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Conference Leading up to Lakehead’s 
Presidential Installation Focuses on Pivotal Role 
of Universities in Community Economic Development

A conference leading up to the Installation of Dr. Brian Stevenson, Lakehead University’s sixth president and vice-chancellor, took place today in Lakehead University's Faculty Lounge.  

The conference, which focused on The Role of the University in Economic Development,  maintained a consultative agenda aimed at discussing the economic benefits tied to community-driven partnerships with Lakehead University.

Lakehead is committed to continued progress in research and development and the economic benefits that stem from the University’s research-related initiatives.  Part of that commitment includes carrying over practical applications of the research generated at the University into the external community in order to enhance economic opportunities around Thunder Bay and the region.

In this context, Lakehead’s faculty and researchers are described as the driving force behind pursuing knowledge and solutions.  From medical discoveries to food security, from reducing carbon footprints to new approaches in biorefining, work at Lakehead University has tremendous impact on the quality of every day life and on the community economy.

A number of high-profile speakers including Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry; Dr. Robert (Bob) Rosehart, Former President of Wilfrid Laurier and Lakehead Universities; Dawn Desjardins, Assistant Chief Economist, RBC Royal Bank; Stefan Larson, CEO, Tornado Medical Systems; and Phil Fontaine, Special Advisor to RBC Royal Bank and Former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations spoke at the conference – on particular aspects of  economic development and the role Lakehead plays, among other universities, in advancing economic opportunities via community partnerships, student enrolment, faculty-initiated research, and commercialization.

The Installation ceremony will officially robe Dr. Stevenson as Lakehead President at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, November 5.


Dr. Bob Rosehart, Former President, Lakehead University and Wilfrid Laurier University

Dr. Rosehart has extensive experience in the areas of senior administration and public policy. He has served as President for both Lakehead University and Wilfrid Laurier University, and recently served as a Northwestern Ontario Economic Facilitator and Interim Principal of Renison University College. He holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Waterloo University, as well as three Honorary degrees. Currently, Dr. Rosehart participates on a selection of boards and committees: he chairs the Board for Intelligent Mechatronic Systems and serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors, St. Paul’s College, University of Waterloo.

Dr. Rosehart's talk abstract: Increasingly, the Waterloo Region is quoted as an example of an economy that has successfully transformed itself. Dr. Rosehart's review, entitled The Waterloo Region Example, outlines some of the history and future trends of economic transition in the region as well as the significant role that post-secondary education has played in the most recent transformations. Experience learned from the Waterloo Region has and can continue to give insight and direction to other regions of Canada.

Dawn Desjardins, Assistant Chief Economist, RBC Royal Bank

Dawn Desjardins joined the Royal Bank Economics team in January 2006. She is a key contributor to the macroeconomic forecasts for Canada and the US and is responsible for the interest rate forecasts for both countries.  Previously, Dawn worked as a reporter for Bloomberg Financial News in Toronto covering the Canadian bond and currency markets and was the Canadian bond market strategist for a major U.S. bank for ten years. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto

Dawn Desjardin's talk abstract: The current state of the global economy and the near-term outlook for growth in the aftermath of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression will be discussed. The US economy continues to heal and will grow at a moderate pace, setting the stage for Canada's economy to continue on its current growth path. The presentation highlights the key supports for growth against a backdrop when governments are withdrawing stimulus. The outlook for Ontario and how the recovery is shaping up in the province will also be addressed.

Stefan Larson, President and CEO, Tornado Medical Systems

Tornado Medical Systems is an early stage medical imaging device company based in Thunder Bay. Prior to joining Tornado, Stefan worked at a global management consultancy serving
leading players in the biotech, medical device, and advanced energy industries. He has degrees from McGill and University of Toronto, and completed his doctorate in Biophysics at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Stefan Larson's talk abstract: Tornado Medical Systems develops high-performance components for medical imaging.  The company has chosen Thunder Bay as the home for its core product development facility, and will be taking possession of a new 4000 sq. ft. facility in March, 2011. Thunder Bay provides Tornado with access to research and engineering talent, a large patient population, and excellent local clinical and research partnerships.

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,700 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit

Last updated November 04, 2010

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