June 11, 2021Print | PDF
Melissa Ireland, Laurier’s director and interim senior advisor, Indigenous initiatives, has accepted a position with Qualia Counselling in the portfolio of Indigenous Relations and Outreach.
Ireland has been an integral part of our Wilfrid Laurier University community since 2004, and her vibrant presence, uplifting attitude and second-to-none expertise will be greatly missed.
During her 17 years at Laurier, Melissa held a number of roles, including her early days as an intermediate and senior administrative assistant and coordinator of communications and marketing. She also spent eight years as the Aboriginal student support coordinator before becoming the manager of Indigenous student services, and most recently in 2019, the director and interim senior advisor, Indigenous initiatives.
“Melissa excelled in each of these roles, in particular whenever she had the opportunity to engage with our internal university and external broader community,” says Tony Vannelli, provost and vice-president: academic.
“In recent years and as Laurier has taken strides to enhance our commitment to Indigeneity and respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action, Melissa played an integral part in offering unique perspectives, posing insightful questions and inspiring us to think innovatively. This was readily apparent as she was a key member of the team who collaborated to develop Laurier’s new Inclusive Excellence hiring initiative.”
Among her most notable accomplishments is her unwavering commitment to fostering Indigenous inclusion at the university, and building supports and connections through the Indigenous Student Centres in Waterloo and Brantford. Melissa assisted in the opening of the Waterloo campus Indigenous Student Centre in 2011 while leading and supporting countless Indigenous-led events, ceremonies, and programs for the Laurier community. She also oversaw the creation university’s first medicine garden, Mino Kummik, in 2012 at the Waterloo campus where she received a Community Engagement Award from the Residential Energy Efficiency Project. In addition, she managed the creation of Third Party Sponsorship Guide for Indigenous Students, the first document for the sponsors of Indigenous students created in the province.
Ireland has made a lasting impact at the university.
“Melissa has been a valuable contributor to our Student Affairs Leadership Team. Her insights and advocacy towards building supports and programs for our Indigenous students has created record-breaking student enrolment and graduation rates across our campuses,” says Ivan Joseph, vice-president: student affairs.
“We are proud of the nationally recognized program Melissa has built and look to continue her work building an inclusive community where all feel welcomed and celebrated.”
Ireland was also committed to service in her roles.
“Through her career at Laurier, Melissa has contributed in many ways to the life of students, staff, and faculty,” says Darren Thomas, incoming associate vice-president of Indigenous initiatives. “Her commitment to supporting the Indigenous community within and outside of the university will be an ongoing legacy which will be greatly missed by all. Although we are saddened to see her leave Laurier, I want to express the sincerest gratitude and best wishes in her new opportunity.”
Melissa’s last day is today, June 11. Please join us in wishing her the very best as she begins a new chapter.
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