N.B. academic Louis LaPierre's credentials face scrutiny

University of Moncton is investigating questions about LaPierre's academic history

CBC New Brunswick
Sept. 6, 2013

The University of Moncton is examining the academic credentials of one of its most prominent professors after a Radio-Canada report raised questions about Louis LaPierre’s academic history.

Louis LaPierre has been a professor at the University of Moncton for 30 years and an environmental adviser to provincial and federal governments, but questions have surfaced about his graduate degrees.

Radio-Canada looked at claims in LaPierre’s academic biography that he holds two degrees from the University of Maine, a master’s of science in wildlife ecology and a PhD in ecology.

The University of Maine has confirmed LaPierre does have a master's degree in science education, but does not have a master's degree in wildlife ecology.

The University of Moncton is examining the academic credentials of Louis LaPierre after questions were raised by a Radio-Canada report. (CBC)The university also confirmed LaPierre does not have a doctorate from the institute.

LaPierre told Radio-Canada this week there was a mix up in his academic biography. LaPierre said his professor at the University of Maine moved to Minnesota, so LaPierre followed him to do his degree. He said the PhD was in association with the University of Maine and Walden University back in 1985. The University of Maine confirmed with Radio-Canada that there was never any agreement for co-operation with Walden University.

Walden University officials confirmed that LaPierre has a PhD from the institution but they weren’t sure what field it is in because it was given such a long time ago. Officials are investigating their records to see if LaPierre does have a PhD in a science field because Walden doesn’t normally hand out science-related degrees, in fields other than health sciences.

The University of Moncton says the first they heard of any questions about LaPierre’s academic biography was on Wednesday night. The university’s vice-president academic will be examining the issue and should report next week.

LaPierre named to many scientific panels

LaPierre has been a well-known scientist for decades and has been called on by other governments to be involved in various expert panels.

He led a review of shale gas regulations for Premier David Alward and the New Brunswick government named him as the first chairperson for the New Brunswick Energy Institute.

He served as a member of the special commission appointed by former premier Shawn Graham to examine the memorandum of understanding to sell parts of NB Power to Hydro-Québec.

LaPierre has also served on panels to examine the environmental impact of the Sydney Tar Ponds as well as the fixed link between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

He has been appointed to the Order of Canada, he received an honourary doctorate from the University of Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia in 2001. He was named a professor emeritus in biology from the University of Moncton in 2003.

LaPierre’s biography on organizations, such as a joint review panel for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, said he has "a master’s of science in wildlife ecology, as well as a PhD in ecology from the University of Maine."

On the University of Moncton's website, there is a 2001 document from the faculty of science that profiled LaPierre. That profile indicated LaPierre received a PhD from the University of Maine in 1982. There was no mention of Walden University.

The New Brunswick government, meanwhile does not reference LaPierre's graduate degrees on various documents that LaPierre was mentioned in, such as appointments to boards or commission reports. He was frequently cited as a professor emeritus from the University of Moncton.

The University of Maine’s website lists the title of LaPierre’s master’s thesis as "Environmental education course for college students" and said it was in the department of science education.