Retirement celebrations for Mary Lysenchuk, Department of Psychology

Photo of Mary Lysenchuk

The Department of Psychology at Lakehead University will sadly say farewell to Mary Lysenchuk who has worked at the University for 52 years. We welcome you to wish her a happy retirement on her last day, Friday December 13th, in SN 1042 from 10-12. Join us for coffee and treats and reminisce as she celebrates her upcoming retirement.

Mary will be missed by many at the University – her reach has gone well beyond the Psychology department. We hope the University community can join us for her retirement party to celebrate her dedication and contributions on January 24th at The Study from 3-6. If you would like more information, contact the Program Coordinator by emailing

Many may not know that Mary began working in the Library in August of 1967. She says she still remembers her first day as Library Assistant, typing catalogue files, which was how they kept track of where each book was located. In 1969 the administrative assistant position became available in Psychology, and she has worked for the department every day since.

She fondly remembers a smaller University then, where “everyone knew one another and there was a family-like atmosphere. Everyone was engaged in helping the university grow and prosper.”

Psychology has grown from offering a Master’s program in 1968 to now also having an accredited PhD program, which the department began offering in 1995.  

Technology also changed a lot over the years. When she started working as a Departmental Assistant, Mary worked on a typewriter. Every memo and letter was dictated and then transcribed.  Research papers were typed and retyped because if there was a change in the first page, then the whole paper had to be retyped. 

In the 1980s, Mary got the first computer in her department, which may have been the first on campus. “A technician from the University’s computer department came to show me how to use it. All the faculty stood around the computer in awe. I was in the doorway and could not see a thing.  That was OK because I asked the technician to come back the next day to give me the real training.” 

Mary ended up teaching other employees how to use the computer. She has also been very helpful to the 10 very different Psychology Chairs that she worked with.

“One time when I was first Chair, she asked me if there was anything she could help me with,” said Dr. John Jamieson, a former Chair of Psychology.

“I was struggling with a difficult administrative decision and I described it to her. She gave me the solution! I learned from then on always to consult with Mary when faced with a complex issue, since she knew how similar issues had been resolved in the past,” he said. “She is a pillar of strength and wisdom, quietly doing her job.”

Mary has worked with thousands of students, many of whom are now employed in Mental Health Services in Thunder Bay. She offers some advice for young people starting out in a new job. “Stay if you enjoy it. It is rare that you find a job that you enjoy for 50 years. If you like where you are, stay there.”

“You come to work and you’ve got people coming into your office; happy, friendly, young students, fresh minds, what more could you ask for? It’s a good working environment.”

“The first Chairman that I worked for told me that it does not matter what position you hold, everyone is important to the team.  After working at Lakehead University for 50 years I have received nothing but respect and friendship.

“It has been my pleasure to be a member of this institution’s community, surrounded by warm, kind and thoughtful people.”

Congratulations Mary on your upcoming retirement. The Psychology department and University community thanks you for your hard work and dedication, and the many contributions you have made. You will be missed!