Welcome to the second all-digital version of Journey! When we first relaunched Lakehead University's alumni and friends magazine in 2016 as Journey, little did we know how aptly named it would be. As we prepare to enter the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are sure you will all agree that these last 12 months have been quite a journey.
Throughout the fall, and into the winter, there have been many virtual "firsts" for Lakehead. Some are captured on these pages, and a few deserve a special shout-out.
The first Virtual AGM of the Alumni Association of Lakehead University was held on Monday September 21 at 6 pm (EST). The event was attended by 50 alumni and friends, and featured greetings by Lakehead's President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Moira McPherson, a Year-In-Review by Alumni Association Executive Director Mark Tilbury, and a special question and answer session with Lakehead alumna and Canada's Minister of Health, the Hon. Patty Hajdu.
During the formal business portion of the meeting, the Board bid farewell and offered thanks to retiring Board members Michel Beaulieu, Chris Vaillant, Chris DaSilva, Peter Lau, and Nancy Angus, who between them, have over 35 years of service to the Alumni Association. Also, during the business portion, we welcomed five new Board members: Annette Butikofer, Jamie Dennison, Dr. Jouni Kraft, Nathan Lawrence, and Carmen Pekkarinen (from Finland).
Virtual Homecoming and Alumni Honours
Homecoming was another first this year, with all events taking place virtually. The signature event was Lakehead Celebrates on Friday evening where we honoured our award recipients (featured in this issue) and highlighted our distinguished student athletes. During the event we also featured two of our talented student musicians and were treated to a special performance by award recipient Matt Sellick. Throughout the three days there were several Alumni Speakers Series events, all of which were well attended. In addition, the GTA Chapter and the Simcoe County Chapter hosted trivia events, music bingo, beer tasting, and other events that were open to all alumni, anywhere in the world. Plans are underway to incorporate "virtual" activities into future Homecoming Weekends, even when in-person events are resumed.
10,000 Coffees – Lakehead Connect
We are halfway through the second year of our alumni/student mentoring platform – Lakehead Connect, powered by 10,000 Coffees, and funded by RBC Futurelaunch. At the yearly program review, our 10,000 Coffees account manager shared some extraordinary news – Lakehead ranks first among postsecondary institutions across the country in every metric they use. In the Introductions Made category, the 12-month average is 3,000 introductions; Lakehead's number is 10,289. In the Messages Sent category, the average is 1,500-2,000; Lakehead has hit 3,645, and in the Reported they Met category, we doubled the platform average.
As we enter the second year of these unusual times, we see some light on the horizon. We are looking forward to the resumption of in-person alumni engagement events, while continuing to develop a variety of virtual events for you to participate in, regardless of your location. Watch for details about our Alumni Speakers Series, starting in March, a Homecoming announcement later in the year, and many other exciting events to come.
Mark Tilbury, HBCom'94
Executive Director, Alumni Association of Lakehead University
Karen Boz, BAdmin'92
President, Alumni Association