Thorneloe Theatre renamed in honour of Dr. Ernie Checkeris

February 11, 2011

For Immediate Release Thursday, March 10, 2011 Thorneloe Theatre renamed in honour of Dr. Ernie Checkeris

The theatre at Thorneloe University, on the Laurentian University campus in Sudbury, has been renamed in honour of Dr. Ernie Checkeris. A visual artist and educational leader, Dr. Checkeris is a founder of Thorneloe University, long-time Board Member and former Board Chair. He served as Chancellor from 2001 to 2010.

“The unveiling of The Ernie Checkeris Theatre is the first in a series of events to celebrate Thorneloe’s 50th anniversary,” says Steve Moutsatsos, Chair of the Board of Governors of Thorneloe University. “We are delighted to recognize Ernie Checkeris for his immense contribution to Thorneloe and the community that we serve.”

The theatre was renamed as the curtain was set to rise on Thorneloe’s production of “Les Belles Soeurs”. Thorneloe University President, The Rev. Dr. Robert Derrenbacker, said the Thorneloe Theatre has become an important gathering place for the arts in the community and has been the stage on which a number of careers in theatre arts have been launched. The theatre opened on October 30, 1998.

“We host many productions throughout the year, showcasing the wonderful talent of our faculty and Theatre Arts students,” said Dr. Derrenbacker. “We welcome the opportunity to build on this rich tradition in The Ernie Checkeris Theatre.”

During the renaming ceremony, Dr. Checkeris praised Thorneloe University for fostering critical thinking in the humanities over the past 50 years. “It is indeed a privilege to have this theatre renamed in my honour,” he said. “It celebrates a milestone and recognizes the contribution of the arts to the world in which we live.”

Dr. Checkeris is the longest-serving public school board trustee in Ontario. He was a trustee for the Sudbury Board of Education and Rainbow District School Board from 1945 to 2000. He was granted an Honorary Doctor of Canon Law by Thorneloe University in 1991.

Media Contact:
Dr. Robert Derrenbacker, President, Thorneloe University
(705) 673-1730, ext. 23,


Ernie Checkeris

Ernie Checkeris’ parents were Greek refugees from the Turkish conflict in Asia Minor. He grew up in Toronto, where he attended Cottingham Public School, Northern Vocational Secondary School and Toronto Central Technical School. He served in the Royal Canadian Navy in World War II. Ernie Checkeris moved to Sudbury in 1945 where he owned and operated a successful lumbering and logging business -Wahnapitae Lumber Building Supplies at Home Hardware.

After retiring in 1980, Ernie Checkeris studied pottery at Cambrian College where he met fellow artist Muiriel MacLeod. They share the Teen Tree Pah studio near their home on Long Lake. Ernie Checkeris’ clay work includes unique masks and wall murals. He has created five murals in various institutions in Sudbury, including Thorneloe University and Rainbow District School Board.

Ernie Checkeris, who recently celebrated his 86th birthday, collects Canadian stamps, makes walking sticks, enjoys the outdoors, gardens, makes pickles, writes stories and letters to the editor, engages in lively discussion about politics and the art of living, and reads books from his extensive library collection. He also enjoys time with his children and grandchildren.

Over the years, Ernie Checkeris has been a member of many organizations, a number of which he has chaired, including the Northern Ontario Public School Trustees’ Association, Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, Canadian School Boards’ Association, Ontario College of Teachers, Ontario School Trustees’ Council, Sudbury Secondary School Council, Ontario Educational Leadership Centre in Orillia, Ontario Junior Chamber of Commerce, Ontario Advisory Council on Multiculturalism, Ontario Bi-Centennial Commission, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Community, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Audubon Society, Sudbury Basin Potters Club, Ontario Crafts Council, Sudbury Craft and Arts Foundation, the Sudbury Arts Commission, Sudbury Arts Council, Artists on Elgin, Northern Artists Gallery, the Mayor’s Seniors Committee on the ‘Next Ten Years Task Force’ and Friendly to Seniors.

In recognition of his dedication to public education, Ernie Checkeris has earned a number of awards and honours, including the inaugural Community Builders Award of Excellence in Education (2004), the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2003), the Cambrian College of Applied Arts and Technology Fred Sheridan Award (2002), the Ontario Public School Teachers’ Federation Meritorious Award (1990), the Federation of Women Teachers’ Association of Ontario Citation (1989), and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation Lamp of Learning Award (1988). Ernie Checkeris Public School in Sudbury was named in his honour in 1989.

Thorneloe University

Thorneloe University is an interdisciplinary centre of teaching, learning and research in the humanities, the arts and theology. A founding member of the Laurentian University federation affiliated with the Anglican Church, Thorneloe provides an accessible education fostering critical inquiry in a student-focused environment.

Thorneloe is home to the departments of Classical Studies, Religious Studies, Theatre Arts and Women’s Studies. Thorneloe works collaboratively with Laurentian to offer the Bachelor of Fine Arts Program and a Masters in Humanities. Thorneloe University offers a Diploma and Bachelor’s Degree in Theology through the School of Theology. Thorneloe also maintains a residence of 58 single rooms.

“Les Belles Sœurs”

Michel Tremblay’s “Les Belles Sœurs” is a joint production by the Thorneloe Theatre Department and Cambrian College’s Technical Theatre Program. The play, being directed by Professor Patricia Tedford, will run from March 10 to 12 and March 17 to 19, 2011.

“Les Belles Sœurs”, one of the most iconic and beloved Canadian plays ever produced, is an honest and hilarious look at the lives of 15 women whose life crises resemble those of the fractured country in which they live. It is a story about their hopes, jealousy, insecurities, and their love of bingo.

Tickets for the performance are $15 or $10 for students/seniors and may be purchased in advance at Black Cat on Durham St., the Cambrian Book Store, Thorneloe Office, or at the door.

For more information, visit

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