The impact of Lakehead University on Thunder Bay is massive

Lakehead University

Lakehead University

THUNDER BAY – The impact of Lakehead University on Thunder Bay is massive. From research, to sports the reach of the institution is a far reaching one. The Thunderwolves sports teams take the image of our city across Canada and around the world. The research at LU is impacting our world. The economic impact of Lakehead is huge.

Lakehead University’s 2011-2012 Report to the Community extols how innovative people, impressive achievements and forward momentum have made the past year a shining success while promising even more for the future.

The web-based report also outlines the many benefits resulting from the various relationships and partnerships between Lakehead and the people and communities of Northwestern Ontario.

“This report celebrates the enormous contribution Lakehead University makes to the economic, social and cultural life of the communities around us,” says Cam Clark, chair of the Lakehead University Board of Governors. “Our Draft Strategic Plan for 2013-2018 will only strengthen our community outreach and economic development initiatives.”

BDO Canada LLP has been an important partner with Lakehead University through an annual bursary given to accounting students. BDO Canada Office Managing Partner Blair Smith spoke about the importance of Lakehead University at the Report to the Community breakfast.

Lakehead University

“In the 12 years since my wife and I moved here, it’s amazing how much Lakehead has grown and helped the City and region move through some extremely difficult economic times,” Smith says.

“Times would have been much worse without the benefits that Lakehead has provided, whether it’s through the ever-expanding student enrolment, the medical school or the continuing focus on research and development.

All of these factors have helped alter our local economy and move us forward into a new economic reality,” Smith adds. 

BDO Canada Office Manager Blair Smith spoke
about the positive benefits Lakehead University
provides to communities.

Lakehead has experienced consistent enrolment growth over the past decade and   the University’s undergraduate employment rates have remained above the provincial average since 2006.

“These benchmarks illustrate the quality education our comprehensive University provides to our students, resulting in the excellent chance Lakehead graduates have of finding employment in their chosen field of study,” says President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Brian Stevenson.

LU Communications“A large part of the enrolment growth and above-average employment rate can be attributed to partnerships with donors, government, companies, community organizations and other funders integral to Lakehead’s success,” Dr. Stevenson added.

Lakehead also plays an important role in the local economy through its operating expenditures, which had an economic impact of $326.5 million on the City of Thunder Bay in 2011-2012. More than 50 per cent of Lakehead students come from outside Northwestern Ontario, mostly from the Greater Toronto Area and surrounding communities, injecting $84.3 million of new money into the City of Thunder Bay over the past year.

Student Winta Desta talked about how beneficial
scholarships and bursaries can be to assist with the cost
of tuition

One of the many achievements being recognized in the Report to the Community is Lakehead’s new Faculty of Law, which was given the green light from the Province in July 2011 to become the first new law school in Ontario in 42 years.

“When the Faculty of Law opens next September it will benefit all of Northwestern Ontario, including Aboriginal people and those in the Far North,” says Dr. Stevenson. “Many of the lawyers educated at the Faculty of Law will practice in Northwestern Ontario.

“It’s important for people to understand the critical role Lakehead plays in improving our community through education and research – both of which improve the economy,” Dr. Stevenson adds. “I am humbled by the level of community support for this institution and proudof the responsibility Lakehead has to our community.”

The Report to the Community consists of an innovative website ( and brochure that celebrate Lakehead’s accomplishments during Dr. Stevenson’s second year as President and Vice-Chancellor.

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