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president’s message

Laurier’s campuses are infused with “passion capital” There are times when something has become so ingrained in one’s identity, when something comes so naturally to a person or a group, that it is almost a surprise to be recognized for it. Such is the case when I learned that Laurier had once again been selected as a finalist in Canada’s Passion Capitalists awards. The concept of “passion capital” resonates deeply at Laurier. It is reflected in our vibrant sense of community, our highly engaged student body, and the enthusiastic commitment of our faculty and staff. Because it has been a central part of who we are as an institution for more than 100 years, it sometimes takes an outsider looking in to remind us that such passion is both rare and valuable. Laurier is unique; our passion capital is a defining quality, and it is indeed worthy of recognition. Canada’s Passion Capitalists is a national award program that was inspired by the book Passion Capital by Paul Alofs. In his book, Alofs defines passion capitalists as people and organizations “guided by a strong set of values and beliefs that form the

basis of a distinctive culture that fuels their performance. They are courageous; often having to overcome significant obstacles. They build strong brands anchored by their culture, which guide their strategies, the people they hire and promote, and the way they operate.” Laurier was measured against these criteria, along with other organizations from coast to coast, and was selected an Ontario finalist. This is a significant honour. At Laurier, our passion capital manifests itself in many ways. At the core is our collective energy to combine academic excellence, community engagement and leadership for the purpose of contributing to society in tangible ways. We highlighted it during our centennial in 2011; it fuelled the development and celebration of our employee success factors; and it drove our strategic and collaborative approach to multi-campus governance. We continue to show it in our research activity, in our integrated and engaged learning model, and in the integrated planning and resource management process

Their energy and enthusiasm shape the Laurier experience and help our students develop into highly engaged citizens who have the skills to secure bright futures for themselves and to contribute meaningfully to the world around them. It is this passion that is our most valuable asset as an educational institution, and it is this unique attribute that will secure our reputation and our future for years to come. We know that Laurier inspires lives of leadership and purpose. Our people bring passion to all that they do, and they are deeply committed to engaging with society and providing the highest quality education possible. To me, this is what passion capital is all about, and I am pleased that we are being recognized and honoured for who we are.

Max Blouw talks with author and Edna Staebler award recipient Carol Shaben during her recent visit to Laurier’s campuses.

being led by members of the Laurier community to help set a strategic path for the future of this university. Our passion capital also resonates with the broader community: we continue to attract high-quality students and high-quality faculty and staff, and we continue to attract the

generous support of individual donors as well as business and government partners. The essence of our passion capital comes directly from our people. Laurier’s students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends are passionate individuals who, collectively, invigorate all that we do as a university community.

Max Blouw President and Vice-Chancellor

Professor receives Polanyi Prize Centre for Sustainable Food Systems launches Laurier researcher Diane Gregory’s investigation into low back pain has been recognized with a 2013 John Charles Polanyi Prize, one of the most prestigious academic awards in Canada. Gregory, an assistant professor in Laurier’s Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, and Health Sciences, received her award at a ceremony on Nov. 25 at Massey College in Toronto. Gregory’s research focuses on intervertebral discs as a source of low back pain. Her research sets out to determine the relationship between the mechanical and physiological environment of the spine and their relationship to injury. “Eighty per cent of individuals will suffer from low back pain at some point in their lives, making it an extremely common ailment,”

said Gregory. “My research focuses on understanding and ultimately preventing low back injury and pain. “Winning this award so early in my career makes this award even more exciting, and I hope that my research will help put Laurier on the map in the area of spine health.” The John Charles Polanyi Prize is valued at $20,000, and is awarded annually to outstanding researchers in five different fields. This is the fourth time a Laurier researcher has won a Polanyi Prize. Past Laurier recipients include Joel Faflak (2001), Quincy Almeida (2007) and Jennifer Esmail (2013).

By Elin Edwards The Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems officially launched in November with a series of events at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. The Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, led by Alison Blay-Palmer, a widelypublished associate professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at Laurier, brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines to study sustainable food systems, and to increase opportunities for more sustainable food systems by disseminating their knowledge through local, national and global networks. More information is available at research/food. The opening event began with a panel discussion on sustainable

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InsideLaurier Volume 8, Number 4, December 2013 Editor: Stacey Morrison Contributors: Erin Almeida, Lori Chalmers Morrison, Kevin Crowley, Elin Edwards, Kevin Klein, Sandra Muir, Mallory O’Brien Available online at


food systems. Panellists included a mix of researchers and community members who are experts on a range of food sustainability topics. A reception celebrating the launch was then held, followed by keynote speaker, Bryan Gilvesy, recipient of the Ontario Minis-

ter’s Award for Environmental Excellence in Small Business and the Canadian Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Award. Gilvesy is the owner of the Yu Ranch and eastern Canada lead for community-developed, farmerdelivered Alternative Land Use Services.

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Next issue of Inside February 2014

December 2013 InsideLaurier  
December 2013 InsideLaurier  

The December 2013 edition of Wilfrid Laurier University's InsideLaurier newspaper.