Top 40 Under 40

Dominic Giroux, 35: helped university expand

Special to The Globe and Mail

Each year, Caldwell Partners International chooses 40 Canadians who were under 40 in the past year to honour for their outstanding achievements. Click here to learn more about the program, and find more winners in the list below.

Dominic Giroux's unconventional background was exactly what the university he became president of was looking for.

"I became a school board trustee at 19, was elected school board chair at 21, and appointed assistant deputy minister at age 29," says Mr. Giroux, an Ottawa native who became chairman of Ottawa's French Catholic school board two years after being elected as trustee, and later caught the attention of a senior civil servant at Ontario's Ministry of Education. "In fact, most of my roles came by accident. I never contemplated becoming president of Laurentian."

Yet, Mr. Giroux's background was a perfect fit for Laurentian: a young bilingual Francophone who was familiar with the aboriginal community and could revitalize the university's image. Prior to joining Laurentian he had a foot in two Ontario ministries, education and training, colleges, and universities. "Part of my job included leading French-language learning and leading the creation of an aboriginal education office," says Mr. Giroux, who has two degrees from University of Ottawa (social sciences and education) and an MBA from École des Hautes Études Commerciales in Montreal.

Since his arrival, Mr. Giroux can point with pride to a 51-year-old institution that has taken significant steps in the past couple of years. Thanks to a bigger push on recruitment, there have been double-digit increases in enrolment. "We also have a brand-new medical school and are about to launch a school of architecture," says Mr. Giroux, adding that the latter will eventually attract about 400 students.

"For two years in a row, we have been ranked No. 1 in Canada in total sponsored research income among primarily undergraduate universities," says Mr. Giroux, who insists on keeping his weekends free for his family and fetches his two children from school each day.

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