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April 19, 2018

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On Wednesday, April 18, the Ontario government announced final approval for Wilfrid Laurier University’s proposal to create a new postsecondary site in the Town of Milton. This launches an exciting new chapter in Laurier’s history – a chapter we have been anticipating for a full decade.

Many people at Laurier have played critical roles leading up to today’s announcement. I want to offer my sincere congratulations and thanks to them for ensuring this ambitious project became a reality. Their work will be transformational for Laurier’s future.

Last fall, the university’s Board of Governors endorsed the Laurier Milton proposal and Senate approved a Milton Academic Plan in principle, which aligns with the province’s desire to offer programming with a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM).

The launch of STEAM programming in Milton is an incredible opportunity for Laurier to build on our academic excellence, strong community-based research, and reputation for student satisfaction. The course offerings will emphasize the development of science and technology skills alongside traditional liberal arts skills such as critical thinking and interpersonal communications. Our focus on attracting under-represented groups such as women and Indigenous students to new STEAM programs will further Laurier’s commitment to increasing accessibility to postsecondary education and fill an existing gap in the postsecondary education sector in Ontario.

Graduates from these programs will be well-equipped to work in a modern, knowledge-based economy. Milton’s location along the innovation corridor, running from Waterloo Region to Toronto, is the ideal area to offer STEAM programming and will fill a demand for highly skilled workers in the science and tech sector in this area and beyond.

A Milton site is an important step in our university’s multi-campus vision. Our success in growing the Brantford and Waterloo campuses proves we are adept at working together to support an excellent student experience, outstanding programming, and strong scholarship and outreach, while at the same time preserving our sense of community that is the essence of Laurier. For almost 20 years in Brantford, we have built positive community partnerships and programs that, while unique to Brantford, enhanced Laurier’s mission, vision and values and helped grow and improve our university.

Laurier’s strong partnerships in Milton are setting us up for a solid foundation as we move forward with this vision. The Town of Milton has donated a $50-million, 150-acre parcel of land to the university – 50 acres of developable land and 100 acres of protected Greenbelt lands. In addition to supporting STEAM programming, the location and geography will uniquely support a focus on environmental and land-based Indigenous academic and cultural programming. 

This land will form the heart of a larger Milton Education Village development. The Ontario government announced a commitment today of $90 million to help Laurier develop its first building on the site. Pending approvals, our plan is to enrol our first program students in September 2019 in leased space until Laurier opens this new building, which is projected to be open for the 2021/22 academic year. This building will ultimately serve over 2,000 students. We are currently reviewing if there are opportunities to offer individual for-credit and not-for-credit courses in September 2018 in the leased space.

For Milton and the surrounding Halton Region, a postsecondary site improves access to higher education for area residents, spurs social, cultural and economic prosperity, promotes research, and creates opportunities that benefit nearby organizations, businesses and government agencies.

As we embark on this exciting next phase for Laurier, we will continue to share updates and new information.

Thank you again to those who have made the announcement today a reality. I look forward to building great partnerships in Milton, as we move forward with this shared goal.

Deb

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