“I’m changing the name of this event to “Inaugural Conversation”,” said President Leo Groarke. And with that he set the tone for open dialogue and discussion when he met with faculty, staff, students and members of the local community at the President’s inaugural speech and community reception held September 15 at Trent University Durham, Oshawa campus.
At the event, Dr. Groarke, Trent’s eighth president and vice-chancellor, opened the dialogue by providing guests with a candid glimpse of a new era and vision for Trent in the Durham Region, one in which Trent is poised to adapt to an ever-changing educational climate and the distinct needs of the communities it serves.
“I want to see the Oshawa campus flourish to serve the needs of the people of Durham and Toronto who want to come here,” Dr. Groarke said. “It should grow in a way to provide students and faculty with more ways to study and research. Given the history and development of this location and the very specific social, economic and cultural circumstances of this region, I would like this campus to define its own identity, to let the community and the region shape its future. There is also a role for us to become a ladder for the underemployed population base.”
Dr. Groarke described a bright future for Trent University Durham that encompasses innovative interdisciplinary programming with additional focus on professional and part-time courses. He also highlighted the need for strategic alliances with Trent’s post-secondary partners in the Durham Region – UOIT and Durham College.
Referencing the strength of the partnerships, Dr. Groarke said that, together, all three institutions have the potential to become “an educational force to be reckoned with in all of Ontario.”
At the event, Joe Muldoon, head of Trent’s Durham campus said he is optimistic about the growth of Trent under Dr. Groarke’s leadership.
“Previously Dr. Groarke has developed a successful campus from 40 students to over 2,000 so we are excited to see what he can bring to the future of Trent in Durham,” Mr. Muldoon said. “I think he has a real understanding of the kinds of program development that will benefit our campus. He also appreciates that we have to collaborate with post-secondary institutions that are here already. I think it’s an exciting time for Trent.”
Oshawa Mayor John Henry, also in attendance at the event, felt Dr. Groarke’s comments recognized the future. “Education is the future of this community and Trent is a big part of that,” said Mayor Henry. Referring to a TEDxTrentUniversity event that he also attended at Trent earlier this year he added, “That’s where the change for the future, the innovation will turn Oshawa, and ultimately Durham, into the next educational super powerhouse and you can see it now.”
Also in attendance at the event were: Garry Cubitt, chief administrative officer (CAO) for the Regional Municipality of Durham; Dr. Tim McTiernan, president of UOIT; City of Oshawa Mayor John Henry; Meri Kim Oliver, vice president of Student Affairs at Durham College; and others.