June 22, 2023Print | PDF
Lynda Hawton Kitamura, a former chair of Wilfrid Laurier University’s Board of Governors, has been awarded the university's Distinguished Governor Award in recognition of her exemplary service.
A Laurier alumna, Hawton Kitamura first joined Laurier’s Board of Governors in November 2014 as a provincial government appointee. She has served three terms on the board, including a three-year term as chair and two years as vice chair. During her time as chair from 2019 to 2022, Hawton Kitamura provided exemplary, inclusive and thoughtful leadership, placing a strong focus on fiduciary oversight coupled with her sound understanding of governance.
“Lynda has been a driving force in moving the Laurier board from an operational focus to more of a strategic focus,” says current Laurier Board of Governors chair Paul Elliott. “Drawing on her professional expertise as a global financial executive, her training as a Chartered Professional Accountant, her Institute of Corporate Director’s training and her work on other boards, Lynda brought a wealth of experience. She is a more than deserving recipient of Laurier's Distinguished Governor Award.”
Hawton Kitamura’s engagement in elevating equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigeneity priorities at Laurier has supported significant progress during recent years. Her focus on welcoming international students during her tenure on the board included the implementation of the Navitas program and Wilfrid Laurier International College.
Hawton Kitamura also helped Laurier navigate challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, including leading the shift to virtual board meetings. She has been instrumental in enhancing recruitment efforts to foster a diverse Board of Governors, strengthening succession planning, and elevating the board’s strategic focus.
“It has been an honour to serve on the Laurier Board of Governors,” says Hawton Kitamura. “Years ago, when I was a student at Laurier, I loved my experience and it has been a privilege to return and serve on the board. Laurier is truly a thriving, inspiring and caring university.”
Hawton Kitamura has served as chair of numerous Laurier board committees, including the executive, finance and investments, pension, governance, audit, and risk and compliance committees. She co-chaired the responsible investment working group and worked with President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah MacLatchy to guide the university through key strategic initiatives, including provincial approvals and initial planning for Laurier’s Milton campus.
Hawton Kitamura’s additional contributions include serving on the president and vice-chancellor search committee in 2016 and the board candidates selection committee in 2020; chairing the presidential review committee in 2021; and serving on the steering committee for the creation of Laurier Strategy 2019-2024, the university’s strategic plan.
A highly esteemed corporate executive, Hawton Kitamura also serves on the board of Ontario Health and is chair of the Ontario Health finance, audit, risk and compliance committee. She recently retired from her role as chief financial officer and vice-president, operations with the Electronic Products Recycling Association. Previously, Hawton Kitamura served as vice-president, finance at Hewlett-Packard and prior to that chief financial officer of HP Canada.
Hawton Kitamura holds a degree in Business Administration from Laurier, an MBA from McMaster University and is a Chartered Professional Accountant. She was recognized among the Most Powerful Women: Top 100 in Canada by the Women's Executive Network in 2003 and 2009.
The Distinguished Governor Award recognizes Board of Governors members, past and present, who have demonstrated outstanding service and leadership to the board and who have made a significant contribution to the life and development of the university during a minimum of two three-year terms. Hawton Kitamura’s award was presented as part of Laurier convocation ceremonies in June.
Laurier’s Board of Governors oversees the strategic direction of the university in conjunction with academic direction set by the Senate. The Board of Governors provides oversight for the institution in the areas of financial sustainability, reputation, risk, and operations in support of strategic goals.