Lakehead University’s Report to the Community celebrates important people, achievements

Attendees had the opportunity to see first-hand what hands-on learning means at Lakehead University

Attendees had the opportunity to interact and explore what hands-on learning means at Lakehead University.

December 5, 2018 – Orillia, ON

The theme of Lakehead University’s 2018 Report to the Community was Engage. Explore. Excel.

The annual luncheon at Hawk Ridge Golf Club on December 5, featured a talk-show style presentation hosted by Lakehead Orillia Principal, Dr. Dean Jobin-Bevans, and interviews with some of the exceptional people who helped make the last year a special one.

“This event exemplifies that after 12 years, Lakehead Orillia remains steadfast in making post-secondary education possible for the communities of Simcoe County and beyond,” stated Lakehead Chancellor Lyn McLeod. “The ongoing commitment of the County of Simcoe and City of Orillia allows Lakehead to continue to develop and grow.”

Guests included Lakehead Orillia criminology program coordinator Dr. Alana Saulnier, alumnus Andrew Petras, a graduate of the Commerce program, and current international student Boluwatife Fabanwo.

As an international student arriving at Lakehead Orillia, Fabanwo had a very different university experience than many students arriving for their first year on campus. He spoke about the shock he experienced pulling up in the taxi. “I didn’t realize Lakehead was in the countryside. I wasn’t used to such a small population – my hometown of Lagos, Nigeria, has over 20 million people,” said Fabanwo.

After getting over the intense homesickness, Fabanwo used his experience to make new connections with faculty, staff, and his peers to make the most out of his time at Lakehead Orillia. Currently, a varsity soccer player and chair of the campus multicultural association, Fabanwo works hard to shed light on the different cultures around campus.

Petras spoke about how an unspoken commitment from a faculty member convinced him to take the road less travelled and go to Lakehead University. “I knew there were going to be growing pains coming to Lakehead Orillia because it was so new, but I looked at it as an opportunity to put my footprint on campus,” he said.

After graduating from Lakehead in 2013, Petras put that tenacity and commitment into his own career. Today, managing a growing financial services business in Simcoe County.

“There many benefits of having this University in this great county, including that I can live here, spend money here, but also volunteer and give back here,” explained Petras to the those in attendance. “Lakehead Orillia was possible and will continue to grow and be successful, because of you.”

Saulnier brought perspective to the issue of police accountability with discussion about her current year-long research project with Durham Regional Police Service around the effect of body worn cameras.

“It’s incredibly important that we evaluate the techniques our legal authorities are using, and that they are also evaluating the practices they are using, to produce better evidence-based policy so our legal system is productive and for us,” she explained.

The Report to the Community was a chance to celebrate the University’s many successes, including the incredible financial impact that Lakehead has on the province.

Lakehead University adds approximately $1.4 billion per year to Ontario’s gross domestic product. The annual economic impact of the University’s Thunder Bay campus on the province was $1.3 billion, while its Orillia campus contributed $122.7 million. Lakehead University is responsible for 6,277 full-time equivalent jobs.

“The Report to the Community is a chance to celebrate the year’s successes and connect with the communities within Northwestern Ontario and Simcoe County,” said Ross Murray, Q.C., Chair of Lakehead University’s Board of Governors.

Dr. Moira McPherson, President and Vice-Chancellor, highlighted the new strategic plan and the University’s exceptional faculty, staff and students, and thanked everyone who has helped the University achieve greatness. She also acknowledged how Lakehead is helping students succeed in a fast-paced, competitive world.

“These last 12 months have been punctuated with many successes and celebrations,” Dr. McPherson said. “Today was an opportunity to meet some of the people who learn, teach, and advance research, scholarly and creative work at Lakehead—each empowering themselves and our learners to become the next generation of leaders by sharing their passion for discovery and learning.”

Visit to view Lakehead University’s Report to the Community.

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(Pictured below) Lakehead University Chancellor Lyn McLeod (left) and President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Moira McPherson (second from left) are pictured with (from left) alumnus Andrew Petras, current student Bolu Fabanwo, criminology program coordinator and professor Dr. Alana Saulnier, and third year criminology student and event emcee Courtney Holmes.


Media: For more information or to request an interview, contact Jaclyn Bucik, Marketing & Communications Associate, 705-330-4008 ext. 2014 or


Lakehead University has approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. Maclean’s 2019 University Rankings place Lakehead University among Canada's Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities and in 2018 Research Infosource named Lakehead Research University of the Year in its category for the fourth consecutive year. Visit

Lakehead University Chancellor Lyn McLeod and President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Moira McPherson are pictured with alumnus Andrew Petras, current student Bolu Fabanwo, criminology program coordinator and professor Dr. Alana Saulnier, and third year criminology student and event emcee Courtney Holmes.