Lakehead University’s 2020 Report to the Community celebrates Hope and Resilience

December 11, 2020 – Thunder Bay and Orillia, Ont.

Lakehead University launched its online 2020 Report to the Community “Hope and Resilience” website today, featuring stories and videos celebrating inspirational achievements by students, alumni, and researchers.

Lakehead’s President & Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Moira McPherson, said, “Our 2020 Report to the Community is about hope and resilience, and about celebrating our students, faculty, staff, researchers, and alumni who contribute so much to our communities.

“We invite our students, alumni, and friends around the world to experience our online annual report and to join us in celebrating what we have all achieved together,” she added.

The website shares annual updates on information about the University, presents the University’s impacts on the regions around its Orillia and Thunder Bay campuses, and highlights the achievements by students, faculty and alumni from around the world.

Canada’s Minister of Health, the Honourable Patty Hajdu (BA’96/HBA’97 Anthropology), is among the inspiring alumni featured in this year’s Report to the Community.

On the website, the Federal Member of Parliament at the forefront of Canada’s response to the coronavirus describes how she had to abruptly shift gears as the virus spread throughout Europe and then reached Canada’s shores, adding that, “It’s always been a point of pride for me that I’m a Lakehead grad.”

The website also celebrates Fatima Ahmed, who earned her Bachelor of Education in the spring of 2020 and is now a Master of Education student.

Ahmed is currently teaching elementary students at a school in Nunavik in the far north of Quebec. Before she started teaching, she assisted in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Botswana, worked with the women’s development officer in Vanuatu in the South Pacific Ocean, and served as the executive director helping at-risk youth in Inuvik, Northwest Territories.

“Having gone to a large university and a large campus for my first undergraduate degree, I think there is something special about attending smaller universities or campuses,” Ahmed said. “At smaller universities, one is less likely to get lost as a number, which was unfortunately my experience with a larger university.”

Being a physician in the middle of a pandemic is not an easy situation, however Lakehead alumna Dr. Crystal Luchkiw (HBASc’09) is staying focused on what’s best for her patients.

“As a practitioner, I’m very much about human connection,” she said. “I spend a lot of time making sure that people understand their diagnosis and providing emotional and psychological support.”

Since March, Dr. Luchkiw has been trying to counteract the fear and uncertainty that has followed in the wake of COVID-19. “I encourage my elderly patients to safely see their families and to go outdoors,” she said. “Many of them didn’t leave their homes for months and that’s devastating to their health.”

Dr. Charles Levkoe, Lakehead’s Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Food Systems, is working with the Indigenous Food Circle, which is stepping up during the pandemic to secure money to provide nutritious food for Indigenous people in the region.

In times of crisis, vulnerable people often suffer the greatest hardships. This is proving true for Indigenous communities as the coronavirus continues to cause loss of life and economic upheaval.

“Indigenous people in Northwestern Ontario have almost double the rate of food insecurity as the white settler population,” Dr. Levkoe said.

Finding ways to create a more equitable food system drives Dr. Levkoe’s research, however he recognizes that real change comes from working together with communities and grassroots organizations who take the lead in creating solutions.

Lakehead celebrates several milestones on the website, including being on Maclean’s 2021 list of Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities, and in the top half of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. 

One of the world’s most respected ranking systems, THE included Lakehead among the top 100 universities from around the world in its 2020 Impact Rankings, which assess institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals and more than 220 measurements.

Lakehead University also celebrated the incredible financial impact it has on the province. Lakehead adds approximately $1.545 billion per year to Ontario’s gross domestic product. The annual economic impact of Lakehead Thunder Bay on the province was approximately $1.4 billion, while Lakehead Orillia contributed $165 million. Lakehead University is responsible for 6,277 full-time equivalent jobs.

Visit to view Lakehead University’s 2019-2020 Report to the Community.


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Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has 10 faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked, once again, among Canada’s top 10 primarily undergraduate universities in Maclean’s University Rankings 2021; as well as included in the top half of the Times Higher Education 2020 World University Rankings for the second consecutive year, and 98th among 766 universities from around the world in THE's 2020 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit