VP: Brantford to leave Laurier

Long-time staff member and current principal and vice-president of Laurier Brantford Leo Groarke will be leaving his post at the university this year.

After serving Laurier for over 25 years, Groarke has accepted the position of provost and vice-president academic at the University of Windsor.

“It was in some ways a very hard decision to make,” said Groarke about deciding to leave Laurier.

“There are some great things going on in Brantford at the moment regarding building and program development. I’ve been there for 10 years now, and I feel I have really accomplished everything that I set out to accomplish.”

Groarke added that his main reason for leaving was that he felt it was time for a new challenge. “If we’re to grow as people, you don’t do it by taking the easy way.”

Laurier president Max Blouw commented that he feels Groarke is moving on to a greater challenge atthe perfect time in his career.

“Leo has been a remarkable contributor to the Laurier community both in his teaching and his academic work,” said Blouw. “He has contributed greatly to the success of Laurier.”

Groarke noted that his most memorable time at Laurier came during his years at Brantford.

He moved to Brantford at the end of its first year, at a time when the campus was having some difficulties; according to Groarke, nobody was sure if the campus would even take off.

“When you leave a place, you’re always going to remember the people. But what I will remember most is my experience at the Brantford campus … just because I was thrown into a very dynamic situation of great change,” said Groarke.

Over the past few years, Laurier has seen vast changes take place within its senior administration positions. According to Blouw, these changes are occurring across the whole province.

“25 per cent of all presidencies are new this year. There is a demographic shift happening, people are retiring,” said Blouw.

“Renewal at all levels in an institution is not inappropriate and having fresh ideas, new people come in looking at the institution, offering their thoughts and leadership on the direction the institution is taking is essential to any organization. I see the changes that are happening to Laurier as positive,” Blouw added.

Groarke noted that he feels comfortable leaving Laurier and knowing that it has a successful future ahead.

“I would say that change is natural in senior administration,” said Groarke. “The normal term is five years, with renewal it’s 10 years, so it’s pretty natural for people to move on.

“It’s important for a university to have both some continuity with the past and a direction for the future, and I’m comfortable that’s the case.”

No date has been confirmed for Groarke’s departure from Laurier, but he will be beginning his new post in Windsor on April 1, 2010.

Blouw noted that himself, vice-president of academics Deb MacLatchy and Groarke will likely sit down later this week to discuss arrangements for a replacement.

Groake helped Laurier Brantford get through its first decade, establishing successful relationships between the campus and community groups, the city of Brantford, other post-secondary institutions and most importantly with local native communities.

Groake’s soon-to-be-published book entitled Reinventing Brantford: A university comes downtown, discusses the positive impact Laurier has had on the city of Brantford.

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