Major NSERC Training Grant Awarded to Lakehead University

Dr. Alla Reznik, professor in Lakehead University's Department of Physics, TBRRI scientist and Canada Research Chair in the Physics of Molecular Imaging, discusses the NSERC CREATE grant announced Monday, Sept. 17, 2012.

(Sept. 17, 2012 " Thunder Bay, ON)

Lakehead University has received a $1,647,075 grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to train highly qualified personnel in medical imaging.

The funding has been awarded through NSERC's Collaborative Research and Training Experience Program (CREATE). The purpose of the program is to support the training of highly qualified students and postdoctoral fellows from Canada and abroad through the development of innovative training programs that:

  • Encourage collaborative and integrative approaches, and address significant scientific challenges associated with Canada's research priorities; and
  • Facilitate the transition of new researchers from trainees to productive employees in the Canadian workforce.

The CREATE funding will allow Lakehead University, in partnership with the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute (TBRRI), the Universities of Saskatchewan and Waterloo and other organizations to offer collaborative training that consolidates medical imaging-related science and engineering research into a unified program covering medical imaging techniques and technologies.

"What makes our program unique is the extended collaboration with Canadian companies, such as start-ups, large and medium-sized companies that specialize in development and fabrication of medical imaging devices and technologies. This will allow trainees to learn how to bring promising technology to the point where it can fulfill its innovation potential," says Dr. Alla Reznik, professor in Lakehead University's Department of Physics, TBRRI scientist and Canada Research Chair in the Physics of Molecular Imaging.

"Trainees will also work with scientists from the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre to understand how new technology can positively affect human health," Dr. Reznik adds.

The grant will train approximately 21 master's degree students, 12 doctoral students, seven undergraduate summer students and five post-doctoral fellows over six years. The training initiative also has strong partner support. XLV Diagnostics is providing financial support to the project, while Tornado Medical Systems, ANRAD Corporation, Teledyne DALSA, Intivac, Philips Medical Systems, Weinberg Medical Imaging and MEAglow Inc. are either providing internship opportunities for students or are supporting research projects that are part of the CREATE initiative.

"A collaborative and innovative approach is the key to training the next generation of researchers and specialists in health-related sciences and technologies," says Dr. Rui Wang, Lakehead University Vice-President (Research, Economic Development & Innovation).

"Lakehead University is proud of Dr. Reznik and her team for developing this training program and we are also thankful to NSERC and our industry partners for the CREATE grant support," Dr. Wang says.

Michael Wood, CEO of TBRRI, adds, "We are very grateful for these resources, which will go a long way to develop an excellent training program to attract promising graduate students and prepare them for a career in the exciting field of medical imaging."

Lakehead University's grant co-applicants are Drs. John Rowlands, Department of Physics, Aicheng Chen, Canada Research Chair in Material and Environmental Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Mitchell Albert, Lakehead University - TBRRI Research Chair in Molecular Imaging and Advanced Diagnostics,Department of Chemistry and TBRRI, and Laura Curiel, Department of Electrical Engineering and TBRRI scientist. Other grant co-applicants include Drs. Karim Sallaudin Karim, University of Waterloo; Arsen R. Hajian, University of Waterloo; and Safa O. Kasap, University of Saskatchewan.

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Media: For more information, please contact Brandon Walker, Media Relations Officer, at (807) 343-8177 or

Lakehead University
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for a multidisciplinary teaching approach that emphasizes collaborative learning and independent critical thinking. More than 8,700 students and 1,850 faculty and staff learn and work at campuses located in Orillia, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, which is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Lakehead University promotes innovative research that supports local and regional socio-economic needs. In Orillia, development continues on building a campus that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards.

Lakehead's SOS series successful in promoting sustainability dialogue

(September 13, 2012 - Orillia, ON) More informed choices. That was Dr. Thamara Laredo's goal when she organized the sustainability-focused summer lecture series that wrapped up at Lakehead University last month. Laredo is a professor of chemistry at the Orillia campus.

Free and open to the public, the nine-segment Summer of Sustainability (SOS) series was spearheaded by Laredo to encourage discussion about issues already in the headlines - such as the Alberta oil sands, endangered fish and local farming - as well as to less publicized challenges affecting life on our planet.

Each of the lecture series' presentations, many of them award-winning documentary films, along with expert-led debates, was meant to bring together a community of concerned citizens while opening up opportunities for meaningful and progressive discussions. As Laredo put it, it is one thing to choose to eat endangered varieties of bluefin tuna; it is quite another to be consuming the fish with no idea of its uncertain future.

Lakehead University's Dr. Thamara Laredo, organizer of the Summer of Sustainability (SOS) series, with Dr. Jeff Hutchings of Dalhousie University, one of the SOS series' presenters.

Over the course of the series, more than 500 people attended the lectures with topics varying from the depletion of ocean life and environmental degradation to changing population trends and what this means for the future.

Debate, dissenting opinions and new ideas were all encouraged, with the majority of the audience members open to hearing different points of view.

Touching on everything from the hindrances associated with eating locally - found to be a hot button issue among the crowd - to Canada's sovereignty over the arctic, Laredo readily admits that many worthwhile issues didn't make the cut for lack of time.

With everyone from politicians to eco-warriors, along with the curious, but silent
audience members taking the time to attend the series' events, Laredo has every intention of running a similar program again.

And though this summer series has come to a close, faculty members at Lakehead continue to add to the dialogue surrounding sustainability through their respective on-going research. Laredo's own research looks at ways to repair polluted soil and water.

Sharing more than lab equipment, other faculty at the University with similar value sets are also working on projects with long-term sustainability in mind. Dr. Chris Murray, who led the SOS discussion on the effects of over-fishing, is currently working on research that looks at water remediation, while Dr. Florin Pendea's studies look at climate change patterns over thousands of years.

At a more fundamental level, Dr. Nandakumar Kanavillil works to map out the role of wetlands in filtering out pollutants while microbiologist Dr. Sreekumari Kurissery looks at whether caffeine can be used to tag human-made pollutants entering water systems.

Knowing that their work is part of a continuum - one that leads to a better understanding of the world as a whole - these researchers are pushing the academic understanding of the natural environment. And with events like the Summer Sustainability Series, Laredo and those faculty members involved, look to bring that greater understanding to the masses.

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Lakehead University International's New English Language Program helps students follow their dreams

(Sept. 10, 2012 " Thunder Bay, ON)

A new English Language Program is preparing students to attend Lakehead University.

Hosted by Lakehead University International, the English Language Program consists of university preparatory courses, community and specialty courses, as well as summer intensive courses that have an academic and cultural focus.

"The joy of these courses is their flexibility," says Leigh-Ellen Keating, Director of Lakehead University International. "The highly skilled teaching and academic staff have the opportunity to develop new, creative and responsive courses to suit the requirements of a wide range of students.We can be adaptive and create courses tailored directly to the students' learning objectives " whether it be for an individual student or larger groups."

Keating adds, "This exciting new English program is poised to grow exponentially. It will bring hundreds of international students to both Thunder Bay and Orillia annually."

The Lakehead University International English Language Program makes it possible for international students to follow their dreams of pursuing a post-secondary education.

"Without these courses, many individuals wouldn't be able to survive in a North American classroom setting," explains Lakehead's President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Brian Stevenson.

"Not only will this benefit the students," he adds, "this will also benefit Thunder Bay and Canada by allowing more international students to succeed in their post-secondary studies."

The core Academic English course helps students prepare to enter Canadian secondary and post-secondary schools by focusing on reading, writing, listening, speaking and university study skills. Many of the students in this course will go on to be full time students in academic courses at Lakehead University.

In addition to Academic English courses there are a number of specialty courses.

Visit for more information.

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For more information, please contact Brandon Walker, Media Relations Officer, at (807) 343-8177 or

Lakehead University
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for a multidisciplinary teaching approach that emphasizes collaborative learning and independent critical thinking. More than 8,700 students and 1,850 faculty and staff learn and work at campuses located in Orillia, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, which is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Lakehead University promotes innovative research that supports local and regional socio-economic needs. In Orillia, development continues on building a campus that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards.

New students to "Take the pLUnge" as Lakehead University presents Orientation 2012

(September 5, 2012 - Orillia, ON) Lakehead launches the new academic year with a full slate of exciting events that are all part of Orientation 2012: Take the pLUnge. Over 1,300 students are enrolled at Lakehead's Orillia campus this fall and many are first-year students who will take part in Orientation activities from September 7 to 9.

Orientation focuses on introducing students to the basics of life at Lakehead and in their new community through social events, team building activities, interactive workshops and many opportunities to connect with other students, staff and faculty members.

"The sooner new students feel comfortable in their new environment, the more receptive they are to learning, which helps their academic success," notes Dr. Kim Fedderson, Dean and Vice-Provost, Orillia Campus. Many of the Orientation activities will be led by Student Ambassadors, who are upper-year students who have been trained in how to guide new students. "Their training teaches them how to help minimize the anxiety, apprehension, and concerns that are common among first-year students," says Katie Fraser, Lakehead staff member and co-chair of the Orientation Steering Committee.

Orientation activities get started Friday, September 7 with welcome activities at University Avenue, followed by a trip to Downtown Orillia for the third annual Loonie Lunch, and skits performed by Student Ambassadors at Couchiching Beach Park's Aqua Theatre. Students can top off the day's activities by going to the movies - on the lawns of the University Avenue academic building.

Lakehead Orillia's Student Ambassador team, along with Orientation co-chairs: (l to r, in grey hoodies) Katie Fraser and Liz Ross, get set to welcome new students.

On Saturday, September 8, students will have further opportunities to get to know the faculty at a Pancake Brunch; will be tested on their knowledge of the campus at Orientation Family Feud; and will have the opportunity to participate in various workshops on budgeting, study skills, and coping with stress. In the evening, students will cruise Lake Couchiching aboard the Island Princess, hosted by Lakehead University's Student Union (LUSU).

Orientation activities will conclude on Sunday with a BBQ and Pep Rally leading up to the first ever Orientation Cup hockey game at Rotary Place (West Orillia Sports Complex) where the Lakehead Orillia Thunderwolves will face off against cross-town rivals, the Georgian College Grizzlies.

"We could not have put together such a great package for our new students without the dedication and support of our corporate and community partners," says Fraser. "The community has been enthusiastic and extremely helpful."
For more information about Orientation 2012: Take the pLUnge events, visit Lakehead Orillia's website at

Media Photo/Interview Opportunities?

Note: All activities take place at Lakehead Orillia, University Avenue campus unless otherwise noted. Download complete schedule here.

Thursday, September 6
- Residence Move-In: 9 am to 4 pm
- Motivational Presentation for residence students: 8 pm (OA 1033)?Blake Fleischacker, author of Campus Gets Wasted (

Friday, September 7
- Welcome: 10 am - 11:30 am
- Downtown Orillia and Waterfront: 12 noon - 4:30 pm
- Bookstore Fashion Show: 6:30 - 8:30 pm

Saturday, September 8
- Pancake Brunch with Faculty: 11 am - 12 noon
- Orientation Family Feud: 12 noon - 1:30 pm
- LUSU Island Princess boat cruise, Port of Orillia: 5 - 8 pm

Activities on Campus "RecFest": 1 - 5 pm
- BBQ and Pep Rally: 5 - 7 pm
- O Cup (Lakehead vs. Georgian) at Rotary Place: 7:30 - 9:30 pm


Contact Kathy Hunt, Communications Officer, at 705-330-4008 ext.2014 or or

Orientation Schedule

Lakehead University Orientation 2012: MyLakehead, MyLegacy Helps Students Transition to University

(Sept. 4, 2012 " Thunder Bay, ON)

Lakehead University is looking forward to welcoming new students and their families to the Lakehead and Thunder Bay community through an expanded Orientation.

Orientation 2012: myLakehead, myLegacy gives students the chance to make their mark at Lakehead.

Orientation features several new events for undergraduate students, to better prepare them for the transition to university. Events cater to many student populations, including those coming straight from high school, college & university transfer students, and students coming from the world of work or raising a family.

"Our programming is focused on engaging students to help them transition smoothly to university life, and to feel connected to the campus and community," said Danielle Ruel, First Year Experience Coordinator in the Student Success Centre. "We want students to find their place at Lakehead, and we want to provide them with the tools to facilitate their success at the post-secondary level."

Orientation has been extended to a full week of academic and social activities to connect students with their professors, peers, and the community. Several new events have been added to increase student-faculty interaction. Family and friends are encouraged to attend Orientation events to connect with campus and discover how to best support their student.

Organized by the Student Success Centre, Residence & Conference Services, and the Lakehead University Student Union, Orientation runs from Thursday, September 6 through Thursday, September 13. A special thanks to this year's Gold sponsors, Tbaytel and Alumni Relations.

Visit for the full Orientation schedule.

Suggested Media Photo/Interview Opportunities

Thursday, September 6

  • Residence Move-In: 9 am to 4 pm

Friday, September 7

  • Welcoming Commencement: 9:45-10:15 am, Lake Tamblyn
  • Faculty BBQ: 1 pm-1:45 pm, Arboretum
  • Varsity Midnight Madness: 10:30 pm-11:30 pm, C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse

Saturday, September 8

  • LUSU Carnival: 8:30 pm-11 pm, Lake Tamblyn

Thursday, September 13

  • President's Dinner 5 pm-7 pm, Main Cafeteria

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Media: For more information, please contact Brandon Walker, Media Relations Officer, at (807) 343-8177 or

Lakehead University
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for a multidisciplinary teaching approach that emphasizes collaborative learning and independent critical thinking. More than 8,700 students and 1,850 faculty and staff learn and work at campuses located in Orillia, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, which is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Lakehead University promotes innovative research that supports local and regional socio-economic needs. In Orillia, development continues on building a campus that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards.

Lakehead University's first MBA graduates present business strategies to local firms

Two area businesses recently gained useful advice on how to grow - thanks to the course requirements of Lakehead Orillia's Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.

Completion of the program's Strategy Project course held in July and August fulfilled the final requirements of the University's MBA program for Chris Lusty of Orillia and Katrin Schmidt of Barrie - the first graduates of the Orillia campus program.

Lusty and Schmidt, both successful entrepreneurs, began their MBA studies at Lakehead Orillia three years ago. Lusty is a professional engineer who designs software for a product manufactured by Canada's largest scientific equipment distributor. Schmidt, a veterinarian by trade, is the current owner of a number of veterinary clinics in the area, including the Coldwater Road Animal Clinic.

The final Strategy Project course of the MBA program is designed to give students an opportunity to apply the theories and techniques learned in their studies to "real world" situations.

Over the six-week course, Lusty and Schmidt, along with fellow students, conducted a detailed analysis of an existing business and then presented business strategy recommendations to the owners of the firms.

Schmidt's team, including Simon Looker, a member of the Student Affairs department at Lakehead, and Sarah Davis, a graphic designer and instructor at Georgian College in Barrie, was partnered with Orillia Woodworking, one of Ontario's leading suppliers of wood trims, flooring and siding. Established in 1988, Orillia Woodworking was recently purchased by Martin Stannus, current president and general manager.

Martin Stannus of Orillia Woodworking (left) with Lakehead MBA students (l to r): Katrin Schmidt, Sarah Davis and Simon Looker.

Stannus was notably impressed by the work of the students. "The report is much better than I expected and contains a lot more reliable information than I had anticipated. It is extremely factual, which I appreciate," he said.

As the new owner of an existing small business with 14 employees, Stannus said his first goal is to ensure stability and he felt reassured when he learned that the students' recommendations were in line with his objectives.

"What was most useful to me was the opportunity to have a third-party assessment," added Stannus. "Over the six-week course, the students were able to understand the business and make practical recommendations. They also introduced me to resources, such as those for comparing industry standards, that are very worthwhile."

Lusty's team included students Ken Robertson, a local accountant, and Irina Labuac, a marketing specialist. They worked with On the Water Designs, a manufacturer of docks and marine systems located on Hwy 11 north of Washago that has a strong reputation for designing and building docks throughout Ontario.

On the Water Designs is owned by Dave MacDonald and Mary McTavish, along with Mary's son Brandon Jewitt. They too were impressed with the students' report on their business, although MacDonald admits at first he was cynical about the idea of working with the University. "I thought their work might be full of academia and theory and not have a lot of practical solutions or viable recommendations."

Chris Lusty, Lakehead Orillia MBA student (seated, right) presents a business report to the owners of On the Water Designs: Dave MacDonald (seated left); and (l to r) Lakehead Professor Herman van den Berg; Brandon Jewitt of On the Water Designs; Lakehead students Ken Robertson and Irina Labuac; and Mary McTavish of On the Water Designs.

Following the presentation by Lusty's team, McDonald said he was enlightened. "This report is far more informative than I anticipated it would be. The students pointed out some very key aspects of the business and provided insight that will help us re-define our focus," he said

"The third-party examination of our business is what we needed," noted McTavish. "For me, it has confirmed that it's time to put the house in order. It helps us to pause and consolidate before we move forward."

For the students, even though they found the course to be challenging, especially given the short six-week time frame, the experience was invaluable. "It was great to work with an actual business, with real data and real information, as opposed to case studies and text book reading," Lusty said.

"It was extremely practical and a lot more fun," added Schmidt.

"The MBA is a professional program," explained Dr. Herman van den Berg, a member of the Lakehead business faculty who teaches the Strategy Project course. "The program includes theoretical and applied learning; it's very important that we do both."

Dr. van den Berg added that Lakehead is very grateful for the involvement of the local businesses. "We appreciate that they have made their firms available to the students," he said.

"This is an example of the real impact of the university on the community," added McTavish of On the Water Designs.

Lakehead University wraps up SOS series with panel discussion

Final SOS event challenges community to do something; make a difference

The popular Summer of Sustainability (SOS) series presented by Lakehead University will conclude on Tuesday, August 28 with a panel presentation focused on "the challenges to a sustainable future."

This will be an opportunity for members of the community to join community leaders and experts in a call to action for a more sustainable future.

"Throughout the summer, members of our SOS audience expressed their interest and concern about what they can do and whether what they do actually makes a difference," reports Dr. Thamara Laredo, Lakehead professor and organizer of the SOS series. "Along with the many outstanding films and speakers we enjoyed throughout the summer, this wrap-up event will help us define potential actions and decisions to help us become a more proactive community."

"Challenges to a Sustainable Future" panel members:

Sandy Agnew: Aware Simcoe and Zero Waste Alliance

Alison Braun, Transition Town

Jacob Kearey-Moreland, Orillia Community Gardens

Clair Malcolmsen, Environmental Defence

Greg Preston, Superintendent of Waste Management, City of Orillia

The event takes place at Lakehead Orillia's University Avenue campus at 7:00 pm. Admission and parking are free.


Media: For more information, please contact Communications Officer, Kathy Hunt, at 705-330-4008 ext. 2014 or

Lakehead University's next SOS guest speaker challenges the locavore

Controversial topic expected to lead to engaging discussion

(Aug 8, 2012 - Orillia, ON) The next session of Lakehead's Summer of Sustainability (SOS) series is sure to create an interesting discussion. The lecture takes place on Tuesday, August 14 at 7 pm and features Dr. Pierre Desrochers, co-author of The Locavore's Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-Mile Diet. The book, upon which the lecture is based, challenges the increasingly accepted theory that eating local foods (being a locavore) is the answer to many of the problems within the global food supply system.

Desrochers is an associate professor of geography at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Educated at the University of Montreal, Desrochers' career boasts a long list of award-winning contributions to research in the field of geography on topics such as sustainability, economics and history. This experience means that Desrochers approaches his subject from a variety of angles.

Desrochers co-authored The Locavore's Dilemma with his wife, economist Hiroko Shimizu, after the couple attended a meeting where a supporter of local eating called people who eat beyond their foodshed "parasitic" - suggesting the Japanese as being the most guilty of this (Shimizu is Japanese). The book began as an academic article and progressed to being published as a book in June 2012. Already, the publication has gained extensive media coverage in print (including MacLean's magazine) and online, creating a buzz in the discussion about local food production.

The August 14 event takes place at the Lakehead Orillia University Avenue campus at 7 pm. Parking and admission are free.

A round table discussion night will be held on August 28 to conclude the SOS series.


Media: For more information, please contact Communications Officer, Kathy Hunt, at 705-330-4008 ext. 2014 or

Lakehead University's next SOS event focuses on startling population trends

(July 25, 2012 - Orillia, ON) Lakehead University's Summer of Sustainability (SOS) series continues on Tuesday, July 31 with the documentary, World in the Balance: The People Paradox. The film screening begins at 7:00 pm at Lakehead's University Avenue campus, followed by a discussion led by biologist and Lakehead faculty member, Dr. Victoria TeBrugge.

Through vivid personal stories, The People Paradox reveals many startling trends. In Japan, Europe and Russia, birth rates are shrinking and the population is aging. But in parts of India and Africa, more than half of the still growing population is under 25.

The population in Canada is currently still increasing (5.9% between 2006 and 2011) due in part to immigration. However the demographics are changing with the number of people aged 65 and older in Canada, having increased by more than 14% since the last census in 2006.

The surprising conclusion: world population is now careening in two dramatically different directions. What solutions are there to stabilize population growth? What methods have been tried and failed? Which ones are tried and true? What solutions have worked in the past but may not be sustainable in the future? Open discussion will follow the screening of the film.

Admission and parking to SOS events are free.

Dr. Victoria TeBrugge

Media: For more information, please contact Communications Officer, Kathy Hunt, at 705-330-4008 ext. 2014 or

See Series event listing here.

Lakehead University's Fast Pass a hit with new students

(July 20, 2012 - Orillia, ON) This summer Lakehead University is offering a new way for students to get ready for the start of classes in the fall. All new undergraduate students are invited to attend one of the University's new "FastPass" events, a day-long advance orientation and preparation for the start of school.

Over 600 new students are expected to begin classes at Lakehead Orillia this fall, including students who are completing one-year professional programs and those transferring from other schools. All first-time university students are invited to attend Fast Pass and a large percentage have registered and are taking advantage of the program, which takes place at the University Avenue campus during July.

"We have been overwhelmed by the response," says Frank Cappadocia, Assistant Dean (Student Affairs), at the Orillia campus. "This is the first time we have offered the program, so we really didn't know what to expect."

Each of the four sessions offered were quickly filled to capacity. A total of 50 students, along with their families and guests, can be accommodated at each session.

The Fast Pass program is an opportunity for new students (and their parents) to meet faculty and staff, register for courses, tour the campus facilities, learn about the local area and have their questions answered.

New Lakehead student Stephanie Dunford and her mom Elizabeth, of Sunderland, Ontario, visit the Orillia campus bookstore during the Fast Pass orientation day.

"Most new students have some anxiety about starting university," explains Katie Fraser, Administrative Assistant for the Lakehead Orillia Wellness Centre. "Worries about money and how to get registered into courses properly are two of the most stressful aspects of starting university. We have found that giving students opportunities to register for courses onsite with staff assistance, and sharing information about financial aid and funding sources, has really helped ease anxiety levels."

Workshops for parents have also proven to be very popular. "Parents said they found our Parent Panel discussion sessions to be extremely valuable," notes Cappadocia. Parents new to university life hear tips and suggestions from parents who have already experienced the challenges of post-secondary student parenting.

Both parents and students benefit from a session that provides an overview of Orillia and local community services. Most of the students attending Fast Pass are from out of the area, so the introduction to the community is appreciated. Many of the out-of-town students will live on campus in residence. The registration number for the Lakehead Orillia residence has already surpassed the total number from last year, reports Residence Manager Jean Acharya.

Fast Pass continues with the fourth session on Wednesday, July 25. An additional date may be offered to accommodate student interest in the popular program.Fast Pass does not replace the traditional orientation for all new students, which takes place September 7 to 9, prior to the start of classes on September 10.

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Media: For more information, please contact Lakehead University's Communications Officer, Kathy Hunt, at 705-330-4008 ext. 2014 or