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Heather Shaw poses with her husband and two children Chloe and Wesley. All four are wearing Laurier colours and smiling at the camera.

Heather Shaw (BA ’09) Saves a Seat to celebrate the past and look to Laurier’s future

To celebrate her Laurier love, Heather Shaw (BA ’09) decided to leave her own mark on the university – twice. Looking back on her student experience, Shaw says getting involved in campus life wherever she could was so influential to her career and the person she is today that Laurier will always have a place in her heart.  

When Lazaridis Hall was built in 2015, Shaw took the rare opportunity to name a seat in the auditorium.   

“I wanted that idea of having my name attached to Laurier, to be able to take friends and family on campus to show them,” she says. Shaw hopes that the current and future students who sit in her named seat are inspired to think about their own place in Laurier’s long history.  

“Even when I’m gone, I love that a student sitting in that chair, just like I did, will know that there were students here before them. I hope they’re inspired to think about their Laurier experience and how they fit into the greater picture.”  

Now, she’s named a refurbished seat in the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall for her two children, Wesley and Chloe. “I chose seat L12; L for love, and 12 for my one and two kids” she says. 

Seats in the recital hall have been refurbished as part of the Making Space for Music fundraising campaign, which is creating a vastly improved performance space for students, faculty and music lovers in Waterloo Region and the Laurier community.  

Shaw graduated from Laurier in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies. She says her volunteer experience at Laurier was just as instrumental in her professional journey as the valuable skills she learned as a student.  

Joining her residence House Council in first year ignited the spark to get involved with student life wherever she could, including volunteering with the Laurier Students’ Union, as an ice breaker during orientation week in second year, sitting on the Shinerama executive team, joining the Communications Student Association and helping to coordinate and engage students in trips and events. 

“My professors at Laurier did a really great job of helping me develop the skills I needed in order to get where I am now in my career,” she says. “But everything I did there, even beyond being a student, has built my resumé.”  

Shaw names Professor Jonathan Finn in the Faculty of Arts as particularly influential.  

“He was my seminar prof in fourth year and just brilliant – both in the information that he would deliver in class every day, but also in keeping respect for himself and being very up-front about what he expected of you in class,” Shaw says. “In my own career, I’ve found that being intentional about your boundaries and what people can expect of you helps them to do their best work.”  

Since graduating, Shaw has continued to engage with the Laurier community, volunteering with the Laurier Alumni Kitchener-Waterloo chapter for nearly a decade. As a local alumna, she feels that seat-naming opportunities are a great way to engage with the exciting growth of Laurier’s Waterloo campus and her local community.  

“I took the opportunity to name the seat in the recital hall for my kids, whether they eventually go to Laurier or not,” she says. “If we’re going for a concert, since we still live in the city, we can go and see their names.” 

Shaw says that seat-naming opportunities are a great way to celebrate the memories made as a Laurier student, and to be part of Laurier’s future.  

“Thinking back on your Laurier experience outside of being a student, what has that done for your career, social life or friendships? Some people have met their partners here,” she says. “This gives the opportunity for making memories in the future with whatever those relationships or connections look like now, whether it’s people you went to school with or people who are new in your life.” 

There’s still time to Save Your Seat! While seats are still available, your $500 donation will name a refurbished seat in the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall with a plaque that showcases your chosen message within a 25-character limit. You will receive a tax receipt for the full amount of your gift.  

All donations go directly toward the Making Space for Music campaign, which aims to renovate and expand Laurier’s Faculty of Music building – now named the Savvas Chamberlain Music Building after a transformative gift from longtime Laurier supporter Savvas Chamberlain – into an improved space for teaching, practicing, rehearsing and performing.   

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