Ottawa landmark home to TWU's new Laurentian Leadership Centre

Ottawa, Ontario—Beginning this fall, the newly renovated Laurentian Leadership Centre at 252 Metcalfe Street—the historic former home of the Laurentian Club—will be home base for 22 students from Trinity Western University studying and working as interns in the national capital region as part of their undergraduate degree programs. TWU, located in Langley, B.C., is a Christian liberal arts university enrolling more than 3,000 students in 35 undergraduate and 12 graduate programs, and is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada.

“We’re excited to offer this kind of extension program to our students, most of whom are from western Canada and wouldn’t have access to learning in the capital region otherwise,” said Don Page, PhD, executive director of the centre. “Trinity Western’s focus as a university is to develop servant leaders. And giving students as many opportunities for hands-on learning as possible is an effective way to do this. The chance to learn directly from national-level leaders in business, politics, media and international organizations will be an incredible learning experience for them.”

Trinity Western purchased the city landmark from the Laurentian Club in May 2001, and has restored the historic mansion to accommodate 20-25 third and fourth year students. Students will take classes at the centre three afternoons a week, and will learn from key capital –region leaders as interns in the offices of members of parliament, in business such as MITEL and March Networks, in non-government organizations such as CIDA and World Vision, and with local media outlets such as the Ottawa Citizen and The Hill Times.

According to Page, who first developed the vision for this program while serving in the External Affairs department in Ottawa from 1975-1989 as a research director, policy analyst and senior speechwriter, Trinity Western’s approach is unique.

“There are six internship programs on Parliament Hill currently, but what sets ours apart is that we combine academic programming with internships clearly related to the student’s major – whether that be business, international relations, political science, history or communications,” said Page.

Another key part of the LLC experience is a residence program, led by a full-time on-site community life director, and designed to support the students in their studies and personal life.

“The residence program supports the students as they process what they’re learning, as they grow in their own personal character and faith, and as they develop the ethical sensitivity to become effective leaders in whatever field or industry they pursue,” said Page.

And Paul Wilson, PhD, program director for Trinity Western’s extension site and longtime Ottawa resident, reports that top level leaders in the capital are responding positively and supporting Trinity Western’s program.

“We started out canvassing businesses to see if they would be interested in taking our students as interns, but as word is getting around about who we are, and our leadership focus, people are coming to us requesting a Trinity Western intern,” reports Wilson.

“In addition to these organizations benefiting from the day to day work of their interns, they’ll have the opportunity to assess the performance of potential candidates for employment, so it provides them with a free pre-screening process,” adds Wilson. “Also, these employers will have opportunities to use the centre. There are a number of businesses that want to have meetings there with their clients or boards, and the location and historic ambience of the centre makes it a great venue.”

Doug Lazier, longtime member of the former Laurentian Club and managing partner with the Nicol and Lazier law firm, is also pleased with the direction of the Laurentian Leadership Centre program and the new role for the historic Ottawa landmark.

“We’re thrilled with the restoration of the building and with how Trinity Western is affirming the historic significance of this Ottawa landmark, as the home of J.R. Booth and then the Laurentian Club for many decades,” said Lazier. “It means a lot to our members that the University has incorporated the name of the former club into the new centre’s name, and that the goals for the leadership centre are commendable. I hope it bears fruit for the country.”

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not for profit Christian liberal arts university enrolling more than 3,000 students. With a broad-based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 35 majors ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2007-09-26