Students who attend TWU’s Laurentian Leadership Centre (LLC) program in Ottawa gain work experience through field placements, complete three upper-level university courses, and experience living in community within a historic mansion in the heart of the nation’s capital.
This fall, the LLC celebrates 20 years of faithfully pursuing its mission to equip students to thrive in the public square.
The 20th anniversary celebration takes place Wednesday, Oct. 26, 6:30 p.m., at TWU's Laurentian Leadership Centre (252 Metcalfe St Ottawa, ON).
Excellence in preparing the leaders of tomorrow
“When I look back over the LLC’s history, one thing comes to mind: the LLC’s record of excellence in preparing the leaders of tomorrow from a faith-based perspective,” said LLC Executive Director, Dr. Ann Penner.
“Time and time again, I hear professionals in Ottawa comment on how LLC students and alumni shine in their vocations and lead their colleagues with a servant’s heart. What a wonderful legacy the LLC has had. And what a wonderful legacy the LLC will continue to have, as it continues to equip students as they move from the classroom to the public square.”
Continuing the legacy
As Executive Director, Dr. Penner joins the progress started by the LLC’s former directors — Dr. Don Page, Dr. Paul Wilson, and Dr. Janet Epp Buckingham — in the work of preparing future leaders.
When thinking of her many years at the LLC, Dr. Janet Epp Buckingham expressed, “It [was] an exceptional privilege to be the director of the LLC for 16 years. I walked alongside hundreds of students as they made the transition from students to professionals. …It is a delight to keep in touch with alumni who are doing many interesting things from politics to organic farming.”
Through the LLC program, students gain access to a variety of elite field placements in Ottawa in a wide range of workplaces including politics, advocacy organizations, NGOs, media organizations, and private sector firms. Examples of LLC field placements include internships with Members of Parliament, Senators, international NGOs like the Red Cross and World Vision, embassies and high commissions, the Canadian War Museum, and NGOs like the Centre for Public Dialogue, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, and many others.
Alongside the workplace experience, students also participate in educational activities such as mock press conferences, mock political leaders’ debates, and mock court cases. They learn from many influential people in Ottawa including a Supreme Court Justice, politicians, business leaders and media representatives.
A life-changing and career-inspiring semester
Leanne (Neufeldt) Smythe, who was part of the inaugural 2002 cohort, remembers her LLC experience as highly meaningful. “My semester in Ottawa truly changed my life…it gave me confidence in my abilities, it opened my mind to new possibilities, and it led me to engage with my country in a deeper, more genuine way,” she said.
Leanne went on to complete a master’s degree in International Conflict Analysis (University of Kent, Canterbury) and a Ph.D. in Political Science (UBC), and she currently teaches in the field of political studies.
For business graduate Simon Chandler, attendance at the LLC in 2021 re-invigorated his interest in politics and helped him gain clarity and focus for his career ambitions. “The LLC was not simply another semester of schooling but an entirely different experience,” he said. “This experience taught me many things not limited to how to live with others, managing a work-life-school balance, and living semi-independently in a new city.”
Sarah Dunn, who attended LLC in 2020, credits the LLC for kickstarting her political career. During her time at the LLC, Sarah drafted policy briefs and wrote correspondences as an intern for a member of parliament. After this experience, Sarah went on to intern at the Prime Minister’s Office, and later landed job opportunities with Public Services and Procurement Canada and most recently, with the Office of the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.
Sarah connects the dots back to the LLC, “I think my semester at the LLC and my internship on Parliament Hill landed me in the PMO after graduation, and those two experiences played a role in my new position as well.”
She values the networking opportunities and the guidance she received through the LLC program, commenting “I think that the idea of mentorship is very beneficial for incoming students as they make connections in Ottawa.”
Adventures around the capital
Students who study at the LLC engage in a variety of educational and adventuresome excursions. This year’s cohort recently visited Wakefield, QC for a full day of kayaking and exploring. Weekend trips to Montreal, wintertime skating on the Rideau Canal, and visits to local art galleries and museums of nature and history are among the adventures that LLC students enjoy.
Furthermore, the LLC mansion on 252 Metcalfe Street, where students live and study, is full of history. Originally built by lumber baron John R. Booth and then home to a prominent Ottawa club, the Laurentian Leadership Centre (formerly called the Booth House) is one of 24 designated National Historic Sites in Ottawa. Built in the Queen Anne Revival style, the mansion is rich with historic features and elements of original craftsmanship.
About the Laurentian Leadership Centre
The Laurentian Leadership Centre (LLC) is a live-in extension program in the heart of Ottawa. There is no other program in Canada that offers the same access to a variety of elite field placements in Ottawa in a wide range of workplaces including politics, advocacy organizations, NGOs, media organizations, and private sector firms. The program is geared towards third- and fourth-year students or recent graduates interested in experiential learning. The LLC runs in the Fall and Spring semesters and is open to TWU students of all majors. Learn more at the Laurentian Leadership Centre.
About Trinity Western University
Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is a global Christian liberal arts university. We are dedicated to equipping students to discover meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. Drawing upon the riches of the Christian tradition, seeking to unite faith and reason through teaching and scholarship, Trinity Western University is a degree-granting research institution offering liberal arts and sciences as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has four locations in Canada: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, and Ottawa. Learn more at www.twu.ca or follow us on Instagram @trinitywestern, Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.