Unveiling of Laurentian University's Armorial Bearings
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Unveiling of Laurentian University’s Armorial Bearings
Sudbury, Ontario, Wednesday, May 5, 2010
I wanted to come to Northern Ontario to celebrate the vibrancy of the people who built this region of the country with the strength of their hands, their ideas, their convictions and their hopes.
More specifically, I wanted to witness the vitality of the Franco-Ontarian community—the largest Francophone community in Canada outside Quebec—and the deeply rooted Aboriginal communities, with whom you are increasingly establishing real, productive partnerships, as I saw when I was in Hearst and Timmins, and again here in Sudbury.
That said, I could not visit Northern Ontario without coming here, to Laurentian University, one of the few bilingual universities in Canada, an institution that not only imparts knowledge, but brings cultures closer together.
As you may already know, I was on a working visit about a month ago, in Haiti, the island of my birth, a country that is desperately trying to rise from the destruction and come alive again.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Canadians from all across the country, who have so generously responded with initial emergency support and continue to do so for the reconstruction efforts. I know that over $2 million was raised here in northern Ontario.
While I was In Haiti, I met with representatives from the education sector who told me—while also recounting their losses in terms of human lives and infrastructure—how urgently education networks need to be re-established.
They reminded me how essential education is to a country’s reconstruction and self-sufficiency, how powerful education is as an instrument of development, one no society can do without.
And they were not alone.
A little girl, standing amid the rubble, was worried about her school and wanted to know when classes would start up again.
Just like those educators and that little girl, if there is one thing people in this region affirm loud and clear, it is that the future depends on education.
Firmly established in Northern Ontario for half a century, Laurentian University is an education treasure in the region, a place for learning and reflection that gives you the means to work together on the development and renewal of your communities.
It is a role I believe has become even more important, as a number of sectors on which the local economy is based have been hard hit by the economic crisis and this situation requires new ways of thinking and acting.
The new armorial bearings we just unveiled and your motto, “Send forth light and truth,” are proof that Laurentian University is a leading institution that guides the region on the paths of knowledge, development and prosperity.
As you mark your fiftieth anniversary this year, you could not have found a better way to celebrate its shining presence than the presentation of these new armorial bearings, the design of which is based on those created by Terence Gaffney in 1960.
Heraldry is a science and an art that requires deep reflection on an institution’s history, its values, its identity and its mission, and on the best and most powerful way to represent it.
Throughout this exercise, representatives from Laurentian University have counted on the heralds of arms of Canada.
Especially on the Chief Herald of Canada, Claire Boudreau, who I would like to sincerely thank.
These new bearings are an expression of your pride, of the ideals you are pursuing and the special link you have with the environment and the community in which you work.
You have much to be proud of, and I encourage you to use these bearings as often as possible.
Because the more you use them, the more you increase their evocative powers and the more their meaning will deepen over time.
Thank you for welcoming me so warmly.
What has brought us together today is a moment that will remain etched in the annals of your university and I am delighted to have been here to witness it.
Long live Laurentian University!