Lakehead Researcher’s Film about Innocent Man sent to Prison

Department of History Honours Alumni and Community Partners

20 September 2013 - Thunder Bay
The Department of History's inaugural Alumni Honour and Community Partnership Awards were given out at the Study Coffee House on Thursday, Sept. 19.

Roy Piovesana (BA 65, MA 69) and Jean Morrison (MA 74) were each presented with a departmental Alumni Honour Award in recognition of their distinguished achievements.

The Department also presented the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society with a Community Partnership Award for the important role in the establishment and continuing success of its undergraduate and graduate programs.

In addition to being one of the inaugural graduates from Lakehead in 1965, Roy was also the first student at the university to be granted a Master of Arts Degree in History in 1969. The author of six books and numerous articles, he has been a driving force in the preservation, promotion, and, having taught for over 38 years in the Lakehead Public School Board, teaching of history within Thunder Bay. His involvements regionally and nationally include serving on the board of directors of the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society (a past president), Thunder Bay Art Gallery (a past president), Old Fort William Advisory Committee, Lakehead Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee, the Institute of Italian Studies, and many more. Nationally, he served for more than a decade as a trustee of the Canadian Museum of Nature. Currently, he is the Director of the Archives of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Thunder Bay.

Jean Morrison (MA 1974) is respected both regionally and nationally for her work in the fields of Canadian labour history and in the history of the fur trade. Jean arrived in what was then Port Arthur in 1966 when her husband, the late Ken Morrison, took up a position at the new Lakehead University. Her graduate work exploring Thunder Bay's diverse labour and social history was ground-breaking, bringing the region to the attention of historians across North America. Between 1975 and 1990, she was the historical researcher at Old Fort William where she was not only responsible for much of its international accolades but also established herself as one of the country's foremost experts in the fur trade. Her volunteerism in the community is legendary, in particular since 1948 when she became actively involved in the Canadian labour and peace movements.

Established in 1908, the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society is one of the oldest of its kind in Canada. One of the country's best mid-size museums, generations of students, graduates, and faculty have benefitted from the Society's goal to serve both the city and district of Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario, Canada, and to preserve the history of the entire region. Today it is an active, efficient organization that operates as a museum, an archives, and a historical society, and offers a wide range of programs and services in each area.

Dr. Valerie Hébert Awarded SSHRC Grant

17 September 2013 - Orillia and Thunder Bay

Congratulations to Dr. Valerie Hébert for being awarded a SSHRC Insight Development Grant for her project "Post-Atrocity Justice in Colonial French Congo: The Gaud-Toqué Affair, 1903-1905." Her project will study nascent transnational culture around human rights through the lens of protests against colonial atrocities in French Congo.

History Professor Elected to Ontario Historical Society Board

23 June 2013 - Thunder Bay
Michel S. Beaulieu, Chair and Associate Professor of History, has been elected to the Ontario Historical Society's Board of Directors. Established in 1888, the society is the foremost historical organization in the province, providing a forum for individuals,organizations and institutions to exchange ideas, research and experiences related to the rich  history of the province, including artifacts, architecture, folklore, social history, archives and archaeology. More information
about its activities can be found at

History Professor Elected to Executive of CASID

21 June 2013 - Thunder Bay
Ronald Harpelle, Professor of History, has been elected to serve as a member at large of the Executive Committee for the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID). CASID is a national, bilingual, interdisciplinary and pluralistic association devoted to the promotion of new knowledge in the broad field of international development. It's executive board is drawn from the membership ranks, the CASID annual conference is organized principally for and by members, CASID members contribute to the Canadian Journal for Development Studies, and much of the news, updates, and publication information found on this website is generated and contributed by CASID members.  More information about CASID can be found at

Alumnus Hired as CAO of Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society

12 June 2013 - Thunder Bay
The Department is pleased to announce that Alumnus and current Master of Arts student Nick Sottile (BA 2005; HBA 2009) has joined the staff of the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society as Chief Administrative Officer, effective June 1.
Nick, previously the manager of publicity and marketing for Magnus Theatre, has also worked as a high school teacher and a graphic designer. He has experience in the areas of fundraising, marketing, grant writing, social media and administration, experience that should greatly benefit the Museum's operations. Nick is currently in the final stages of completing his Master of Arts under the supervision of Dr. Michel S. Beaulieu where his specialty is the history of single-industry towns in Northwestern Ontario.

Dean's Scholar Award Winner

The Department of History is pleased to announce that Kimberly Shirley (HBA 2013) is the inaugural recipient of the Dean's Scholar Award for the Department of History.  The award is presented each year to the student with the highest standing in each undergraduate academic department. Each recipient receives a Lakehead University scholar pin, a certificate of achievement, and is acknowledged as part of the convocation ceremony.

MA Student Wins President's Award

1 June 2013 - Thunder Bay
The Department of History is proud to announce that graduating Masters student Ulysses Patola is the winner of the 2013 President's Award (Graduate).
The President's Award (Graduate) is given annually to full- or part-time student graduating with a Masters or Doctoral degree on the basis of academic performance. The student must have occupied a position of responsibility in any student organization and/or by their activities and achievements, have made contributions that have earned the special gratitude of a Department, School, Faculty and/or the University.

This is the second straight year a graduating student has been awarded a President's Award, one of the highest honours given to graduating students.

History Professor Comments in Globe and Mail on Future of Crown Corporation

29 May 2013 - Thunder Bay
Professor Ronald Harpelle discusses with the Globe and Mail the International Development Research Centre's (IDRC) unique organizational approach and its contribution to research in the developing world. Harpelle, along with former Lakehead History Professor Bruce Muirhead, are the author's of IDRC :40 Years of Ideas, Innovation, and Impact (Laurier University Press) andCRDI: 40 ans d'idées, d'innovations et d'impacts (Laval University Press). They were also the researchers and interviewers for the 6 parts series for TFO "Citoyens du monde / Citizens of the World

An Ambassador of Freedom

22 May 2013 - Thunder Bay
First year student Hannah Pilon (HBA/BEd) loves studying history. Not satisfied with merely reading about the Canadian contributions during the Second World War, she began her summer by participating in the Liberation Cycle Tour. Selected as one of 50 students - both Dutch and Canadian - to participate in this experience, she spent late April and early May touring some of the most important Second World War locations.
Starting in Normandy (Juno Beach) Hannah visited (to name a few) Ypres, Vimy Ridge, the Ardennes, Nijmegen (Waal Bridge) and Arnhem (John Frost Bridge), and Zutphen/Warnsveld (Russell Jackson story). She ended her tour in Markelo on Queen's Day where the Minster of Defence visited them and announced they were all now Ambassadors of Freedom. Below, in Hannah's own words, are her reflections on what she experience, saw, and its effect. Pilon Image 2
"In April of this year, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Europe (particularly France, Belgium & the Netherlands) to participate in the "Frank Graham Cycle Liberation Tour" a cycling tour that was organized in honour of Canadian veteran Frank Graham. 
We began our tour cycling to Juno Beach and continued through France visiting significant Canadian battle locations from both the First and Second World Wars, such as Dieppe and Vimy Ridge along with Juno Beach. Visiting these places in France was an amazing experience as all of us Pilon  - Vimy MemorialCanadians on the trip had always learned about these areas throughout school, but actually being there was one of the best learning experiences I have ever had.

We continued our tour in Belgium, visiting Ypres, a city that was completely destroyed in the First World War. While there our group had the honour of participating in the daily remembrance ceremony at the Menin Gate on ANZAC Day. It was a greatly emotional and humbling experience to be there and an honour to lay a wreath during the ceremony.

As we continued through into the Netherlands, we visited Arnhem, Groesbeek and Nijmegen. At all of these locations we learned a lot about Operation Market Garden, Pilon Image 5a huge operation that was successful in certain areas but was still seen as a failure. In Nijmegen, Frank along with two other Canadian veterans, Bert Reynolds and Lock Laurie, joined up with our group. We were able to have a little ceremony on the banks of the Waal River, under the bridge where Frank was injured during the war. Again, a very emotional day!

We were welcomed with open arms when we finished the tour in Markelo, a small town of 7000 in the province of Overijssel. We participated in the local Queen's Day festivities as well as activities on Liberation Day (May 5th). On the Pilon Image 13rd of May, the Minister of Defence visited our group and announced that we were all now Ambassadors of Freedom. She, along with Frank, awarded each one of us as well as our crew with medals and certificates.

This trip has taught me so much, that sometimes a classroom just can't. We were able to learn so much and it forever changed Pilon Image 4my life. Throughout the trip, we not only were able to learn a lot, but all of us cyclists became a family. We went through happy times full of laughter to very emotional times where we were all crying. I could not have asked for a better group of people to go on this amazing journey with. Frank was worried that the young people would forget what the Canadians did and what the Dutch had to endure, but after this trip, all of us cyclists can now say that that won't be the case! This trip was, as Frank would say, "UNBELIEVABLE!""
A desire to take part in these types of experiences is what sets Lakehead History students apart.