For students, by students


Lahama Naeem and Farhan Yousaf

Lakehead students are in good hands with champions like Lahama Naeem and Farhan Yousaf on their side.

"We want to give students the opportunity to learn, grow, and create happy memories," Lahama says.

She's the president of the Lakehead University Student Union (LUSU). Farhan, LUSU's executive director, agrees.

It's about investing in students and breaking down barriers to the university experience. It's especially crucial coming out of the pandemic with inflation on the rise. We don't want finances to hold students back.

In honour of its 40th anniversary last year, LUSU has made a record-breaking gift of $150,000 to create new student bursaries and an additional gift of $150,000 to go to areas of greatest student need. Their kindness and generosity will offer a lifeline to young people struggling to get by—it's all part of the organization's commitment to students.

"LUSU provides essential services, like our health plan and the uPass for public transit, that create a more equitable playing field for students," Lahama says.

One of their most recent achievements is the expansion and renovation of LUSU's Food Resource Centre.

"Food insecurity is increasing," Farhan says, "but there's a stigma attached to using a food bank, so we created an inviting space—like you're walking into your kitchen to grab something to eat and then having lunch in your living room."

Farhan and Lahama both have a stellar history of helping their fellow students. Lahama, who graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science in June 2022, has served on Lakehead's senate, established university clubs, organized fundraisers, and, as LUSU president, she represents the voice of students to all levels of government, the University, and community groups. She's also had an impact with the henna art business she started in high school, which she used to connect with the Thunder Bay community.

"A lot of people weren't familiar with Muslim culture, and it was a great way to break down stereotypes," she says.

Then, when the pandemic hit, Lahama began selling cupcakes online through her business Bakeology Thunder Bay and donating the proceeds to local charities.

"I love baking—I watch a lot of Cake Boss."

Farhan juggled a heavy workload at LUSU with his academic studies before graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering. He served four years as LUSU's operations and finance VP and is now capably steering the organization as its executive director. Throughout his time at Lakehead, Farhan has excelled at improving international students' lives and fostering multiculturalism through events like LUSU's Culture Days. He's also a founding member of the Racialized Young Professionals Network.

Now, LUSU is stepping up with bursaries for both Orillia and Thunder Bay campus students based on financial need. They've also ensured that international, Indigenous, disabled, and trans students are eligible for bursaries. Combined with their second gift, LUSU is throwing the doors to a university education wide open.

"Our tagline says a lot," Farhan notes. "LUSU is 'For students, by students.' We create a space for all students to reach their true potential through mentorships, financial support, spaces, and clubs."


Leading by Example: Two Trailblazers who always put students first


Nursing class

Dr. Darlene Steven's influence is still felt in Lakehead's corridors and classrooms. The former nursing professor, who passed away in 2014, continues to change Lakehead and Northwestern Ontario for the better.

"Darlene was spirited, effervescent, and generous to a fault," says her friend Stephen Hessian. "Her true passion, though, was that all students should receive a quality education and achieve their potential, including those in financial need."

Known for his own generosity as a Lakehead donor, Stephen is also a Fellow of the University who served as a member of Lakehead's Board of Governors for 15 years, including as board chair. In addition, Stephen is the trustee of Dr. Sabah Mansour's estate – a distinguished Lakehead electrical engineering professor and Darlene's husband.

Lakehead quickly became home for Darlene and Sabah. Darlene earned a BA and a nursing degree at the Thunder Bay campus in 1977 before going west to complete her education, where she met Sabah. She returned to Lakehead in 1988 and became the first School of Nursing professor with a PhD.

She immediately began transforming the program.

"Darlene was energetic and very student focused," says retired nursing professor and researcher, Rhonda Kirk-Gardner. It was through Darlene's leadership that Lakehead's Master of Public Health program was created.

She also expanded the School of Nursing's activities. "She had a thirst for research at a time when limited nursing research was being conducted," Rhonda says.

After Darlene's passing in 2014, Sabah created the Dr. Darlene M. Steven Scholarship in Nursing to continue her powerful health care legacy.

In her obituary Sabah noted: "Darlene's dedication to the fight against cancer and to cardiac care was a driving force in Northwestern Ontario receiving much needed equipment including the Mobile Breast Screening Unit."

Nursing student adjust IV bag while instructor looks on.

The Dr. Darlene M. Steven Scholarship in Nursing and the new Dr. Darlene Steven Master of Nursing Award are helping train Northwestern Ontario health care professionals.

Like his wife, Sabah made Lakehead a better place. He oversaw a transformational shift in the Faculty of Engineering from a purely theoretical focus to a combination of theoretical learning and applied research. As the electrical engineering chair from 1995 to 2013, Sabah championed the development of an interdisciplinary Master of Science in Control Engineering and a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE).

"Dr. Sabah Mansour was a true engineer!" says former Lakehead president, Dr. Bob Rosehart. "He was also very much a student's professor. Some time ago when I was chairing the board of a high-tech company, a new board member turned out to be a successful electrical engineering grad from the eighties. He immediately told me about Sabah's positive impact on his engineering education."
Stephen agrees with this assessment. "Sabah was kind, gentle, and he had a boundless desire for students to prosper."

Become Part of a Lasting Legacy

Through Sabah's generosity, Lakehead has established the new Dr. Darlene Steven Master of Nursing Award and the Dr. Sabah Y. Mansour Scholarship in Electrical Engineering – ensuring that we can continue to help students and celebrate the lives of two people who are changing the lives of many.

If you'd like to give students a better future, like Darlene and Sabah, please contact Philanthropy Director Kathryn Davidson at or 807-343-8010 Ext. 8476.

Recognizing Diversity and Inclusiveness to Meet Student Needs


Alan and Joyce Boyce

Memories of a life well lived are what inspired Alan Boyce to establish an award at Lakehead in his wife's honour.

Alan and Joyce

Alan and Joyce shared many happy times.

In 1979 and as a young graduate of Lakehead University's School of Nursing, Joyce Hodgins launched her nursing career in New Osnaburgh (now Mishkeegogamang First Nation), north of Sioux Lookout, Ontario. Working in this community helped establish Joyce's commitment to respect and social justice. A career that led her in many directions over the span of four decades was firmly rooted in her belief that everyone deserves access to quality health care.

The Joyce Hodgins Memorial Nursing Award recognizes the importance of nurses as a part of Canada's health-care system and encourages improved health services in under-serviced communities and regions of Canada. This award champions diversity and inclusiveness, with preference given to candidates who have self-identified as a member of an under-represented group.

A Politician of Integrity


Bruce Stanton

It was on a sweltering day at Oro's World Fair that Duncan McDonald realized that Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton wasn't a typical politician.

Usually, officials arrive at an event, shake a few hands, pose for photos, and leave. But on that afternoon, Bruce was volunteering with Duncan – a longtime Conservative party member – at a food stand.

"Bruce worked at the deep fryer for three hours and he stayed cheerful and friendly the whole time, just like he is in parliament," Duncan says. "I thought, 'This is what public service looks like.'"

 Bruce Stanton Duncan was so inspired by Bruce's commitment that when he learned he was retiring after 15 years, Duncan decided to establish a Lakehead University bursary in Bruce's honour.

"It's certainly humbling to have a bursary in my name, but it's the effect it has that's important," Bruce says. "Helping students who need a hand and cultivating a sense of public service in our young people."

"Public service is an essential part of being a good human being," adds Duncan, who has served as a church minister and a University of Calgary ombudsman.

As an ombudsman, Duncan found that many students needed financial help to get through school, that's why assisting them was a career highlight for him.

Bruce Stanton served as Simcoe North's Member of Parliament from 2006 to 2021.

"Often first-generation university students and students whose parents are immigrants are the hardest working," he says.

Bruce's civic spirit has had a major impact on Simcoe County. He helped Lakehead Orillia secure $13.5 million to construct the 500 University Avenue campus and obtained funding to expand the Lake Simcoe Airport and rebuild the Trent-Severn Waterway's crumbling infrastructure. He is also the longest serving deputy speaker in the history of the House of Commons.

How did Bruce develop his sense of public service?

"Most of the things that have helped me succeed in political ventures were hard learned in the hospitality service," he says.

He forged his career at Bayview Wildwood Resort, a business on Sparrow Lake that his family has owned for generations.

"Although we had industry competitors, there was a strong sense of collegiality. I learned that there's a lot more advantage to building bridges rather than tearing them down."

Bruce believes that his biggest accomplishments were the small things he was able to do for the citizens of Simcoe County, like benefits or program funding he helped them get. "They are the stories that never make the news, but they were important to those individuals," he says.

 Deputy Speaker Bruce Stanton"His character, his humility, and his service are the things I will always think about when I think of Bruce Stanton," Duncan says.

The Bruce Stanton Public Service Bursary will be awarded annually to a Lakehead Orillia student studying in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences who has shown commitment to their community.

An Outstanding Deputy Speaker: "The mark of a democratic system is that everyone will have different ideas about how to improve the quality of life, so we shouldn't put other people's ideas down," Bruce says.


Contact Jacquie Kent at 705-330-4010, Ext. 2080 or if you'd like to make a gift that transforms a student's life.

Paying it Forward: The William G. Tamblyn Legacy Society

William G. Tamblyn headshot

The William G. Tamblyn Legacy Society was launched on October 2, 2015, to celebrate the people who are making postsecondary education possible.  The Legacy Society recognizes donors leaving a gift in their estate to Lakehead University - and connects them to special events, presentations, and seminars throughout the year.  

Legacy gifts - gifts made after one's lifetime - help students of all backgrounds and are essential to ensuring Lakehead University's sustainability.  They can include portions of assets such as savings, investments, real estate, retirement plan benefits, life insurance policies, and personal property.  Every donor is able to choose the specific area their gift will be used to support.  

Fittingly, the Society is named after a man who was passionate about Northwestern Ontario and Lakehead University - our first president, William (Bill) Tamblyn.  Bill was an engineer, businessman, and community leader.  "My father was very energetic and driven by curiosity," says his son David Tamblyn, a current member of Lakehead's Board of Directors.

Between 1965 and 1972, Bill oversaw the establishment and dramatic expansion of Lakehead University.  In a 1966 report to the Board of Governors, President Tamblyn noted:

"Lakehead University was created to fill the void of higher education facilities which was limited the opportunities of young people and indeed the entire potential of Northwestern Ontario for so many years."

Although David was just five years old when his father became Lakehead's president, he has many memories of the early years of the Thunder Bay campus - including its construction.  "I remember a bulldozer sinking into the mud without a trace when the lake behind the Centennial Building was being dug," David says.

5 year-old David Tamblyn with his father, William Under Bill Tamblyn's leadership, Lakehead transformed from a small college with less than 500 full-time students into a flourishing university with 3,000 full-time students.  Bill's enthusiasm was contagious.  "We saw the school as our seventh sibling," David says.  The Tamblyn's links to the University deepened when David (BA'84, HBA'86, BEd.'88) and four of his brothers and sisters became Lakehead students themselves.  

Before Bill Tamblyn passed away in 2009, he lived to see the opening of a second campus in Orillia, Ontario, and the evolution of Lakehead into a truly comprehensive research university.  His vision of young people being able to study in their own communities had been realized. This is the vision the William G. Tamblyn Legacy Society is building upon.  


Pictured above:  Bill Tamblyn relaxes at home with his son David in 1969.

Already, donors are using legacy gifts in their long-term tax and estate planning to benefit themselves, Lakehead, and the community in life-changing ways.  "That's why," says David, "I believe this new endeavour will become an integral part of Lakehead's future development."

Contact Lee-Anne Camlin at 807-346-7792 or email to learn more about the William G. Tamblyn Legacy Society.

The Inaugural Naysmith Scholar: Preparing Students to be Leaders in Natural Resources Stewardship

Dr. Naysmith poses with Julia Ieropoli

Forests from the Canadian north to the southern tropics protect every aspect of our global ecosystem.  Trees play a key role in carbon storage, flood control, soil stability, and clean air and water.

No one understands this better from empirical example than Dr. John Naysmith - the former director of Lakehead's School of Forestry and the founding dean of the Faculty of Forestry.

Now Dr. Naysmith's daughter Jean-Ann and son-in-law Bob Rooney have established an endowment, to which John's wife Etoile immediately made a substantial contribution, to honour John Naysmith's legacy.

On September 30, 2016, Lakehead University announced that $2,000 will be awarded annually to the individual selected as the Naysmith Scholar - an Honours Bachelor of Science in Forestry or Honours Bachelor of Environmental Management student who has completed their third year.

"This award will further encourage Lakehead students to cultivate informed dialogue concerning global human needs and nature's capacity to meet them," Dr. Naysmith explains.

His love of forests is longstanding.  In 1947 while still a high school student, he had a summer job with an Abitibi Power and Paper Company timber cruising party responsible for sampling tree stands.  The job entailed walking through dense forest, sleeping in tents, and canoeing uncharted water.  "I loved every minute of it," Dr. Naysmith says.

Since then, he has helped transform and strengthen the field of natural resources.  One of his internationally-recognized achievements was his leadership in the development and writing of the National Conservation Strategy for Nepal.  Another fulfilling aspect of his career has been working with Lakehead students.  "They were so enthusiastic - it was inspiring for me." 

In the 1990s, Dr. Naysmith established an international exchange program involving students from Lakehead, Ghana in West Africa, and Nepal in Southeast Asia.  "This sparked discussion between young people from different parts of the world about approaches to forest stewardship," he says.

Dr. Naysmith's continuing relationship with Lakehead includes judging undergraduate thesis presentations.  "The skill with which these young people express themselves is remarkable - their ability to connect with others is precisely what is needed today."

Julia Ieropoli is awarded the inaugural Naysmith ScholarshipThat's why he is so thrilled with Julia Ieropoli, a fourth-year forestry student and the inaugural Naysmith Scholar.  Julia is the co-president of the Lakehead Natural Resources Student Society and she's currently organizing a symposium on stewardship.


Pictured above (l. to r.):  Bob Rooney, Jean-Ann Naysmith Rooney, Dr. John Naysmith, Julia Ieropoli, Lakehead President Brian Stevenson, Natural Resources Management Dean Ulf Runesson, and Sasha Naysmith McMonagle (Dr. Naysmith's granddaughter.)

"It's been amazing to get to know Dr. Naysmith," Julia says.  "I wish I'd had the opportunity to have a class with him.  He's so intelligent and such a gentleman - there's really no one like him."  When she graduates in June 2017, Julia will be working as an assistant forest engineer for a forestry company on Vancouver Island.  

You can contribute to the well-being of our planet and its people by making a gift to the Naysmith Scholar endowment fund.  Please contact Meghan Hanbury at 807-343-8010 x. 8910 or by email at

Derek and Joan Burney's Lakehead Legacy

Derek and Joan Burney

When the official portrait of Lakehead University's eighth chancellor, Dr. Derek Burney, was recently unveiled he quipped, "It's not every day of the year that you get to participate in your own hanging and live to talk about it."

Derek and Joan Burney are passionate Lakehead supporters who have helped the University take a giant leap forward.  This isn't surprising given that Dr. Burney has been part of historic achievements such as negotiating the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.  

The Burneys became prominent figures in Canadian public life during Derek's career with the federal government, which included posts as deputy minister of external affairs and ambassador to the United States.  Since leaving the civil service, Dr. Burney has become an influential private sector strategist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.  

Derek and Joan share a belief in the transformative power of postsecondary education. "If I've learned one thing from travelling to places like Japan, Korea, and the United States, as well as living in Canada, " says Dr. Burney, "it's that apart from DNA, the quality of education is what really determines success."

The couple also has deep connection to Northwestern Ontario.  They're both from what is now the City of Thunder Bay, but from opposite sides of town.  Derek grew up in Fort William while Joan grew up in Port Arthur - communities that had a long-running, yet friendly, rivalry.

Since being installed as chancellor in 2013, Dr. Burney has elevated Lakehead's profile throughout Canada, shaken the hands of over 8,000 graduating students, and been a stellar fundraiser.  

As a member of Lakehead's law cabinet, Derek has helped raise significant funds.  He was instrumental in securing the lead gift from Norton Rose Fulbright LLP where he holds the position of senior strategic advisor.  His influence and contacts allowed Lakehead to attract financial support for vitally needed student scholarships and capital improvements.  

Derek and Joan have not only been advocates for Lakehead, but also extremely generous donors. "It's very important that Lakehead continues to inspire better teaching and better learning," explains Dr. Burney, "so that the students of today - the citizens of tomorrow - will make Canada a better country."

Their gifts have gone to Faculty of Law scholarships and they donated $150,000 to establish The Derek and Joan Burney Postdoctoral Fellowship at Lakehead's Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Mining and Exploration (CESME). Dr. Karl Skogstad, the first postdoctoral fellow, is conducting crucial research on the economic impact of mining in Northern Ontario.  "Joan and I are convinced that CESME will be a catalyst for responsible mining development," says Dr. Burney.

Portrait of Chancellor Dr. Derek BurneyAlthough the March 2, 2017, portrait unveiling marked Dr. Burney's retirement as chancellor, he has been bestowed the title of chancellor emeritus.  In this new role, he and Joan will continue to work with the University on issues that are close to their hearts. 

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my time as chancellor," said Dr. Burney. "When Joan and I left the region, it was still the Lakehead College of Arts, Science and Technology.  Since then, Lakehead has become a major economic and social power in Northwestern and Central Ontario."

The Gary Koreen Engineering Award

Gary and Mary Margaret Koreen

"A lot of university students are struggling financially," says Lakehead alumnus and donor Gary Koreen of London, Ontario.  "My wife Mary Margaret and I wanted to do something meaningful to help them."

The community-spirited couple has made a $100,000 gift to establish the Gary Koreen Engineering Award, open to domestic and international students transferring to Lakehead from an engineering technology program.  

This annual award will lend a hand to students who have completed Lakehead's college transfer program and are entering into the third year of the University's post-diploma engineering degree program.  

Gary believes Lakehead is one of the reasons he became a successful engineer and influential Canadian businessman.  In 1958, he took Lakehead's then one-year engineering program when it was still the Lakehead College of Arts, Science and Technology.  "I think my tuition was $200 or $300 - today, you wouldn't get a week at any university for that amount."

Gary grew up in Thunder Bay and spent a lot of his childhood at the Port Arthur Shipyard where his father was a draftsman and eventually chief engineer.  Watching colossal Great Lakes freighters being built and working at the Shipyard for two summers, "got engineering into my blood," Gary says.

After he finished high school, he went to Lakehead's fledgling Oliver Road campus. "There was only one building and a cafeteria," Gary recalls.  "When I visited last yer, I couldn't find the original building - it's such a vast and beautiful complex now." It was a challenging curriculum, but Gary excelled.  Once he completed the program he transferred to the University of Manitoba where he graduated in Electrical Engineering in 1962.  

His university education completely opened up Gary's future.  When he finished his degree, he accepted a position in the Design Department of Northern Electric in London, Ontario.  

In 1969, his father-in-law Frank Leahy, president and owner of O-Pee-Chee Company, asked Gary to join this well-known confectionary and sports card manufacturer as plant manager.  On Frank's death in 1980, Gary purchased the company.  Then, after several years of growth, he consolidated several small O-Pee-Chee plants into one large modern facility.  Following numerous joint ventures manufacturing and marketing Nestle products, Nestle Canada purchased O-Pee-Chee in 1996, allowing Gary to retire.  

The sale enabled Gary and Mary Margaret to become even more active in their community.  Through their philanthropic and volunteer work, they've helped many people and organizations in Southwestern Ontario.  Now they are hoping to transform live in Northwestern Ontario.  When Gary and Mary Margaret visited Thunder Bay during the 2016 Labour Day weekend, Gary was keen to check out his old alma mater. "Lakehead has meant as much to me as any other school I've attended, so I decided to establish a meaningful engineering scholarship."

The Gary Koreen Engineering Award fills an important gap.  College transfer students aren't eligible for entrance awards because they don't come to Lakehead directly from high school, but this award is open to all college engineering students who meet the academic requirements and demonstrate financial need. 

Gary and Mary Margaret Koreen's generosity is already having an impact - the first award recipient will be chose in the 2017/2018 academic year. 

"We've been fortunate in our lives," Gary says, "and we'd like to share this good fortune with generations to come."


Diane and Ron Watson: Community Champions

Ron and Diane Watson

Diane and Ron Watson are celebrating 40 years of marriage in July 2018 but instead of focusing on themselves, they are concentrating on the next generation.

Over the last few years, the Thunder Bay couple have established seven funds at Lakehead that have benefitted our students and varsity athletes as well as students in need of emergency funding due to personal or financial hardships.  The Watsons have ensured the sustainability of these funds through a gift in their will - allowing them to leave a lasting legacy.

Why are they such unwavering and generous supporters of Lakehead students? "I want to be a role model who motivates other community members to donate to young peoples' education," Diane says. "We want to leave a legacy of good," Ron adds.

The couple are longstanding advocates of a university education.  Diane a Lakehead alumna, believes that "postsecondary education teaches critical thinking and fosters a more resilient society."  Ron, for his part, is convinced that "university opens up a lot of career fields and gives you control over your life." 

Their committment to Lakehead is rooted in their own experiences - both Diane and Ron faced major financial hurdles on the road to university.  Diane's family teetered on the edge of poverty. "I never saw my father because he had two jobs," she says, "and my mother was blind so I had to help take care of her."

Things weren't any easier when she was at Lakehead. "I had a full program of arts, science, and practical work as well as a job." Diane says. "I was so stressed." Despite those challenges, she graduate in 1971 at the top of her class with a diploma in Library Technology and then worked in Lakehead's Faculty of Education library.  "It was definitely the best job I ever had."

Ron, who is a York university grad, was confronted by similar obstacles and at one point had to drop out of school until he could earn more tuition money.  "I was a jock in university and sports were the only thing that relieved stress."

Diane and Ron would go on to run an extremely successful pizza business before selling it and retiring while still in their 50s.  The two became active volunteers and philanthropists dedicated to community service.  "Our philosophy is to help others and hope that someday they will be in a position to pay it forward," Ron explains. 

"Our family is the family of man," Diane says. "People should remember that you can't take money with you, so why not use it for the betterment of others?" She also has some advice for graduating students and alumni. "Find a job that's your passion and you'll be happy for the rest of your life."

Thank you Diane and Ron Watson for Leaving a Lakehead Legacy:

  • Diane & Ron Watson Bursary
  • Diane Buhlman Scholarship in Education
  • Diane and Ron Watson Emergency Bursary
  • Diane and Ron Watson First Responder Bursary
  • Shirley and Fred Buhlman Athletic Scholarship
  • Diane and Ron Watson Student Athlete Enhancement Fund
  • Diane and Ron Watson Student Athlete Mental Health Fund
What kind of legacy would you like to create?

Please call Lee-Anne Camlin, Philanthropy Associate, for more information.


T: 807-343-7792


The Shirley (Ricketts) Symington Memorial Nursing Award

The Symingtons with their daughter Sarah

It was a January day in one of the remotest corners on Earth and Shirley Symington was in her element.

She, her husband Jim, and their daughter Sarah had sailed from Argentina to the frigid Southern Ocean before disembarking with their fellow tourists at an island off the Antarctic coast. They were soon walking through a colony of thousands of squawking king penguins. The three-foot-tall birds were completely unperturbed by the visitors in bright red parkas.

“Antarctica has incredible wildlife – seals, whales, and birds,” Jim says. “It was a thrill to see them.”

For Shirley – a passionate animal lover – going to Antarctica had been one of her long-held dreams. “She was an adventurous and feisty lady,” Jim explains. Before she passed away on July 13, 2018, Shirley, a retired nurse, and Jim, a retired chartered accountant and financial controller, had travelled throughout the globe. “We’ve been to Antarctica twice as well as Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Arctic,” Jim says, “but Africa and Antarctica were Shirley’s favourite destinations.”

Jim is now honouring Shirley’s bold spirit and her community leadership by establishing the Shirley (Ricketts) Symington Memorial Nursing Award.

“I’d like to leave something for our children, our grandchildren, and the people whose lives she touched to remember her by,” he says.

Shirley’s long nursing career ranged from home visiting and hospital care to teaching and public health. She was also a dedicated Girl Guide leader and an active member of many Thunder Bay organizations.

“She was a very caring person – it showed in her work and how she treated people,” Jim says.

Shirley grew up in London, Ontario, and met her future husband while they were both working in Toronto. Jim was sharing an apartment with two friends and Shirley was living on the same floor with two roommates as well.

“One evening we were having a party and we needed a cup of gin,” Jim recalls. “I asked my roommates to borrow some.”

They knocked on all the doors along the corridor before reaching Shirley’s place. Fortunately, she had some gin to spare and a lifelong partnership was born. After they had children, Shirley and Jim moved to Thunder Bay – Jim was originally from Northwestern Ontario and they thought it would be a good place to raise a family. It didn’t take long for the couple to become vital members of the community.

Jim and Shirley Symington at their home in Thunder BayShirley and Jim Symington’s commitment to their hometown prompted them to become generous Lakehead University supporters. They have donated to multiple awards and bursaries because

“Lakehead allows a lot more young people in this area to get an excellent postsecondary education,” Jim says. “Many of my classmates couldn’t afford university even though they had the ability.”


Pictured above:  Shirley and Jim Symington enjoy a summer afternoon at their home in Thunder Bay.

The new Shirley (Ricketts) Symington Memorial Nursing Award will be given to a fourth-year nursing student from Northwestern Ontario with demonstrated financial need to assist with the travel costs of an international clinical placement.

“When the School of Nursing told me about their overseas clinical program,” Jim says, “I thought it would be a good idea to help a student nurse see life from a different perspective and get their clinical training at the same time – and it epitomizes who Shirley was. She would be very proud of this award.”




To learn more about how you can support Lakehead nursing students who will provide critical health care, please contact:

Kathryn Davidson, Philanthropy Director


T: (807) 343-8476