When we think of those terrible days that Brantford was suffering as much as 28% unemployment as the farm manufacturing business was dying, we couldn’t imagine what the future would hold. How do we diversify our economy? Will we ever again be seen as the forward thinking community that began in the 1800’s?
One such strategy blossomed and today we celebrate 20 years of continuous growth as a result. Laurier Brantford began in the City Library as a class of 39 student pioneers. Now over 3000 students come here annually for the superior education the University has always offered.
Many local citizens don’t realize that this sector of training in Brantford contributes to economic development, calculated at bringing close to $60 million each year to the community. The majority of the dollars invested to achieve this came from Federal and Provincial coffers while the municipality to a great extent used revenue from the casino to contribute. The University has since invested millions in purchasing and developing properties throughout the downtown core which has been a major contribution to the social and cultural improvements in our city.
22 years ago, a group of Brantfordians formed the Grand Valley Educational Society to act as a catalyst for creating a Brantford University. We were the largest municipality in the province without a university. They gathered momentum and challenged business, and elected officials to stand up and participate. they raised millions from passionate citizens and today are recognized for their continuing efforts and advocacy.
Colleen, Miller, President of GVES, was called to the stage of the Sanderson Centre and awarded the ‘Order of Wilfrid Laurier Citation’ on behalf of GVES during the Convocation of 2019 Brantford graduands about to receive their degrees.
Colleen reflected on two quotes which form the motivation for the GVES:
“Never doubt that a small group of Citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that can.” Margaret Mead
“Do not follow where the path may lead.
Go, instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Left to right: Dr. Deborah MacLatchy, (President Wilfrid Laurier University), Cindy Swanson, (General Manager, Enterprise Brant),Beth Gurney, Kathryn Creeden, Vern Gale, Colleen Miller (President, GVES), Amy Kendal (Vice President GVES), Brook Snider, Marian Harshniz, Vincent Shiu and Stuart Parkinson
President Dr. Deborah MacLatchey honoured the efforts of her predecessors over this time, Dr. Rosehart and Dr. Max Blouw,
Dr. Robert Rosehart
Dr. Max Blouw
the extraordinary work of staff, faculty and board members and the cherished relationship with the community.
Brantford has turned a corner from the disparity of the 1980’s. The role of Wilfrid Laurier University is one of the pillars of change, beginning with a group of local visionaries and a welcoming community, and the future is even more optimistic as a result.
Thank you Grand Valley Educational Society.