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Wilfrid Laurier University Development
December 2, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Dr. Harris with three students who will be living in the house: (L-R) Shalini Nagrani, Lauren Zabel, Dr. Harris, Sarah Cuddie
Dr. Harris with three students who will be living in the house: (L-R) Shalini Nagrani, Lauren Zabel, Dr. Harris, Sarah Cuddie

Headlines (Campus Updates)


Laurier celebrates generosity of local homeopath

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Jul 9/09

On July 8, members of the Laurier community gathered to celebrate Dr. Ron Harris’ generosity. The local homeopath, 93, donated his home on Albert Street to Laurier in loving memory of his wife, Joan, who passed away two years ago. Starting in the fall of 2009, the Harris Hope House will become an innovative residence in which international and domestic Laurier students live together and promote cultural awareness.

During the event, Rob Donelson, vice-president of development and alumni relations, said Harris’ generosity reminded him of a famous Gandhi quotation: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

“It’s not every day that someone donates their home,” Donelson said. “Dr. Harris, your compassion and generosity is far from the every day and this is truly an exceptional gift coming from a truly caring and giving man.”

Laurier president Dr. Max Blouw was on hand to accept the keys to the home and personally thank Harris.

“Thanks to Dr. Harris, the Harris Hope House will help to increase Laurier’s international profile by providing the Global Engagement Community an opportunity to reach out to students who are interested in internationalization, as well as give them an opportunity to share common interests,” said Blouw.

Surrounded by family and friends, Harris explained that the donation of his home was the fulfillment of his wife’s dying wish.

“Joan’s dream has finally come true,” he said, adding that he and his wife lived their lives trying to encourage and instill the idea that all humans are of one family and must be respectful of colour, creed and religion.

For more than 35 years, the Harris’ offered affordable housing to international students attending university. As such, it’s very fitting that the Harris Hope House will become a Global Engagement Community (GEC).

The GEC is one of four Living Learning Communities on campus. These communities are themed residence environments, founded upon a specific set of interests that are structured to give students a high level of involvement at Laurier. The GEC is intended to be a place where international and domestic students live together in a residence where cultural diversity is apparent, discussed and celebrated. The philosophy behind the creation of the community is to promote an understanding of the increasingly distinct cultures represented on Laurier’s campus.

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