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The role and important work of Laurier’s alumni association

Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith

I’m excited and honoured to have taken on the role of president of the Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association, representing a diverse, talented and ever-growing group of alumni. During the past four years, I’ve had the privilege of meeting some incredible people at our annual Awards of Excellence ceremony. Our award recipients are alumni who have made remarkable contributions in the fields of medicine, business and humanitarian work around the globe.

If you are wondering about the role of the alumni association, I’ll give you a quick overview of some of the important work we do in the Laurier community. We represent alumni in the governance of the university, appointing members to serve on Laurier’s Board of Governors, which is responsible for the management and financial affairs of the university. We also appoint members to serve on the Senate, which is responsible for academic matters.

Representatives of the association serve on key committees and advise Laurier on issues impacting students, alumni and the broader community. This past year, we participated in the development of Laurier’s new strategic plan. We are excited and optimistic about Laurier’s future as it embraces the pillars of “thriving community” and “future-readiness.” Our board will be actively involved in implementing the strategic plan and is especially inspired by the challenge of future-readiness. We will be a strong voice for alumni in critical areas including credential innovation, which will see the university find new ways to ensure that students and alumni have access to innovative, leading-edge programming.

Our association is also active in community outreach. As I mentioned, we award the best and brightest alumni each year at our Awards of Excellence ceremony. We also inspire and guide current Laurier students through the Partners in Excellence program, providing financial support and advice to students pursuing community initiatives.

An overview of the association would not be complete without a nod to our Gradvantages program.

Alumni donation

The Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association presents an $800,000 cheque to the university during Homecoming celebrations at the Waterloo campus.

Gradvantages is an exclusive program offering alumni access to best-in-class financial services including home and auto insurance, life insurance, extended health insurance and credit cards. When you participate in Gradvantages, you are helping to support key initiatives on campus.

For those who attended Homecoming recently, you already know about our $800,000 pledge to the university. This pledge is supporting enhanced sexual violence counselling for students, the development of the Nadjiwan Kaandossiwin Gamik Indigenous Student Centre, the library’s unique and innovative Makerspace and a renewal of the association’s academic scholarships. We thank you – the Laurier alumni community – for making this donation possible.

As we embark on the new board year, we are also undertaking a review of the association’s strategic plan. We want to ensure that our plans are aligned to the changing needs of Laurier’s alumni, as well as the university’s strategic plan. I invite everybody to read more about the university’s strategic plan at and reach out to me with your ideas to make our thriving community of students and alumni even stronger.

Ryan Smith (BBA ’98)
President, WLUAA

To read more articles from the 2019 Fall-Winter print edition of Laurier Campus magazine and new alumni stories between print editions, visit