Lakehead University

Lakehead University is a public research university with campuses in Thunder Bay and Orillia, Ontario, Canada. Lakehead University, shortened to 'Lakehead U', or 'LU', is non-denominational and provincially supported. It has undergraduate programs, graduate programs, the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, the only internationally accredited (AACSB) business school in northern Ontario, and is home to the western campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

Lakehead University
MottoPer Angusta Ad Augusta
Motto in English
Through Trials to Triumph
TypePublic university
EstablishedLakehead University 1965; Lakehead Technical Institute 1946
Endowment$31.14 million
ChancellorLyn McLeod
PresidentDr. Moira McPherson
Academic staff
319 (full time)[1]
Administrative staff
955 Oliver Road, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada P7B 5E1
, , ,

48°25′17″N 89°15′38″W
ColoursCobalt and Blaze[2]          
AffiliationsAUCC, IAU, COU, CIS, UArctic, ACU, CUSID, OUA, AUFSC, Ontario Network of Women in engineering,IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) CBIE, CUP, CFS
SportsLakehead Thunderwolves
MascotThe Thunderwolf

Lakehead has more than 45,000 alumni. The main campus in Thunder Bay has about 7,900 students. As of September 2006, a new permanent extension campus in Orillia, located about 150 kilometres (93 mi) north of Toronto, has about 1,400 students.


Lakehead University evolved from Lakehead Technical Institute and Lakehead College of Arts, Science, and Technology. [3] Lakehead Technical Institute was established in response to a brief that outlined the need for an institution of higher education in northwestern Ontario.[4] It was established on June 4, 1946, by an Order-in-Council of the Province of Ontario. Classes commenced in January 1948, in temporary rented quarters in downtown Port Arthur. In September of that same year, the first university courses were added to the curriculum.[5]

Lakehead College of Arts, Science and Technology was established by an Act of the Ontario Legislature proclaimed on August 1, 1957.[6] Years later, the original Lakehead College of Arts, Science and Technology Act was amended to grant the college authority to establish new faculties, and confer degrees in arts and sciences.[5] The Lakehead University Act, 1965, was given royal assent on June 22, 1965, and came into force on July 1, 1965. The Lakehead College of Arts, Science and Technology, thereafter known as "Lakehead University," was continued under this new charter. The first degrees were conferred on May 5, 1965. The first university chancellor was Senator Norman McLeod Paterson.[7]


Thunder Bay campus

The original college site comprised about 32 hectares of land in south-west Port Arthur, Ontario. From 1962 to 1965, an additional 87 hectares of adjoining land was purchased in anticipation of future expansion. The first building was opened in 1957.

In 2005 the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) was formed as a joint initiative between Lakehead University and Laurentian University in Sudbury organized within the Faculty of Medicine of both Laurentian (East Campus) and Lakehead (West Campus) universities. The medical school has multiple teaching and research sites across Northern Ontario, including large and small communities. Students are given a choice of attending either one of the two main NOSM campuses. NOSM is the only Canadian medical school to be established as a stand-alone not-for-profit corporation, with its own Board of Directors and corporation bylaws.

A new law school was established; the faculty accepted its first students in 2013.[8] The program is housed in the former Port Arthur Collegiate Institute. In 2014 it was named the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, after the fourteenth Chief Justice of Canada.

Lakehead University's physical plant now consists of 39 buildings and 116 hectares of property including 40 hectares of landscaped and maintained grounds.

Orillia campus

Lakehead University opened a campus at Heritage Place in Downtown Orillia in 2006; during the first semester there were about 100 students.

In September 2010 the university expanded to its new 500 University Avenue location. A new academic building at this site represents the first phase in the development of Canada’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum university campus. A 271-bed student residence building and a cafeteria/bookstore facility opened in November 2012 at the University Avenue site. Lakehead Orillia now has over 1,200 students studying at the Heritage Place and University Avenue sites.[9] Undergraduate programs are offered at the 500 University Avenue site, while the professional year of Lakehead Orillia’s education programs are offered at the downtown campus.


Accommodations at Lakehead are divided into three living styles: residence halls, apartments and townhouses. The Thunder Bay residence currently has a total of 1,196 beds and three cafeteria/dining halls. Students can choose from meal options that range from kitchenette, full-kitchen and complete meal plan depending on the residence styles.

The men's residence for 52 students was opened in fall of 1962, and has grown to include a residence village consisting of 10 new buildings. The village is situated on the banks of the McIntyre River within five-minute walking distance of all university buildings and athletic facilities.

From 1989 to 1992, a complex of townhouses, including some handicap accessible units, was added to the residence facility.

A 271-bed residence in Orillia opened its doors in late Fall 2012. The Orillia residence has one mandatory meal plan for students, as well as one cafeteria, owned by Madison County.

Agricultural Research Station

The university supports a research station near Thunder Bay to test newly developed crop varieties.[10] The station had been in operation for a number of years, and was officially taken over by the university in 2018.[11]

Academic organization

University rankings
Global rankings
ARWU World[12]901–1000
Times World[13]601–800
U.S News & World Report Global[14]1172
Canadian rankings
ARWU National[12]27–28
Times National[13]22–28
U.S News & World Report National[14]31
Maclean's Undergrad[15]8

The university has nine faculties: Business Administration, Education, Engineering,[16] Natural Resources Management, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, Science and Environmental Studies, Social Sciences and Humanities, Medicine, and Graduate Studies. The Faculty of Law welcomed its first students in September 2013.[17]

Based on full-time undergraduate enrollment, the Social Sciences & Humanities is the largest faculty at Lakehead, with about 30% of the students, followed by Health and Behavioral Sciences, Science & Environmental Studies, Engineering, Education, and Business Administration. Two small faculties are Natural Resources Management and Medicine, each with less than 2% of the student enrollment.


As a percentage of total student population, Lakehead University has one of the largest aboriginal student communities in Canada. The university has a governing board with senate policies along with Aboriginal-governed councils within its university governance structure. Lakehead also offers Aboriginal support including the Office of Aboriginal Initiatives. Special first-year bridging programs for Aboriginal students are provided. Tutoring services are available within Lakehead’s Native Nursing Access Program. There is also the Superior Science Program which goes to remote Aboriginal communities.[18] Lakehead has Canada's only Department of Aboriginal Education to foster Native Language instruction and prepare teachers to meet the needs of Aboriginal students and communities.

Scholarships and bursaries

Lakehead University scholarships for Aboriginal, First Nations and Métis students include: Hamlin Family Fund Nursing Bursaries; Hamlin Family Fund Bursary; Hamlin Family Fund Native Bursary; Lakehead University Native Award; TBayTel Bursary [19]

Apart from these awards, Lakehead University provides entrance scholarships to high school students with marks above 80%, paid out during four years of undergraduate. Lakehead also offers free tuition to students with a 95% average or higher.[20]

Student life

Demographics of student body (2015–16)[21]
Male 44.3%41.8%
Female 55.7%58.2%
Canadian student 95.6%71.7%
International student 4.4%28.3%

Lakehead University Student Union, or LUSU, serves as a governing body for student-run clubs. Students can participate in various activities in clubs ranging from student government to multi-cultural and athletics. LUSU is also responsible for publishing the student newspaper, The Argus, as well as running The Study Coffeehouse and The Outpost Pub. These sites serve as gathering places for many campus community activities and as performance venues.


Lakehead's Thunder Bay campus has two main athletic facilities known as the Fieldhouse and the Hangar. The Fieldhouse contains a main gymnasium, weight room, yoga room, 50-meter swimming pool and change-room facilities. The Hangar has a 200-meter indoor track, soccer field, cardio area, aerobic studio and a climbing wall. Lakehead University is represented in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport league by the Lakehead Thunderwolves. Varsity teams include: Basketball,[22] Cross-Country, Hockey,[23] Nordic Skiing, Track & Field, Volleyball, and Wrestling. It also has club teams including, Men's Volleyball, men's and women's curling, and rowing.

Notable alumni

  • Mason Ainsworth - Orillia City Councillor - At 22 years of age, fourth-year commerce student Mason Ainsworth was elected to Orillia’s city council in 2014.[24]
  • Steve Ashton – Minister of Water Stewardship / MLA Thompson, Government of Manitoba
  • Jan Cameron, Australian swimmer and coach[25]
  • Melissa Coates - Professional Wrestler
  • Ronald J. Duhamel – Former Member of Parliament, Senator
  • Jim Foulds – Former Ontario MPP
  • Patty Hajdu - Member of Parliament, Thunder Bay - Superior North; and Minister
  • Bruce Hyer – Former Member of Parliament – Thunder Bay Superior North
  • Jim Lalonde – Research Director, Codexis[26]
  • Stephen LowIMAX Film maker, Director
  • Eric Melillo - Canadian MP, Kenora Riding, who was elected at the age of 21, in 2019, immediately after finishing his BA.
  • Lyn McLeod – Canadian Politician, Former Cabinet Minister
  • Arnold Park – President & CEO, McCain Foods (Canada) (retired)
  • Gary Polonsky – Founding President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • Michael Rapino – Live Nation Entertainment – CEO (parent company of Ticketmaster)[27]
  • Diane Schoemperlen – novelist
  • Jamie Sokalsky – President and CEO Barrick Gold
  • Don Talbot, Australian swimming coach[28]
  • Denis Turcotte – President & CEO, Algoma Steel
  • Dr. Dolores Wawia – Order of Ontario recipient (2015);

See also


  1. "About Lakehead University". Lakehead University. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  2. "Corporate Colour Palette". Lakehead University. Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  3. "Lakehead University". The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  4. "Lakehead University". Ontario Heritage Trust. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  5. Harold S. Braun with William G. Tamblyn. 'A Northern Vision: The Development of Lakehead University.' Thunder Bay: Lakehead University, President's Office, 1987.
  6. Lakehead University Act
  7. Pound, Richard W. (2005). 'Fitzhenry and Whiteside Book of Canadian Facts and Dates'. Fitzhenry and Whiteside.
  8. "Lakehead wins approval to launch law school". The Globe and Mail, July 5, 2011.
  9. "Lakehead Orillia". Lakehead University. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  10. "Agricultural Research Station growing new and exciting ideas". Thunder Bay Newswatch, Jul 25, 2018 by Doug Diaczuk
  11. "Lakehead University officially on board with research station". Thunder Bay NewsWatch, May 6, 2018, by: Michael Charlebois
  12. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2019". ShanghaiRanking Consultancy. 2019. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  13. "World University Rankings 2020". Times Higher Education. TES Global. 2019. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  14. "Best Global Universities in Canada". U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report, L.P. 21 October 2019. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  15. "Canada's best Comprehensive universities: Rankings 2020". Maclean's. Rogers Media. 3 October 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  16. "Lakehead University engineering students earn 1st place in national competition". Christina Jung · CBC News · Mar 21, 2018
  17. Bradshaw, James (July 5, 2011). "Lakehead wins approval to launch law school". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on September 10, 2011.
  18. "The University of Winnipeg". Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  19. "Aboriginal Bursaries Search Tool". Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  20. "Financing Your Education – Lakehead University". Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  21. "CUDO 2016: Section A - General Information". Lakehead University. 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  22. "Lakehead University signs new men's basketball, hockey coaches". CBC News · May 15, 2018
  23. "Lakehead University names new women's hockey coach". CBC News · Jul 11, 2018
  24. "Ainsworth wins colleagues' support to pursue provincial post". Orillia Matters, May 16, 2018 by: Dave Dawson
  25. "Swimming to Success" (PDF). Sursum Corda. Summer 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 April 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  26. "Jim Lalonde". Google Scholar report
  27. "Interview: Power 100 Top Exec Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino on the Future of Concert Ticket Pricing and Responding to Terrorism". Billboard, January 25/2018 by Dave Brooks
  28. TALBOT (Don) Donald Malcolm, Who's Who in Australia

Further reading

  • Harold S. Braun with William G. Tamblyn. 'A Northern Vision: The Development of Lakehead University.' Thunder Bay: Lakehead University, President's Office, 1987.
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