Lazaridis Hall is officially open for business

Photo by Victoria Panacci

Wilfrid Laurier University celebrated the official grand opening of Lazaridis Hall on May 24. The event was held in the atrium of Lazaridis Hall from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and was attended by numerous dignitaries from the federal and provincial governments.

Various special guests featured at the event also provided speeches, including Max Blouw, president and vice-chancellor; Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism and Waterloo MP; Micheál Kelly, dean of Lazaridis School of Business and Economics; and of course, namesake Mike Lazaridis, co-founder and managing partner of Quantum Valley Investments.

Lazaridis Hall – the newest building on Laurier’s Waterloo campus – is a 220,000-square-foot space designed to promote interaction and collaboration between students.

The building – which is equipped with various study spaces, breakout rooms, a finance lab and a green roof for students – houses various faculties including the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, the Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises, the Schlegel Centre for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation as well as the Department of Mathematics.

While students and faculty have occupied Lazaridis Hall since Sept. 2016, the university’s decision to celebrate the grand opening almost a year later was a result of ongoing construction and weather purposes.

“We moved in in September but the building wasn’t finished yet and so it’s been a while before the last few pieces were done,” Micheál Kelly, dean of the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, said.

“The view was ‘let’s move it into the late spring with good weather and we’ll be able to make sure we can get the right people to come,’ so it was the perfect time to hold it.”

The creation of Lazaridis Hall was substantiated through the support of numerous donors and contributors. The Government of Ontario contributed $72.6 million to the construction of the building, while the federal government contributed $9.93 million in infrastructure funding.

Lazaridis’ pledge of $20 million also played a significant role in supporting the establishment of the building.

“[T]his spectacular building and facility is so important. Its impressive scale, state of the art classrooms, high-tech facilities and well thought-out functionality shows our enormous commitment to [students’] education and their careers,” Lazaridis said in his speech.

“It’s an important symbol that shows them how serious we are to recruiting and training them here, it helps us compete on a global scale.”

After the ceremonial ribbon cutting, Lazaridis also remarked on the success of the grand opening and how the building will bring more opportunities for students and researchers to work together.

“Being able to recruit the very best students from across the country and around the world should be our strategic goal and I think that’s been accomplished with the scale and the ambition of the enterprise,” Lazaridis said.

Chagger also reflected on the importance of investing in innovation and opportunities for students who want to create startup companies, as the federal government is committed to helping them scale-up in order to provide meaningful jobs.

“The best natural, renewable resource that we have is our people. This investment today and the opening of this facility is really an investment of our leaders of today and tomorrow and that’s why it’s so exciting,” Chagger said.

“[T]he ideas that will be brewing here; some of them have not even been thought of, and that’s why we know the potential of investing in skills, resources and development is essential.”

The aim of the building, reiterated Lazaridis, is to provide Laurier students with the necessary knowledge, skills and training that is required to work in competitive markets. By doing so, students are creating opportunities for themselves and others on a global scale.

“We know what [students are] going to experience and the challenges they’re going to have,” Lazaridis said.

“I think that having people here that have done it before [to guide students] can only help them succeed in the future.”

    Leave a Reply