Lakehead University names new Vice-President, External Relations

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April 15, 2021 – Thunder Bay and Orillia, Ont.

Lakehead University’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Moira McPherson, is very pleased to announce that following an extensive national search, Michael den Haan has been appointed as the University’s new Vice-President, External Relations. 

Mr. den Haan brings 25 years of experience in fundraising, donor, alumni and volunteer engagement, communications, governance, and external relations. He most recently served as Vice-President, Advancement and Alumni Engagement at Simon Fraser University. 

Dr. McPherson is looking forward to welcoming den Haan to the Lakehead University community. “Michael comes to us with a wealth of leadership experience in philanthropy, alumni and community relations, and I am very confident that Lakehead will benefit from his many skills in this critically important role at our University,” said Dr. McPherson.

“Lakehead University is a special place,” den Haan said. “It is a community of students, alumni, faculty, and staff who are joined by a vision for a local and global future that is better. It is a community which is unafraid to move through challenges in order to achieve that new future. As the Lakehead community continues such important work within its current strategic framework and anticipates new opportunities in the face of shifting, regional and global realities, I’m proud and excited to join the team as their new Vice-President, External Relations.”

The University’s External Relations portfolio plays a critical role in advancing Lakehead’s strategic priorities by building and promoting key relationships with diverse internal and external audiences. As a member of Lakehead’s Executive Team, den Haan will be responsible for providing a comprehensive, integrated approach to communications, marketing and web development, advancement and philanthropy, alumni engagement, and in close collaboration with government relations.

Mr. den Haan will be based at Lakehead University’s Orillia campus while working closely with colleagues, alumni, donors and community members in Thunder Bay, Orillia, and around the world. Mr. den Haan will begin his role on May 5, 2021.

Dr. McPherson expressed her sincerest appreciation to Ann Brandt, who has served as Lakehead’s Interim Vice-President, External Relations, for over a year.

Dr. McPherson also thanked the Search Advisory Committee and KCI Search + Talent for the time and effort they committed to the search process and outcome. “Their input, perspectives, and engagement were key to helping us obtain a superb slate of applicants, and, ultimately, our successful candidate,” she added.

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Media Thunder Bay
For more information or interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Media, Communications and Marketing Associate, at 807-343-8177 or

Media Orillia
For more information, please contact Jaclyn Bucik, Media, Communications and Marketing Associate, at 705-330-4010 ext. 2014 or


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 2021 University Rankings; as well as included in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2020 World Universities 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

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