MILES International TradingSpring B.V. Used2011 under license by LoyaltyOne, Inc. and Bank of Montreal. 14 LAURIER CAMPUS

on campus

It helps educate the community. But mainly, it’s just kind of fun.

Political fortune-teller Opinion polls may be the nearest thing to a crystal ball this side of Middle Earth, but in a seat-based system like Canada’s they’re not very good at predicting actual election results, since seat counts often diverge widely from popular vote percentages (just ask the Green Party). That’s where the work of Barry Kay, a Laurier political science professor and associate of the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy, comes in. Kay uses a statistical method he devised, the “regional swing seat model,” to translate raw polling data into seat projections, often with eerie accuracy. Kay’s system divides the country into six regions with distinct voting patterns, then factors in changes in the polls in each region since the last election to come up with projected seat totals. (The model can also account for the impact of incumbency, since incumbent candidates can give their parties a three- to four-per-cent boost in their ridings.) Kay, who’s always had a knack for recognizing patterns in numerical systems, first came up with the model in the

1980s, and since then his projections have been featured in media outlets such as The Waterloo Region Record, Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and CTV. (On election nights he has worked exclusively with Global Television since 2004.) Over the last 16 federal elections, the model has been accurate to an average of four seats per party. “The projection is only as accurate as the polls,” Kay says, adding that he uses a “bouillabaisse” of data from various reputable pollsters. “If the polls are off, then the projection is going to be off.” With the federal election and several provincial elections in 2011, Laurier’s Political Science department had over 300 calls from the media, and Kay himself fielded more than 150. He analysed the federal and Ontario elections using the regional swing seat model, and also ran Global’s decision desk, employing teams of Laurier students to call ridings as the actual numbers came in from polling stations. “It helps educate the community,” he says of his sideline in political fortune-telling. “But mainly it’s just kind of fun.” ❖

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cover story

Do Well Do Good

Michael Lee-Chin charts a bold course as Laurier’s new chancellor story by Nicholas Dinka | photography by Dean Palmer



itans of finance are not necessarily thought of as warm,

accessible individuals, but on a crisp fall day in late October Michael Lee-Chin was refusing to be typecast. That morning, Lee-Chin had been installed as Laurier’s new chancellor, after which he gave a rousing speech to the centennial graduating class. “Ships are safest in harbours, but they are not meant to be there,” he said, his voice resounding in the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex like an expertly played musical instrument. “They have to sail long and hard, and face many stormy seas, to reach the comfort of a desirable destination. Hence, progress requires us to take calculated risks and make bold moves.” Several members of his family sat beaming in the front row – his mother and stepfather had flown in from their home in Jamaica to attend the event — and after the ceremony they were ushered out for a luncheon with university officials. Time was short, but Lee-Chin stopped for several minutes to mingle with the new grads and their families. He chatted and posed for photos, his infectious laugh resounding in the narrow hallway. Although he was dressed for the occasion — in a tailored suit and gold-hued tie — his manner was easy-going and warm. In short, he fit right in. Michael Lee-Chin is hardly an “average guy,” but his relaxed demeanour can belie his achievements. “Do well and do good” is the essence of his company’s Latin motto, prosperitas cum caritate, and it’s more than just a slogan. An investor and businessman, he is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Canadian history, and has frequently been featured on Forbes magazine’s annual list of billionaires. Through his businesses and private philanthropy, Lee-Chin has contributed tens of millions of dollars to a wide range of causes from hurricane relief to health care. He has given financial support to thousands of students, and is often noted for his 2003 donation of $30 million to the Royal Ontario Museum for its renovation by the acclaimed architect Daniel Libeskind. According to Laurier’s senior leaders, his accomplishments and international outlook make him an ideal fit for the university at a time of global change. “Michael Lee-Chin epitomizes Laurier’s institutional proposition of inspiring lives of leadership and purpose,” says Max Blouw, the university’s president and vice-chancellor. “He is an ideal choice for this key role as the university celebrates its centennial and lays the groundwork for a bold and influential second century.”


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ee-chin, whose parents were each of mixed

Chinese and Jamaican descent, stands 6’4” tall, with a swimmer’s lean physique. Given his impeccable dress and manners, one might assume that he’s the product of privilege, but in fact his roots are humble. Born in 1951 to a teenaged single mother — herself an orphan — he grew up in Port Antonio, Jamaica, population 8,000. Raised by his mother, Hyacinth, who was a bookkeeper, and stepfather, Vincent Chen, who ran a grocery store, he was the eldest of nine children. There were 120 kids in his class at school. The classroom was divided in half with the “smart” kids on the left and the rest on the right. Lee-Chin was big for his age and his teacher assumed that meant he was “dense.” He was assigned to the right. But there were items on the other side of Lee-Chin’s balance sheet, too. “My parents worked for 29 years without as much as one week’s vacation,” he says. “The furtherance of their children — that was their purpose.” They pushed young Michael to reach for the top, and at the grocery store he got to observe the wellheeled North Americans who sometimes came in when cruise ships were in port. (Later, as a teenager, he worked as a bellboy on such a ship, owned by Canada’s Weston family.) “We certainly encouraged him,” says Vincent. “But I have to admit that he always had a drive of his own, a drive to succeed. That was the type of person he was from the beginning.” One important early success came when he defied his teacher’s assessment of him. Out of the 120 students in his class, he was one of only two to pass the entrance exam for high school and was subsequently awarded a full scholarship to attend high school in his home town. With a knack for math and science, he excelled at the school, and a few years later he was accepted into the civil engineering program at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. On his first day at McMaster, the dean of engineering came to his class and gave the standard first-day-of-engineering speech: “Look to your left. Look to your right. At graduation time, only one of the three of you will be here.” Many young students would have been anxious, but Lee-Chin was in heaven. “He defined the standards: ‘What do I have to achieve? Thank you, sir’.”

“We are at the nexus”: Lee-Chin at his Burlington, Ont. headquarters, a quiet, art-filled space overlooking one of Ontario’s busiest transportation corridors. oday, lee-chin’s headquarters are located in

Burlington, Ontario, about a dozen kilometres from McMaster — and in another world. His wood-panelled executive suite is filled with art: bronze sculptures, shelves of antiquarian books, and paintings on every wall. A large sculpture of a bristling polar bear and her cub, by Winnipeg artist Leo Mol, stands in the foyer, as if to ward off timid investors. The atmosphere is quiet and studious, but the view through floor-to-ceiling windows is of the confluence of several major highways, a juxtaposition that Lee-Chin seems to enjoy. “Central and southwestern Ontario are an epicentre of economic activity, social activity, cultural activity,” he says. “And it so happens that, coincidentally, this building is located at the second-busiest intersection in Ontario. We are at the nexus.” Lee-Chin graduated from McMaster in 1974. His journey to “the nexus” began a couple of years later, when he returned to Canada after a stint working in Jamaica as a highway engineer. He couldn’t find work in his field, but managed to land a job as a financial advisor with mutual fund company Investors Group (he had two other offers: driving a truck and selling soap). “It was by default, not by design, that I ended up in financial services,” Lee-Chin says. “But I decided that if I’m going to be a financial advisor, I’m going to put the pedal to the metal. I’m going to be bold.” Ever the eager student, he buried himself in books, reading up on Warren Buffet and Benjamin

Graham, legendary value investors who bought into underappreciated companies with good earnings, often holding those companies for the long term. He knocked on doors to find clients, put in long hours at the office, and became a branch manager. It might have been a solid, workaday career, but the sleepy mutual fund industry was on the cusp of a boom. The timing was a stroke of luck, but it took more than luck to spot the trend and capitalize on it.

“I decided that if I’m going to be a financial advisor, I’m going to put the pedal to the metal. I’m going to be bold.” In 1983, Lee-Chin bought stock in Mackenzie Financial, an up-and-coming mutual fund manager. “In 1983, I bought Mackenzie with borrowed money, $500,000, at the equivalent of one dollar per share,” he says, still sounding amazed. “By October of 1987, that $1 stock had increased to $7, so $500,000 became $3.5 million in four years.” For many young investors, it would have been the deal of a lifetime, but the 32-year-old Lee-Chin didn’t stop for breath. He turned around and used the money to buy a small Kitchener-based investment firm called AIC Limited, and started growing it into something

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Clockwise from left: Lee-Chin with Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton and investor Warren Buffet, an early influence. Photos courtesy of Michael Lee-Chin.

much larger: the Berkshire Group, a diversified cluster of financial services companies named in honour of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway organization. In 1990, he had $8 million of investments under management. A mere eight years later, that figure was nearly $8 billion. kimming a list of lee-chin’s accomplishments,

one might conclude that his career has been an unbroken series of triumphs. But there were plenty of challenges along the way, and when asked about his successes, he often winds up discussing setbacks instead. He nearly lost everything in the recession of the late 1980s, and a decade later the mutual funds he ran went out of fashion as his investments in banks and wealth management companies began to seem passé amid the dot-com craziness. The Globe and Mail published a damning article predicting his demise, but Lee-Chin hung on, and a few months later the tech bubble imploded — proving that he’d been right to stay on the sidelines. Lee-Chin had his ups and downs in the 2000s too, but on the whole it was a time of success and consolidation. In the immediate aftermath of the dot-com crash, the solid, cash-generating businesses he specialized in skyrocketed in value, his fortunes with them. Back on his feet, he renewed his philanthropic work. In 2001, he made a high-profile donation to


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McMaster for the establishment of the AIC Institute of Strategic Business Studies at the Degroote School of Business. That year, he also joined the board of the Royal Ontario Museum foundation, preparing the way for his $30-million donation for the museum’s expansion in 2003. Hilary Weston, whose family had once employed Lee-Chin as a ship’s bellboy, recently told journalist Madeline Stephenson how she convinced him to donate to the ROM expansion. “You belong to a new generation of people who came from different parts of the world to settle in Canada, and you have had great success,” Weston said. “You are an iconic figure and an example for future generations. My family represents history, but your family is about the future of Canada.” Lee-Chin was also active on the business front during this period, and made several new investments in the Caribbean, culminating in the purchase of 75 per cent of the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica — the country’s largest financial institution — from the government. He signed the cheque at the offices of the Minister of Finance of Jamaica, on March 19, 2002. “My family was there, my mom, my siblings, my dad,” he says. “And just before writing the cheque I asked myself, how can the son of an orphan now be writing a cheque to take over this bank? In less than a lifetime, how is it possible?” It’s a good question, and on the one hand, it’s clear that Lee-Chin’s success — his ability to “do well”

— is a function of his hard work, ability and strategic approach. Independent analysis and reasoning from first principles are central to the latter, say his colleagues. “Michael is always trying to ensure that his analyses are fact-based and data-driven, that he has a competently derived hypothesis,” says Patrick Hylton, group managing director of the National Commercial Bank, who has worked closely with Lee-Chin since 2003. “He’s able to separate analysis from emotion, understand the issues and come to a rational conclusion.” But analysis is only half the battle. Hylton notes one of Lee-Chin’s favourite quotations, from former U.S. president Calvin Coolidge, to sum up the next phase: “Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” “Michael knows how to overcome obstacles,” Hylton says. “What is the way around the obstacle? Over the obstacle, under the obstacle, through the obstacle? You do whatever it takes.” When under pressure, Lee-Chin says he reviews the reasoning that led him to get into an investment in the first place. If it holds up, he’ll hang in. He also mentions a lesson he learned when he took car-racing lessons at a track near Kingston, Ontario in the late 1990s. “Once you have alighted from the corner, drop it, look towards the next corner,” he says. “It’s tough, because we are always going to have emotion overhanging. But drop it, because you are going to screw up what’s ahead of you.”

His approach has served him well, but Lee-Chin argues that the real key to his success lies elsewhere, something he says he sensed immediately after asking himself, on the day he bought the National Commercial Bank, how he’d come so far. “The answer came immediately back to me: it’s possible for many reasons I had nothing to do with.” He goes on to list a series of “statistical improbabilities” that have aided him over the years: he had hardworking parents who led by example; he was born at a moment when people of colour had the opportunity to succeed; he was offered a job in financial services at a great time in the industry; he had various struggling investments turn around at the last moment, and so on. This realization — a mixture of poetic epiphany and dispassionate analysis that seems characteristic of the man — has been central to his philanthropic work, to his desire to “do good.” “My conclusion is that those of us who are in a position to help should do so, because our success isn’t only a function of our efforts.” he night after laurier’s fall convocation, the

university held its last major centennial event, a big gala at Bingemans in Kitchener. More than 600 guests came out for an evening of musical performances, video vignettes on the university’s history, and periodic addresses by “Sir Wilfrid Laurier” himself. As the event opened, Lee-Chin, dressed in a crisp white blazer, stood in the entryway and greeted guests.

From left: Lee-Chin and his companies have supported thousands of students; the Michael Lee-Chin crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum. Photos courtesy of Michael Lee-Chin.

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“Progress requires us to take calculated risks and make bold moves”: Lee-Chin is installed as Laurier’s new chancellor on Oct. 28, 2011. Photos: Tomasz Adamski

Later on, he was formally introduced by President Max Blouw, and gave a speech on his hopes for the university at the dawn of its second century. His family was in the audience again, his adult sons Paul and Adrian standing front and centre as he spoke. “To compete in this global environment, one has to be very bold,” Lee-Chin said, then quoted architect Daniel Burnham. “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.” He went on to recount a recent meeting with some senior business leaders in India. Chatting with them, he’d been struck by how much he and they had in common, having grown up in developing countries. “If I was born in Waterloo, went to kindergarten in Waterloo, was public-schooled in Waterloo, highschooled in Waterloo, went to university in Waterloo, would I be as comfortable?” he had wondered. The question was key, he said, because developing countries are so important now. “My vision for my contribution for the next four years as chancellor was realized at that moment. My goal is to inspire every single graduate from Laurier to become a true global citizen.” In 2009, Lee-Chin made the difficult decision to sell AIC Limited, his first acquisition, amid a tough economy. But at age 60, he is still “putting the pedal to the metal” every day. On the philanthropic front, he’s been building up the National Commercial Bank’s foundation, tailoring it to educational giving


LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12

— mentorships, scholarships, book grants, and special programs designed to build quantitative skills. (He also frequently speaks to groups of students, urging them to work hard and dream big.) On the business side, he is chairman of Portland Holdings, which manages public and private equity and owns a range of businesses in the telecommunications, financial services, media, waste management and other sectors. His business focus these days, as his remarks at the gala suggest, is on developing countries, which he says have the kind of long-term growth profile that makes a value investor swoon. They also offer huge opportunities to “do good” (for example, via an Indian company he’s currently entranced with, which diverts waste from landfills and converts it into organic fertilizer and green-fuel briquettes). Lee-Chin also sees a positive trajectory for Laurier as it embarks on its second century — and given his knack with predictions, that bodes well for the university. It’s impossible to know exactly what the future will bring, of course, but one thing seems certain: our new chancellor will not be taking his foot off the gas any time soon. “From our work you don’t get arthritis, you don’t get bum knees,” he says. “So for as long as I can, I’ll continue on that circle of doing whatever I can to do well, doing whatever I can to ensure we do good. When we’re passionate about what we’re doing, we’re having fun. It’s not even work.” ❖

T h e L a u rier v is u al i d entity re v iew

Laurier turns over a new leaf in many ways,

2011 has been a year of looking back for Laurier as our community came together to celebrate the university’s centennial. But in the past year we have also been turning toward the future, and to the question of how we want to present ourselves to the world in our second century. It is in this spirit that the university is launching a refreshed visual identity, including a subtly refined seal and a new wordmark designed to appear on stationery, buildings, web pages, publications, and everywhere else the Laurier name appears. The university’s year-long centennial celebrations have involved people from throughout our community, including

current students, professors, staff and alumni. So has the review behind the new visual identity, developed by design agency Scott Thornley + Company (STC). In February 2011, Laurier and STC began a process of discussion and consultation that involved input sessions with each of the four above-mentioned groups. Comments were also solicited online. And after the proposed designs were finished, the input groups were invited to reconvene in “circle-back sessions” for further discussion. We’re grateful to the many alumni who joined in. Your candor, pride and engagement were instructive and inspiring. It was a complex and challenging process, but we’re proud of the result.

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T h e L a u rier v is u al i d entity re v iew

Why a leaf? At the heart of it, this national symbol honours our namesake, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, seventh prime minister of Canada. That alone is a unique claim among Canadian universities. But look closely. Laurier’s maple leaf is a microcosm of connectivity and support — every vein contributing to the health of the whole. The beauty and simplicity of the maple leaf can only be realized through this common purpose of nature. And so it is at Laurier — faculty, staff, students and alumni committed to a common vision: to inspire lives of leadership and purpose. until recently, many universities used serif fonts

meant to evoke ivy-covered buildings and ancient traditions, but in the last few decades many leading schools around the world have adopted bold, sans-serif wordmarks that convey clarity of purpose and an innovative stance. The new Laurier mark is built around a sans-serif typeface from the Calluna family, a crisp, contemporary font that has its roots in mid-20th-century design, during the era when Laurier was coming into its own. The mark has three colour options, each of which is considered equal in status to the other two. Purple

and gold are Laurier’s well-loved team colours. Red is a traditional Laurier colour as well (it has been used on various university crests, seals and logos over the years) and underscores our proud Canadian heritage. The logo’s tagline is a reference to the university’s “institutional proposition,” inspiring lives of leadership and purpose, which was developed during the planning process known as Envisioning Laurier that began in 2007. “Using ‘inspiring lives’ with the wordmark, and the subtle exclamation point formed by the period and stem of the leaf, supports the heart of Laurier that should, and will, endure,” says Scott Thornley.

For more information on the visual identity review process and on the history of the Laurier identity over the years, visit


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T h e L a u rier v is u al i d entity re v iew

Refinement of the Laurier seal The university’s official seal, developed in 1989, has been given a subtle makeover in concert with the design of the new wordmark. “The seal is simply a refinement, both for readability at different sizes and to increase its elegance,” says Scott Thornley. “Now that it has been refined, it can be used more powerfully.”

What’s next? once upon a time, laurier was synonymous with

the Waterloo campus, but today the university encompasses several locations — in Waterloo, Brantford, Kitchener and Toronto. In place of separate logos for each, the wordmark includes a system for identifying Laurier locations and highlighting individual ones where appropriate. “Properly reflecting the multi-campus nature of the institution was a key goal when we undertook this process,” says Jacqui Tam, Laurier’s assistant vice-president: Communications, Public Affairs and Marketing. “The new wordmark democratizes Laurier’s campuses, making each an equal expression of the Laurier ethos.” Rolling out the new identity across thousands of different applications is going to take some time, of course, but you will begin seeing it in January 2012 as Laurier’s second century begins. ❖

But what about the Golden Hawk? The Laurier Golden Hawk is a proud and distinct emblem of the university’s school spirit. Students avoid stepping

on the large Hawk seal on the floor of the Fred Nichols Building on the Waterloo campus and, in a similar fashion, the Golden Hawk was untouched in the review.

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What will Laurier’s next 100 years bring?

Planning today will help future generations tomorrow. In 100 years, what will your legacy be? Ignite the minds, spirits and hearts of our communities for the next 100 years by leaving a charitable bequest in your will. Contact Cec Joyal, Development Officer, Individual & Legacy Giving, to find out how: or 519-884-0710 ext. 3864.




years I N 3 6 5 D AY S

It’s hard to truly do justice to a hundred-year history in a mere 365 days, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t go all out with a full slate of parties, conferences, readings, concerts, statue unveilings, commemorative plantings, chess matches, doughnut chow-downs, writing contests and more. In the pages that follow, we take a look back in photos at some great moments from our centennial year. words by Sandra Muir and Mallory O’Brien

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Laurier’s centennial website, LAURIER100.CA will stay active as a memoir of the year. Check it out to see more photos and relive more of the memories! 4


1,2: Students show their pride; staff and faculty browse historic photos of Laurier during the centennial kick-off celebration. Waterloo, Oct. 18, 2010; Brantford, Oct. 20, 2010.

5: Alumna and soprano Jane Archibald wows the crowd at one of two concerts that took place the final weekend of Laurier’s centennial celebrations. Waterloo, October 2011.

3: Laurier President and Vice-Chancellor Max Blouw drops the puck at the 2011 CIS women’s hockey championships. Waterloo, March 10-13, 2011.

6: International experts on the United Nations system convened at Laurier to discuss the future of multilateralism. Waterloo, June 2-4, 2011.

4: International chess Grandmaster Mark Bluvshtein simultaneously plays (and defeats) 30 people from the Laurier community. Waterloo, March 30, 2011.

C e l e b r a t e d i n B r o n z e : Creating Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s Statue

The head is sculpted out of clay.


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The hands are attached to the body of the statue.

Marlene Hilton Moore visits campus to fine-tune the placement of the statue, using a wooden mock-up of the bench.








7: Anna Esselment from the University of Waterloo participates in a debate during the Canadian Political Science Association’s national conference. Waterloo, May 16-18, 2011.

11: Actors bring the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary’s history to life in the musical play Remembering for the Future. Waterloo, Nov. 5-6, 2010.

8, 9: Students give the thumbs up at a centennial-themed ceremony at spring convocation. Brantford, June 21-22, 2011; Waterloo, June 6-10, 2011.

12: Lise Pedersen of Laurier International and Adam Lawrence of the Diversity and Equity office at the opening of the university’s Hall of Nations. Waterloo, Oct. 27, 2010.

10: Students, alumni and community singers perform Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespro Della Beata Vergine. Kerry Roebuck’s centennial fanfare also debuts. Kitchener, Feb. 13, 2011.

13: Students with Opera Laurier put on an Inuit-themed rendition of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Waterloo, March 4-6, 2011; Brantford, March 11, 2011.

At the beginning of the centennial year, three artists presented five concepts for a bronze statue of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. The Laurier community strongly connected with artist Marlene Hilton Moore’s concept of a young, seated Sir Laurier. Hilton Moore worked throughout the centennial year to create the statue, which was unveiled in the Waterloo campus quad Oct. 18, 2011.

The sculpted head is fastened to the body and sent to the foundry where it will be cast in bronze.

Laurier President Max Blouw congratulates Hilton Moore at the statue unveiling.

A concerned member of the university ensures Sir Wilfrid Laurier is protected against the chilly October weather.

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2 5



1: 100 of Laurier’s most exceptional alumni are recognized at the Centennial Alumni Celebration dinner. Waterloo, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011. 2: Students get into the spirit of the day as Laurier Brantford celebrates 3rd Annual Homecoming. Brantford, Sept. 24, 2011. 3: Aspiring authors attend the Centennial Drabble Contest celebration event, which honoured the winners of the writing contest. Waterloo, Sept. 29, 2011.

4: Author and Laurier alumnus Andrew Thomson reads from Leadership and Purpose: A History of Wilfrid Laurier University during an event that launched the book and unveiled the university’s new visual identity. Waterloo and Brantford, Oct. 21, 2011. 5: Sir Wilfrid himself and revellers enjoy “Ahead by a Century,” the capstone event to Laurier’s 100th anniversary celebrations. Kitchener, Oct. 29, 2011. 6: The Kitchener Horticultural Society created the Laurier seal with plants at Rockway Gardens. Kitchener, summer 2011.

F a c e s a t L a u r i e r : Guest speakers during the centennial year

Sept. 22, 2011 | Waterloo The Hon. Bob Rae delivers a centennial lecture entitled “100 Years after Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier: Canada’s Political Landscape.”


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March 15, 2011 | Brantford Cathy Crowe, activist for the homeless and co-founder of the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, speaks about her work.

Oct. 18, 2011 | Kitchener Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor delivers her talk “How to Get Your Brain to Do What You Want It to Do” to a sold out crowd.




Twenty-seven centennial banners were installed on the Waterloo and Brantford campuses, and at the Toronto office. The tallest banner (on the King St. Residence building in Waterloo) is 22 metres high. 12 9



7: Helen Waldstein Wilkes discusses her book, Letters from the Lost: A Memoir of Discovery, at the ceremony for the 2011 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. Waterloo, Oct. 4, 2011.

10: The Wilfrid Laurier Retirees’ Association launches the book I Remember Laurier, Reflections by Retirees on Life at WLU. Waterloo, Oct. 13, 2011.

8: Laurier Brantford gets a centennial makeover. Brantford, January 2011.

11: The Ontario Heritage Trust awards Laurier a heritage plaque to commemorate the university’s centennial and history. Waterloo, Sept. 23, 2011.

9: The crowd roars at the annual football game during this year’s Homecoming: “Soaring for a Century.” Waterloo, Sept. 3 to Oct. 2, 2011.

12: Cel-O-Brate! The centennial edition of orientation week also marked the 50th anniversary of Shinerama. Waterloo, Sept. 4-10, 2011.

Many renowned individuals visited Laurier during the centennial year to contribute to the university’s celebrations. These are just a few.

Oct. 13, 2011 | Brantford Journalist Gwynne Dyer visits Laurier as the final speaker in Laurier’s “Lives of Leadership and Purpose” centennial speaker series.

March 16, 2011 | Waterloo Laurier alumnus and Hollywood producer Chuck Tatham shares his entertaining experiences in the industry.

Feb. 9, 2011 | Waterloo Paul Heinbecker, director of the Laurier Centre for Global Relations, speaks at “A Celebration of Laurier Authors.”

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Drabble The Laurier

Drab´ble (n.) • In creative writing, a drabble is a work of prose fiction exactly 100 words long. A drabble, although extremely short on words, must be a complete story that contains a beginning, middle and ending. 2011, as part of the university’s 100th anniversary celebrations, Laurier launched n the spring of

the “100 Words” Centennial Drabble Contest. Participants were asked to write a fiction story exactly 100 words in length — a format known in the science fiction community as a “drabble” — that explored one of three topics: “inspiration,” “leadership” or “purpose.” By the time the contest closed, more than 200 entries from alumni, staff, faculty, students and community members were received. Associate English Professor Tamas Dobozy, WLU Press Director Brian Henderson and Associate English Professor Tanis MacDonald judged the contest. The winners were celebrated at an event on Sept. 29. “We were pleased to discover the variety of approaches that writers took to the challenge of composing a drabble; the stringency of that 100-word limit forced the writers to sharpen their diction and focus their intent,” says MacDonald. “The entries explored a range of topics in each of the assigned categories, and the winners all showed their ability to adhere to form while demonstrating innovative or strikingly original use of language.” Including the winning drabbles, 48 entries were published in an official keepsake book that is available through the Laurier Bookstores. ❖


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contest winners

O verall winner

dnarz Piece by Emily Be

tiful things of the most beau Get an idea. One ange ch : a van and SUV I have ever seen ,a on iti . A smooth trans lanes in tandem Things . ay w n across the high sweep of motio orning, m ay sd r all. Wedne te af er th ge to e mov anagement ersity – waste m iv un a of ts gu the r, shining ffee to each othe workers bring co elve sh ary assistants spring light. Libr llen grey su ed by number, books only nam d disposian e of various hu clouds. Students still in s, pu stretch the cam tion trudge and et or ns su or g for daylight darkness, lookin g the on al g in rricane. Balanc raincloud or hu to g in pt m te farmhouse, at ridgepole of the ervane. reach the weath

“ L eadership ” category winner

Leap of Faith by Brian

Gabriel Smith

“Awrrright! Who’s with me?”

One lemming cleare d his throat. “Gee, Frank, it’s… pretty far down.” Frank pointed his tin y paw skyward. “You think that crow’s thi nking, Boo-hoo, it’s so far down!”

Heads shook, no.

“Know why?”

“Cos he’s a bird?”

“ I nspiration ” category winner

Laurifer by Eileen M orouney

How she dreaded the encounter. She’d endured 1,285 kilom etres of trepidation accompanied by humming rubber. She would never be free of his relentless demands and threats – a meeting to nego tiate, he’d said. Last week a process serve r had materialized wi th a gift from the Ha lls of Justice, resplendent with stamps, seals an d fancy signatures. The crumbling front steps looked complet ely unchanged. A cold sw eat broke as she ran g the bell and listened . A rusty spade, jagge d edges encrusted with dirt, was propped by the door. As it open ed, she swung with all her might. The drive home would be bette r.

“ P urpose ”



icholas Dinka Peach Tree by N

tree, and e stood a peach At roadside ther past cli day while cy ng one fine summer m fro it to pluck ripe fru he reached out in, he ch s hi n abbling dow branch. Juices dr gained ’d he t Bu one-handed. crested hilltop, n sig p sto a and missed excessive speed, m the fro g in pp ck fingers sli sli n, w do g in m co nt to administer e paramedic be th n he W e. ak br sted nectar idened as she ta CPR, her eyes w landed n, te peach, half-ea on his lips. The dured en it ts, clean by an roadside; picked me a tree. ca be , ld , heat and co ow sn d an d in w n with its branches, lade On summer days g. in on ck the road, be fruit, overhung

“But not a chicken!” Frank clarified. The troublemaker pe eked over the edge. “It’s just… all those little carcasses down there.”

Staring down the cro wd, Frank spoke so ftly. “You wanna sit here forever overthinkin g this, fine! I’ll send yo u a postcard from the stars!” That pride felt while plunging earthward , surrounded by the oth ers’ screams – it gave Frank wings. Metap horically speaking, of course. Final published book containing all 48 winning entries. Shown above are the four category-winning entries.

keepingin touch

Photo: Dean Palmer

Story by Sandra Muir

As a student at Laurier, Ryan Smolkin was always covering Kraft Dinner or Hamburger Helper with sausage, bacon and mushrooms. Today he applies the same type of creative decadence to french fries as the owner of Smoke’s Poutinerie, a growing dynasty of gravy and squeaky cheese curds he plans to take global.


LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12

Keeping in touch

Smolkin (BBA ‘95) has brought his chicken curry,

nacho grande and triple-pork poutine creations to more than 20 Canadian cities since the first Smoke’s Poutinerie opened in Toronto in November 2008. Another 15 franchises will open across Canada over the next year, and his plan is to expand into the United States soon after, followed by the United Kingdom, Australia and eventually Asia. “I plan on going hard for the next few years,” said Smolkin, who typically works 100-hour weeks managing the growing franchise. “Global domination, that’s what it’s all about.” Dressed in red plaid sneakers and blue jeans, Smolkin doesn’t look like a stereotypical business owner, but don’t let that fool you. Smoke’s Poutinerie is the third business success story for this 38-year-old entrepreneur. “The thought of taking an idea off paper and turning it into a physical presence, that’s what charges me,” says Smolkin. “Honestly, it’s all about growing something from nothing.” This entrepreneurial drive may also be in his genes. Smolkin is a fourth-generation small-business owner. His great-grandparents started Smolkin’s Menswear in the Ottawa Valley in 1921. The business was passed down from his grandfather to his father, and from his father to his brother. But Ryan was intrigued by the idea of starting something from scratch, and in 1994, during his third year in Laurier’s Bachelor of Business Administration program, he purchased 181 Albert St. and became a property manager. His business eventually peaked at 13 properties and over 100 beds. Smolkin sold out in 2004 for $4 million. “At the time, it was more just to pack all my friends into a cool pad and make enough money to cover my mortgage and taxes and get free rent,” he says. “But then I started to realize I could make money, so I started reinvesting the capital.” After graduation, Smolkin started a branding and design company called Amoeba Corp. By the time he sold that company in 2007, he was managing top brands such as YTV, Molson, Maple Leaf Sports and Nike. Smolkin says he enjoyed the work but found

the industry as a whole too self-consciously hip and trend-obsessed. Following the sale of Amoeba Corp., he took some time off to spend with his wife and twin sons, but soon he felt the “itch” to start another business. “I knew if I could ever combine my two passions of food and business into one, I would do it for the rest of my life. That’s where Smoke’s Poutinerie came from.” Three years in, Smolkin continues to execute a plan that includes a specific strategy of placing stores within a certain radius of universities where ravenous students can easily get their poutine fix. Then there’s the mysterious Smoke, the face behind the franchise who appears on t-shirts and stickers. Ask Smolkin who he is and you’ll hear a story about a mythical ‘80s dude who dreams up mouth-watering concoctions when he’s not watching the A-team on his VHS or playing Frogger on Atari. Smoke, despite not existing, actually became the most popular person tweeted in Canada the day after the opening of Smoke’s Poutinerie in Winnipeg last summer. The same store opening was also the top tweeted trend in the country. That’s not too surprising given that Smolkin’s advertising strategy is built around social media, where he figures the majority of his young customers get their info. All of these ingredients are part of a recipe for success that includes big helpings of hard work. The sacrifice that hard work entails is something that all entrepreneurs need to understand to be successful, says Smolkin. “If you start a business and think you’re going to run your own show, make your own hours and just sit back and count your money, you couldn’t be more off base,” says Smolkin. “You’re working 80-100 hour weeks and you’re not making a penny, potentially for years.” But for Smolkin, the payoff has always been his passion for business. It may be in his genes, but it’s also something that he cultivated at Laurier. “Everything I learned at Laurier goes back to the success of my business,” says Smolkin. “I put that all back to Laurier.”

“The thought of taking an idea off paper and turning it into a physical presence, that’s what charges me.“ For more information on Ryan Smolkin, check out his video profile on Laurier’s YouTube channel:

LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12


Keeping in touch

In his own words Jim Playford: Ice Man In 2009, the City of Waterloo ran out of money for its proposed outdoor rink in Waterloo Square. With the project in limbo,

local accountant Jim Playford (BBA ‘72) went in for the save. I first learned about the struggles with the Waterloo Square rink in the Waterloo Chronicle newspaper, back in early 2009. The city had made a seven-figure investment in planning the rink and laying down a network of cooling pipes, but then they decided that they couldn’t afford to finish it. The paper pointed out that we only needed about $250,000 — for the boards, compressor, hydro upgrades and so forth — and I thought it would be doable to raise that amount. It was something that would promote physical activity and bring people into uptown Waterloo, so it was worth a try. My first step was to go down to City Hall to meet the architect, and she showed me pictures of how it might look. They were fantastic, and I was sufficiently encouraged that in the spring when I went on a golfing trip with my buddies, I tried to sell them on


a fundraising campaign. Lo and behold, they bought in. One of our first calls went to the Kitchener Rangers hockey team, and they gave us a lot of encouragement at the beginning, which was a big help. After that it was just grinding it out, making calls and going to meetings. It was summer and people were away or not thinking about skating, so that was a challenge. Then around Labour Day we went to a council meeting, and the budget for the project had suddenly gone way up — they said that unless we had $395,000 by Oct. 19, we’d be in trouble. Everyone went out and worked hard, but we got to where we just couldn’t raise any more money, and we still only had around $245,000. I was pulling my hair out a little bit, but then Ian McLean from our finance committee sent me an email saying “I think I’ve found somebody.” It was



Ward Kaiser (BA ‘45) will deliver the 2012 Amy Lecture at Otterbein University/Church of the Master in Westerville, Ohio, in February. The annual lecture series honours another Laurier graduate, the late Dr. William O. Amy, professor of World Religions at the University, and his wife, Flo Amy. Kaiser’s next book, How Maps Change Things: A Conversation about the Maps We Choose and the World We Want, will be published by ODT Inc. It will appear first in ebook format, then as a “regular” book early in 2012.

Bill McLeod (BBA ‘64) has just published Chapleau: Retrospective on Life in an Isolated Northern Community, the third in a series he has written about the community and surrounding area where he grew up. Details on McLeod’s books can be obtained by contacting him at

LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12

1980s Sean Forrester (BBA ‘87) has joined Brazilian steelmaker Gerdau S.A. as executive IT director.

the Cowan Foundation, and they agreed to donate $150,000 to get us over the finish line. There were big smiles on everybody’s faces. Now we knew we could do it. The rink opened on Dec. 20, 2009, and I was there for the first skate with my wife and sons Jeff and Michael, both Laurier grads, and about 300 other people. Since then it’s become a real focal point for the neighbourhood. The Olympic torch relay met there in 2010, and people are skating on it at all hours — kids, families, students. It’s designed to be good for 40 years, and I’m hoping I’ll be healthy enough to skate 20 of those years myself. This August, the city put up a plaque thanking the major donors. It’s a great tribute, but I want to stress that this was a total community effort. Without the countless individuals who volunteered or donated, we never would have made it.

Sean and his wife, Joy, live in Toledo, Ohio, and have two children, Kyle, 19, who is studying business administration at Ohio State University, and Laura, 16.

1990s Brad Morris (BA ’93) and Olympic gold medallist Cheryl Pounder (BA ‘00) have joined the board of directors of the Ladies First Hockey Foundation of Canada. The foundation supports the Canadian National/Olympic Women’s Hockey Team and Development Program.

Keeping in touch Martin Beckmann (BA ‘95) is assistant professor of classics at McMaster University. His book The Column of Marcus Aurelius: The Genesis and Meaning of a Roman Imperial Monument was pubished in 2011 by the University of North Carolina Press. Michael Ungar (PhD Social Work, ’95) has released a novel, The Social Worker. Although he is well-known for his non-fiction books on parenting, counselling and social work, Ungar loves to write fiction and has had short stories published. He won the $10,000 first prize in the Toronto Star short story contest in 2003. Satyama Dawn Lasby (BA ‘96) left her career as general manager of the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce three years ago, and has been travelling the world, teaching yoga and discovering what life really means through meditation. She continues to use Vernon as her home base. She can be reached at satyama@ Rob Manger (BBA ’96) is pleased to announce the birth of his second child, Atticus (Robert Clark Atticus Manger), with Shaelynne Porter.

Shawna (Butler) Potje (BA ‘97) has been an elementary teacher with Simcoe County District School Board since 1999. She is pleased to announce the publication of her juvenile novel The Courage to Try, which comes with an accompanying cross-curricular teacher resource. Her goal is to help students understand the importance of Terry Fox’s legacy and to encourage them to find the courage to pursue the path in life that inspires them. For more details, visit

2000s In spring 2011, Melissa (MacDonald) Sky (MA ‘01) won the 24-Hour Film Challenge Award for her six-minute film Longing. It was screened earlier this year at the Registry Theatre as part of Waterloo Region’s Local Focus Film Festival.

Meditation on Jerusalem, which is available from iTunes, as well as his website Ewa Kakol (BA ‘04), who majored in culture and communication studies with a German studies minor, is currently working as a marketing specialist in her parents’ hotel, Kozi Grod, in the north of Poland. The hotel’s website is Lacadia Meyler (BA ‘10) began a master’s program in crime science at University College London, and has been awarded the university’s Department of Security and Crime Science Scholarship. She attributes her success to the excellence of her Laurier education and the support of her Laurier professors.

In memoriam

Timothy Pettipiece (MA ‘02) finished his PhD in sciences des religions at Université Laval in 2006 and now divides his time between teaching at Carleton University, the University of Ottawa and Saint-Paul University. He published his first book, Pentadic Redaction in the Manichaean Kephalaia, in 2009 with Brill Publishers and recently released an album of experimental ambient music called Hierosolyma: A Musical

Michael James Stearns (BBA ‘05) died on Oct. 28, 2010, in London, Ont. He had been employed at BMW London since graduating in 2005. Michael will be lovingly remembered by his parents, Barry and Joan Stearns, his brother Brian, his extended family and many friends.

2 0 1 2 The Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni

Alumnus/Alumna of the Year

Hoffmann-Little Award for Faculty

Recognizes outstanding achievement by a Laurier graduate.

Recognizes teaching excellence by a Laurier faculty member.

Honorary Alumnus/Alumna

Faculty Mentoring Award

Recognizes friends of Laurier whose contributions enhance both the university and outside communities.

Recognizes a Laurier faculty member for outstanding mentorship and support to students.

Schaus Award for Staff

Young Alumnus/Alumna of the Year

community at large.

Recognizes outstanding contribution by a member of Laurier’s administrative staff.

Recognizes outstanding achievement by a Laurier alumnus/ alumna who is 30 years of age or under.

If you know someone who

N O M I N AT I O N D E A D L I N E The closing date for 2012 Awards submissions is February 3, 2012.

Association (WLUAA) Awards of Excellence were established to honour alumni, faculty and staff who, through their actions and accomplishments, make a difference in the Laurier community and the

embodies the spirit of Laurier, nominate him or her for the WLUAA Awards of Excellence.

You can also call Alumni Relations at (519) 884-0710 ext. 3178 to learn more about the program. LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12


Keeping in touch

young Alumni

Don’t forget

ActingUp An actress since high school, Kristen Gutoskie (BA ’07) took time off to pursue her degree in Communication Studies at Laurier. While at the university, she still had a chance to use her creative talents by participating in Fashion ’n Motion and the Laurier Idol competition, which she won in her fourth year. Since graduating, she’s had recurring roles on the prime-time hits Being Erica and Rookie Blue and landed a lead role in Beaver Falls. She can also be spied in the Canadian film Moon Point. Why did you decide to get back into acting? I was returning from a Laurier International exchange in Australia and met a producer on the plane who reignited my passion. He told me ‘you’ll never know if you don’t try, so why not go for it? If acting is what makes you happy, why wouldn’t you do it? What are you afraid of?’ You could say acting took hold of me again, so when I returned from Australia, I updated my headshots and started training and auditioning again. I’m currently in Toronto, but I’ve started the visa process so I can work in Los Angeles. What would you consider your biggest “break?” Beaver Falls was kind of my ‘big break.’ It was shot in South Africa so it was also like a vacation. The show is about three Oxford Brookes University graduates who work at an American summer camp for rich California teens called Beaver Falls. It’s hilarious, and it was nice to work with good material – material


LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12

I actually enjoyed reading. Sometimes you have to do some not-so-great gigs just to build your resumé. What’s the hardest thing about the business? It’s cliché to say, but the rejection. It is difficult to get used to. The ups and downs, highs and lows are also tough. You have seven months straight of work and it feels like the work will never end, but then you have three months off and you have to find other things to occupy your time. The time in between jobs can be a bit rough if you don’t know what the next gig is. What was your first movie experience like? I was actually in another film before Moon Point, but my part ended up getting cut out, which was discouraging but part of the business. Moon Point was great because the director let us improvise a bit. I play the old school crush, who the lead male character goes on a journey to reunite with, and then – well, I can’t tell you what happens! You’ll have to watch the film. If you could work with any director, who would it be? I would love to do a Coen brothers film. They tend to use the same family of actors, and their films are brilliant! I would also love to work with fellow Canadian David Cronenberg and I’m a big fan of Woody Allen. I love comedy. It’s where my heart lives, but I often tend to land the ‘love interest’ role, the girl-next-door.

You only have until December 31ST DONATE TODAY to receive a 2011 charitable tax receipt

DISCOVER THE TAX BENEFIT of giving to Laurier:

CONTACT US with questions or for more information: 519-884-0710, ext. 2752

Put your family’s minds at ease.

Whatever the future brings, you can be prepared with Alumni Term Life Insurance. • Available exclusively to alumni at affordable rates. • Same great rates apply for spouses. • Choose from $35,000 to $770,000 in coverage. • Save 10% if you have $280,000 or more in coverage.

Visit to get a free quote, apply online, and learn about the other alumni insurance products available to you. Or call 1-888-913-6333 toll-free to speak to a licensed insurance advisor.



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CampusMag_OBC_4c_WLU1107 07/03/11 1:31 PM Page 1

100 years inspiring 100 years lives of leadership inspiring lives ofand leadership purpose. and purpose.

As Wilfrid Laurier University marks a century of progress and innovation, we also look ahead to the world’s new social, economic and environmental challenges. Our students, andand alumni tackle these issues as they always a community Atfaculty, Laurier,staff we live walkwill in the shadows of giants. Yet there arehave—as few opportunities to of integrated and engaged learners with increasing partnerships around the world. Inspired pause and acknowledge the journey of those who came before us. Or to celebrate the fact bywe those came before us, that we believe in the education and that toowho are casting shadows will shape thetransformative next century ofpower WilfridofLaurier University. research, and look forward towe a future full of promise. During 2011, wewe acknowledge and celebrate. Both what is past and what is to come.

1911-2011 | Wilfrid Laurier University | LAURIER100.CA

calendar of events

Mark your calendar For a complete list of events, tickets or more information, visit



Perfect Pairing: An evening of Food & Drink (K-W Chapter) Alumni Ski Day Jan. 27, 2012 Osler Bluffs, Collingwood ON

Feb. 24, 2012 Senate & Board Chamber, Waterloo campus A Kitchener-Waterloo Chapter favourite — join fellow alumni for an evening of delicious food and drink pairings, based on a theme.

Hit the slopes with Laurier alumni and friends!

Laurier Golf Classic May 29, 2012 Join fellow alumni at the Brantford Golf and Country

Calling all members from the Waterloo Class of 2007, 2002, 1997, 1992, 1987, 1982, 1972 and Brantford Class of 2007

Celebrate your 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th, 40th and 50th reunion!

Club for the 15th annual


golf classic. Proceeds will

choose your events, plan the celebration and

go to the Student Horizon Fund and the

contact your classmates!

Golden Hawk Scholarship Fund.

MBA information sessions Family Skate & Varsity Hockey (K-W Chapter) Jan. 28, 2012

To volunteer or for more information about getting involved, visit

May 31, 2012

Are you thinking about furthering your education with an MBA? Learn about Laurier’s MBA degree and the many flexible program

Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex

options. Free information sessions take place

A family favourite — join us for an afternoon

at the Waterloo and Toronto campuses.

skating party and great Laurier hockey action.

Visit for details.

Interested in planning a reunion not mentioned? We can help! Contact for more information

Get with the program! Update your profile. If you haven’t updated your alumni profile, here’s what you’ve been missing: • invitations to events and reunions • connect with former classmates • our online alumni newsletter, Alma Matters

E YOUR PROF ILE DAT UP for a chance to



Log on to and GET CONNECTED! LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12



Lucine Burch with her daughter, Ruth, at the seminary opening, 1911, and in inset photo.

Found in a photograph When it opened on Oct. 30, 1911, the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary of Canada was greeted with wild enthusiasm by the Waterloo community. Opening day was a huge event, with about 1,500 people attending the dedication ceremony at the original seminary building on Albert Street. A hundred years later, Laurier — which grew out of the seminary and its early experiments in university education — is celebrating once again. Throughout the centennial year, the above photograph was widely circulated, and happened to catch the attention of a local man named Roger Hill. Hill’s family has lived in the Waterloo area for generations, and it turns out that his grandmother, Lucine Burch, was in the crowd that day, with her two-month-old daughter, Ruth, in a baby carriage. At the age of 22, newly married and starting a family, Lucy (as she was known) was just setting out in life, much like the seminary itself. Laurier Archives welcomes donations of original photos of life at Laurier from any time period. To donate, please contact the Archives at or 519-884-0710 x3906.


LAURIER CAMPUS Winter 2011-12

Two years later, Lucy gave birth to Ellen Burch, who later married a Waterloo College grad named William Hill. Roger was their son and one of Lucy’s six grandchildren. He attended the university himself just long enough to witness its renaming from Waterloo Lutheran to Wilfrid Laurier, and worked for a time in financial services. Today he’s a sales representative at Twin City Auto Parts, an avid enthusiast of antique autos, and a proud grandfather. Sometimes when we look at old photographs they can seem like images of a foreign realm — a place with no connection to our world. But of course the past is the seed of the present, both for institutions like Laurier and for individuals like Roger Hill. Look closely, as Roger did. You might just see somebody you know.

Do you have a photo of your Laurier days? Email a high-resolution image to and it could appear in Flashback.

Winter 2011-12 Campus Magazine  

The Winter 2011-12 issue of Campus Magazine, Wilfrid Laurier University's alumni publication.

Winter 2011-12 Campus Magazine  

The Winter 2011-12 issue of Campus Magazine, Wilfrid Laurier University's alumni publication.