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New President Shares Vision for Future of Lakehead University - Orillia

(Orillia, ON – August 18, 2010) Lakehead University’s sixth president and vice-chancellor, Dr. Brian Stevenson, shared his vision for the University and its Orillia Campus at a media conference held yesterday at the site of Lakehead – Orillia’s new academic building at 500 University Avenue. The new facility opens for classes this September and will be Canada’s first and only Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED©) Platinum campus.
Dr. Stevenson is in Orillia for one week to participate in a series of events and activities, including meeting with stakeholders who have a vested interest in the success of Lakehead University - Orillia.

"I am delighted to be at the Orillia campus and to meet many of the individuals  - and organizations -  who have been instrumental in helping Lakehead University accomplish its goal to have Canada's first LEED© Platinum university campus to serve Orillia and Simcoe County. Although this is only my third week on the job, I am acutely aware of the major hurdles Lakehead and its supporters have overcome together thus far to be where we are today.  Our long-awaited Grand Opening on September 23, when I will expect to see all of you again, will be a celebration of our collective journey. And in a manner of speaking, the journey is not an ending but a beginning."

Dr. Stevenson became Lakehead University's sixth president and vice-chancellor on August 1, 2010, following the retirement of President Fred Gilbert. Dr. Stevenson previously served as provost and vice-president academic at the University of Winnipeg. He also worked at the University of Alberta as the vice-provost and associate vice-president.

In addition to his academic credentials from the University of Victoria and Queen's University plus more than a decade of senior administrative responsibilities, the new president also brings to his new position a unique global outlook that is expected to serve Lakehead University well beyond the next decade. Stevenson has extensive background in international affairs, including experience as senior policy advisor to Canada’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.  

During his remarks, Dr. Stevenson shared his commitment to enhancing the position of Lakehead University within Canada and beyond.

“The establishment of the Orillia Campus was a defining moment for both Lakehead and Orillia and the surrounding areas. Without the Orillia Campus, Lakehead would be hard-pressed to meet its enrolment targets and compete with other universities. And with Lakehead’s Campus here in Orillia, growth and development in Simcoe County will be much more promising,” said Stevenson.
Lakehead University’s new president and vice-chancellor, Dr. Brian Stevenson, shared his vision for the University and its Orillia Campus at a media conference held yesterday at the site of Lakehead – Orillia’s new academic building at 500 University Avenue.

Over the next few years, under Dr. Stevenson’s direction, Lakehead University will concentrate on four priorities related to growth and sustainability. The University has specific goals and the Orillia Campus clearly has a role to play in accomplishing them. By 2013, Lakehead aims to increase enrolment to 9,000 students, with a large number of these new students coming from the Orillia campus. Lakehead also aims to be in the top 25 research-intensive universities in Canada, which means increasing research productivity and funding. Another goal is to expand the Orillia campus in order to offer students more opportunities and choices.

 “Above all, Lakehead professors are committed to academic excellence,” said Dr. Stevenson. “Lakehead is still small enough for our professors to provide students with the guidance they need to succeed and we want to ensure that we grow in a managed way to maintain our academic quality.”

Although Dr. Stevenson will work primarily from the University’s Thunder Bay Campus, he plans to visit and connect with members of the Orillia Campus on a regular basis. “This week, I hope to meet with and talk to as many community members and business leaders as possible,” says Stevenson. “These connections will be crucial as we work together to grow and expand the Orillia campus.”  

Dr. Stevenson noted the significance of following a roster of dedicated individuals known for their commitment to the sustainable progress of the institution. He too shares the priority of focusing on the ongoing development of the local communities served by the University, including Orillia and those within the Simcoe County region.

According to Dr. Stevenson, universities fill a profound need – not just to educate future generations for social and business leadership, but also to help foster economic development and environmental stewardship. “With the opening of the new LEED® Platinum Academic Building in Orillia, we are able to showcase our commitment while educating students to be leaders who understand the challenges of the future.” Dr. Stevenson expressed how thrilled he and his family are as they join the Lakehead University community, as well as the communities of Thunder Bay and Orillia.  “I look forward to working closely with Orillia Campus Dean Kim Fedderson as well as Lakehead and Orillia community members in learning how the Orillia Campus can continue to achieve its strategic goals.”

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Media Contact:

Kathy Hunt, Communications Officer
Lakehead University – Orillia   
705-330-4008 ext. 2014

Lakehead University is a comprehensive university with campuses in Thunder Bay and Orillia.  It offers post-secondary undergraduate and graduate programs as well as research expertise that meet specific regional needs.  The University is known for its multidisciplinary teaching approach that emphasizes collaborative learning and independent critical thinking.  Lakehead-Orillia opened in 2006, and in September 2010 will open the doors of its new Academic Building.  This is the first phase in the development of Canada’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Platinum university campus.

Last updated August 27, 2010

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