Niagara College celebrates Grand Opening of Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Welland

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on July 28 to mark the official opening of the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Centre at Niagara College’s Welland Campus. Pictured (from left): Andrew McCuaig (grad, research associate, Research & Innovation); Marc Nantel (associate VP, Research & Innovation); Dan Patterson (NC president); John Scott (NC Board of Governors); Charles Sousa (Ontario minister of Finance); Geordie Walker; Norris Walker; Jim Bradley St. Catharines MPP); Jackie Phelan (Walker Industries); Mike Watt (Walker Industries); Daniela Cortes Aristizabal (student, research associate, Research & Innovation).

View time lapse video of Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (construction) here.

Ontario is supporting the development of a highly-skilled workforce and helping businesses in Niagara region access the technology and expertise they need to grow, create jobs and compete in the global marketplace.

On July 28, Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, joined local companies, Niagara College students and industry leaders at the grand opening of the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Welland.

The new Niagara College-affiliated centre provides students with more than 15,000 square feet of lab space for hands-on applied learning, innovation space for companies to work onsite and office space for Niagara students and industry staff.

The centre will also help Ontario’s small and medium-sized manufacturers save on production costs and reduce production time by providing them access to leading-edge equipment and state-of-the-art research facilities as well as the expertise and business services of faculty and students.

Fostering innovation and growth, and increasing opportunities for the province’s workers, is part of Ontario’s plan to create jobs, grow its economy and help people in their everyday lives.

“By supporting the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, students in the Niagara Region will have access to modern learning spaces and equipment that will help them develop the skills they’ll need for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said  Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

“Ontario’s dynamic manufacturing sector is a key component of our diverse economy. The Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre is a shining example of a company that has taken advantage of home grown talent to drive success, while providing custom work for businesses throughout the region,” said Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance. “These investments are among the many significant measures we’ve taken to help the sector grow and compete as we build and nurture the workforce of tomorrow.”

The Walker family and Walker Industries donated $1.2 million to support Niagara College’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre.  The gift from the Walker family is the largest private corporate donation ever made to Niagara College.

The fifth generation Walker family members are the owners of Walker Industries, a Niagara-based company that owns and operates limestone quarries; road construction and paving businesses; an emulsions plant; an integrated waste management system which includes collection, transfer, recycling, composting, biosolids management, landfill gas utilization and waste disposal; and a residential and commercial development division.

“As a family and a business that has had strong roots in the region for 130 years, we are proud to invest in Niagara College’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre,” said Geordie Walker, company shareholder, Walker Industries. “The ability to innovate is key to future economic prosperity. We see our gift as a way to support other local industries to innovate, prosper, and contribute to the continued growth of the Niagara economy, while providing students with work experiences that will make them the innovators of the future.”

“It’s an exciting day for Niagara College as we formally recognize how the province of Ontario’s investment and the donation from the Walker family has made it possible to provide manufacturers with increased access to leading-edge facilities, equipment, technical expertise, training and services, while increasing training and employment opportunities for our students,” said NC president Dan Patterson.

 

QUICK FACTS (Ontario Ministry of Finance)

*  Ontario invested $4.2 million for Niagara College’s new Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre.

*  Manufacturing real GDP in Ontario has risen for three consecutive years, while employment in the sector increased by more than 6,000 in 2016 and continues to advance in 2017.

*  Over the past three years, Ontario’s economy has grown faster than Canada’s and that of all G7 countries, supported by the government’s strategic investments. Manufacturing, exports and business investments are increasing and the unemployment rate continues to decline.

LEARN MORE

Construction Begins on New Manufacturing Innovation Centre

Two NC students receive prestigious DiRōNA scholarships

Representatives from DiRoNA present scholarships to two Niagara College students at the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus June 19. Pictured from left: Craig Youdale (dean, NC Canadian Food and Wine Institute), Helen Tabitha Lindsay (NC student, Winery and Viticulture Technician program), Don Ziraldo (wine pioneer), John Arena (founder, DiRoNa), Scott Breard (executive director, DiRoNA), Kelly Breard (executive director, DiRoNA), Alexis Currell-Therrien (NC student, Honours Bachelor of Applied Business International Commerce and Global Development) , Justin Williams (NC, associate dean, School of Business and Managemetn), Dan Patterson (NC president).

Helen Tabitha Lindsay and Alexis Currell-Therrien are the recipients of DiRoNA’s 2017 scholarships.

The Distinguished Restaurant of North America (DiRōNA) Award, one of the most prestigious awards for fine dining, has named two Niagara College students as recipients of its 2017 DiRōNA scholarships.

“DiRōNA is excited that two of our seven 2017 DiRoNA Scholarships are being awarded to students from Niagara College” said Scott Breard, DiRōNA executive director. “Niagara College is providing an exceptional education for students seeking careers in the restaurant industry. The campus is conveniently situated in the heart of the Niagara wine region making it a premier location.”

Recipients of the $2,500 (USD) scholarships are Alexis Currell-Therrien who is entering her third year of the Honours Bachelor of Applied Business International Commerce and Global Development program; and Helen Tabitha Lindsay, a first-year student of the Winery and Viticulture Technician program.

Lindsay, who is originally from Toronto, said she was surprised and very happy about the news.

“It’s exciting; I didn’t even know someone from the program had nominated me,” said Lindsay.  “I’m going on a practicum to work at a winery in Portugal at the end of August until mid-December, so this is great timing to receive a scholarship.”

Currell-Therrien, who is a resident of Niagara Falls, said she too was surprised by the news that she would be receiving the scholarship. Her nomination came from the Niagara tourism industry, as she has worked at Whirlpool Aero Car for the past five years.

“I feel ecstatic. This scholarship is really going to help me out in pursuing my studies this year,” said Currell-Therrien.

The students met with representatives from DiRōNA and the College on July 19 to receive their scholarships and were treated to lunch at Benchmark restaurant.

“At Niagara College, our vision is to enrich lives and fulfill dreams of our students, and we thank DiRōNA for their generous scholarships that will help make that happen for two of our students,” said Niagara College president Dan Patterson. “Through its support for student learning, we applaud DiRōNA for its investment in the future of the industry.”

Founded in 1990, DiRōNA was established to promote the fine dining industry and offer recognition to award winners across North America.  The authority for excellence in distinguished dining,  DiRōNA provides a forum for education, networking, philanthropy, and marketing benefits for the distinguished dining community. Since its founding, the DiRōNA Award Scholarship Fund has helped countless students to pursue careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Beau’s Brewery Marks 10th Birthday With Legacy Gift to Niagara College Brewing Students!

Craft brewery Beau’s All Natural brewing celebrated of 10 years of brewing craft beer in Eastern Ontario, with a special gift to Niagara College.

At a ceremony held July 2 as part of Beau’s 10th birthday celebrations, Tim and Steve Beauchesne announced that beginning with the 2016/2017 academic year, the brewery will be awarding three $1,000 awards and one $2,000 scholarship annually to students enrolled in the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program at Niagara College.

The $1,000 awards will be given to level two students who have shown promise in brewing innovation, be that in style, technique, or approach. The $2,000 scholarship, intended to promote diversity and equal representation, will be awarded to a student who is working with cultural, gender or health obstacles or opportunities that may affect his or her academic and career success in craft brewing.

“These legacy gifts are designed to inspire and help direct the promising future of craft brewing in Ontario and in Canada,” said  Beau’s co-founder and CEO Steve Beauchesne. “They reflect the values that our fans and fellow brewers have come to know and expect from Beau’s over the last decade.”

“Strong ties to Ontario’s craft brewers is a key ingredient in our Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program, and we’re very grateful to Beau’s for their generous contribution, which will support our students’ success,” said Craig Youdale, dean of Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute. “I’m particularly pleased that the Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Scholarship will support students who demonstrate perseverance and an innovative approach – characteristics that we work hard to instill throughout our programs.”

The $1,000 awards will be awarded by faculty to students who meet the criteria. The $2,000 scholarship can be applied for through the college, with a deadline this year of September 30, 2016. Information about the scholarships and awards, including application details, will be posted soon at http://www.niagaracollege.ca/costs-financial-aid/scholarships-and-bursaries.

The Niagara College awards and scholarship are part of a series of announcements marking Beau’s 10th birthday. In May, Beau’s announced the start of its transition to employee ownership, and in early June its partnership as the official brewery of Ottawa 2017. More 10th Birthday announcements will be coming over the coming months as Beau’s looks back on 10 years, as well as forward to the future.

Beau’s All Natural is an employee-owned and totally independent Canadian craft brewery.

Speaker Paul Charette Pops Surprise Donation Announcement at Convocation Ceremony!

College president Dan Patterson (pictured right) receives a $250,000 cheque from Paul Charette (left) at the June 24 convocation ceremony. The College will match funds from Charette’s donation to establish the Paul and Gerri Charette Scholarship – a $500,000 endowed fund for students in the College’s School of Technology.

More than 50 years ago, a bursary helped Paul Charette gain a college education; today, as a respected leader in the construction industry and strong supporter of the Canadian college system, he is helping other students do the same.

As the guest speaker at Niagara College’s June 24 convocation ceremony, the former CEO and current Board of Directors chair for Bird Construction – who is also the past director of Colleges and Institutes Canada – delivered a surprise announcement to the packed gymnasium of new graduates and their guests: a donation of $250,000 to establish a new scholarship.

“Today, my wife and I are pleased to announce that we are setting up an endowment fund at Niagara College that will help future students financially,” said Charette.

Niagara College will match Charette’s donated funds to create a $500,000 endowed fund, establishing the Paul and Gerri Charette Scholarship dedicated to students in the College’s School of Technology.

The announcement was met with a standing ovation during the ceremony, which celebrated 875 new graduates from the schools of Media Studies, Technology Studies and Trades.

“We are truly grateful for Paul and Gerri’s generous donation. We couldn’t ask for a greater testament to the applied education we offer our students than through this gift from a nationally recognized leader in the construction industry, a college alumnus, and past director of Colleges and Institutes Canada,” said Niagara College president Dan Patterson. “What a wonderful investment in the development of highly-skilled workers needed for the growth of the construction and technology sectors.”

The news was well received by dean of NC’s Media, Trades and Technology Division Misheck Mwaba. “The gesture by Paul and Gerri demonstrates their commitment to supporting the training of the next generation of knowledge workers who will grow and sustain Ontario’s economy,” said Mwaba. “We are extremely grateful that their gesture is directed to the students in our School of Technology. This will encourage students to pursue careers in technology and motivate recipients to focus on their education.”

Charette’s announcement followed his highly inspirational speech to new graduates. He shared the story of his disadvantaged upbringing in Winnipeg where he faced the challenges of poverty – growing up in a family of six in a 700-square-foot home without sewer or water – as well as being raised by an alcoholic and abusive parent. He spoke about how receiving a $200 bursary helped fund his first year of college and how his education contributed to his success.

“You have received an education that will open many doors for you and provide you with many career opportunities,” he told the new graduates.

Charette, who received an Honorary Diploma in Technology Studies during the ceremony, also shared his recipe for success with the new grads. “Get a good education – you now have a great start, but in this age of a knowledge-based economy, rapidly changing job descriptions and new technologies, lifelong learning is more important today than it has ever been,” he said. “Jobs that you may have in the next five years could disappear and you may be working in a job in the next five to 10 years that does not even exist today. You need to be prepared.”

The ceremony capped off the College’s largest ever spring convocation ceremonies to date, celebrating more than 4,570 new graduates from June 21-24.

Niagara College School of Technology

Niagara College’s School Technology offers a variety of programs, from engineering to renewable energies. Students study at the Welland Campus in the newly renovated Rankin Technology Centre. The 120,000-square-foot complex and features classrooms and labs with the latest state-of-the-art equipment, including a welding lab, drafting room, materials lab, and a 10,000-square-foot ‘big bay’ where two-storey homes can be constructed. For information visit: http://www.niagaracollege.ca/technology-studies

About Niagara College

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Continuing Education courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit NiagaraCollege.ca.

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Media inquiries, please contact:

Michael Wales
Senior Communications Officer
Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7773
Cell: 905.328.4101
mwales@niagaracollege.ca

Julie Greco
Communications Specialist
Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7368
Cell: 905.328.2532
jgreco@niagaracollege.ca

TD Bank Group’s $150,000 gift to establish new environmental studies bursary

TD_Announcement_Apr22_EarthDay_Wetland-2415

From left: Niagara College President Dr. Dan Patterson; Elizabeth Spaan, Senior Regional Manager, TD Wealth; Coby Hawkins, Niagara District Vice President, TD Canada Trust; Peter Berridge, Relationship Manager, TD Commercial Banking; Derek Brodie, Investment Advisor and Branch Manager, TD Wealth; Tim Caughey, Portfolio Manager, TD Wealth.

TD Bank Group announced a $150,000 gift to Niagara College’s Achieving Dreams Campaign today, which will establish a new bursary to support students in Niagara College’s environmental programs.

Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, more than 80 students over four years will receive financial awards via the TD Environmental Studies Bursaries. The award will be based on both academic excellence and financial need.

“TD is proud to support Niagara College’s Achieving Dreams Campaign,” said Coby Hawkins, District Vice President, Niagara Region, TD Canada Trust. “We’re committed to building stronger communities through education and environmental stewardship. We believe that the TD Environmental Studies Bursaries will help provide valuable opportunities for students and make a meaningful difference in Niagara and beyond.”

Announced on Earth Day, the bursaries will be available to students studying in environmental programs, including Environmental Technician – Field and Laboratory (Co-op);  Ecosystem Restoration; Environmental Management and Assessment; Geographic Information Systems – Geospatial Management; and Renewable Energies Technician.

“We at Niagara College are very proud of our environmental programs as well as our strong commitment to environmental responsibility,” said Niagara College President Dan Patterson. “The students in these programs will go on to make our communities more sustainable, and we’re very grateful for TD Bank’s investment in their success.”

The TD Bank Group gift brings Niagara College closer to its $7 million Achieving Dreams Campaign goal, which includes $4 million for campus redevelopment, $2 million for scholarships and bursaries, and $1 million for equipment and learning resources.

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Continuing Education courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit NiagaraCollege.ca.

About TD Community Giving

TD Bank Group invests in communities in order to effect positive change in the places where it operates and where its customers and employees live and work. In 2015, TD donated more than $92.5 million to community organizations in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. In Canada, TD focuses on education and financial literacy, creating opportunities for young people and the environment. For further information, please visit www.td.com/corporate-responsibility.

Niagara College Receives $2.6 Million Bequest

nc lewis donation 1

Left to right, Niagara College Student Administrative Council president Shane Malcolm; Marta Voege, cousin of donor Eva Lewis; and Niagara College president Dan Patterson unveil plans for the Eva M. Lewis Library and Learning Commons at the Welland Campus.

Niagara College held a special ceremony today to mark the largest personal gift in its history.

Eva Mary Lewis, a school teacher raised in Welland who had family ties to Niagara College, left $2.6 million to the college when she passed away in 2013 at the age of 99. The contribution will support the Achieving Dreams Campaign, which is raising funds for Niagara College’s Capital Vision campus redevelopment projects, scholarships and bursaries, and equipment and learning resources.

The bequest was in addition to Lewis’s almost $500,000 in contributions to Niagara College between 2000-2008 to support scholarships, bursaries and the Welland Campus library.

To mark Lewis’s remarkable generosity, Niagara College officially named the hub of the Welland Campus the Eva M. Lewis Library and Learning Commons. Through Capital Vision projects, these spaces will be transformed to create a more integrated, vibrant learning hub with enhanced learning support services to help students achieve success.

“Eva Lewis was a remarkable individual who was very passionate about the important role that education can play in a person’s life,” said Niagara College president Dan Patterson. “Literally, generations of students will benefit from her remarkable generosity. I can’t think of a more appropriate way to celebrate Eva’s legacy than to have the heart of this campus named in her honour.”

Lewis’ contributions to Niagara College began in 2000 when she gave a gift of $294,037 to Niagara College to establish the Ellen and Patricia Lewis Memorial Scholarship in memory of her nieces, both of whom studied at Niagara College, and both of whom passed away relatively early in life due to illness. Three Ellen and Patricia Lewis Memorial Scholarships are awarded annually.

In 2004 Lewis and her sister, Helen, contributed $170,790 – which was matched by the provincial government for a total of $342,112 – to establish the Eva Mary and Helen Katherine Lewis Bursary, through which 15 bursaries are awarded annually.

To date, almost 250 students have benefitted from the Lewis scholarships and bursaries.

“This award not only helped me focus on school without stressing or having to work longer hours, but also pushed me to work harder in school,” said Shane McLeod, a second-year student in Niagara College’s Community and Justice Services program. “I am very thankful for Eva Lewis’s generous contribution to Niagara College, and feel it is very important that students recognize the impact donors like her can have on our education. She has made a tremendous impact on my education which I am forever grateful.”

Lewis’s $33,816 contribution to the College’s Building Futures Campaign in 2008 supported the expansion and relocation of the Welland Campus library.

“Eva was a very compassionate woman. She was very independent and very committed to education. She’d be very happy that things are happening this way – but she’d be embarrassed by the attention,” said Marta Voege, Lewis’s cousin. “I’m proud that her name and Helen’s name and the family name is there, but I’m not as gratified about that as having known her. She really had an impact on everybody.”

The Achieving Dreams Campaign is raising funds to support Niagara College’s Capital Vision campus redevelopment plan, as well as instructional equipment, scholarships and bursaries, and study abroad and leadership development opportunities. To learn more or to contribute, visit www.niagaracollege.ca/donate.

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Continuing Education courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit NiagaraCollege.ca.

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A video tribute shown at today’s announcement is available at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_3BsIN6y2Y

Media inquiries, please contact:

Michael Wales
Senior Communications Officer
Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7773
Cell: 905.328.4101
mwales@niagaracollege.ca

Julie Greco
Communications Specialist
Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7368
Cell: 905.328.2532
jgreco@niagaracollege.ca

About Eva Lewis

Born in Sudbury in 1914, Lewis was a first-generation Canadian whose parents emigrated from Ukraine. As a child she lived in Dain City and she studied to be a seamstress before attending teacher’s college. She began her teaching career in Cornwall, ON, before moving to Toronto, where she taught home economics at Danforth Technical School and Bickford Park School.  An avid gardener who travelled extensively, Lewis retired to Port Colborne, where she passed away in 2013.

PenFinancial supports local, community-minded students

PenFinancial%20Scholarship

PenFinancial Credit Union presented a $25,000 donation to Niagara College October 19 that will establish a scholarship to support community-minded, local students.

A total of $5,000 in PenFinancial Credit Union Scholarships will be awarded annually. The $1,000 scholarships will be presented at the start of all three annual terms (Fall, Winter, Spring) to a student from a Niagara region high school entering any Niagara College post-secondary or graduate program. The award is intended to support students who are actively volunteering their time to support a Niagara-based organization that is building strong, caring and inclusive communities.

“As a truly local financial institution, we are proud to celebrate Niagara youth who are making a difference by volunteering their time and talent to organizations across our communities,” said Bob Watson, PenFinancial Credit Union’s CEO. “Niagara is our home and we are committed to encouraging our next generation to continue to support not-for-profits that are building strong, caring and inclusive communities.

To be eligible for the scholarships, applicants must be a graduate of a high school in the Niagara region, and hold a minimum 75 percent academic average. Applicants will also be required to submit a one-page essay that describes how the award will help them in their studies, along with their volunteer activities.

“Like PenFinancial Credit Union, we place a high-value on community service and we provide many opportunities for our students to do work that enhances the lives of others,” said Niagara College president Dan Patterson. “We’re very grateful for PenFinancial’s generous support, which will help our students succeed.”

The first PenFinancial Credit Union Scholarship will be presented in January, 2016. For the next five years, two incoming students will receive the scholarships at the start of the Fall and Winter terms, and one incoming student will receive the scholarship at the start of the Spring term.

Meridian contributes $100,000 to Achieving Dreams Campaign

Meridian presented a $100,000 donation to Niagara College’s Achieving Dreams Campaign today to support student success and promote a spirit of entrepreneurship in Niagara College’s School of Business and Management Studies.

The donation will support the creation of the Meridian Scholarship, which will provide more than 100 scholarships over the next four academic years, ranging from $1,000 to $1,200. The scholarships will be awarded on the basis of academic achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership and volunteerism.

“Meridian has contributed to student success at Niagara College in many ways over the years and we’re very grateful for their ongoing support,” said Niagara College president Dan Patterson. “Student success is a key element of the Achieving Dreams Campaign. The Meridian Scholarship not only provides important financial assistance for students, but it also benefits the broader community by helping to create the business leaders of tomorrow.”

The Achieving Dreams Campaign is raising $7 million in community support for Niagara College’s Capital Vision 2016 project. The campaign will provide $4 million towards campus redevelopment; $2 million for student scholarships, bursaries and learning and leadership opportunities; and $1 million for instructional equipment and learning resources.

“Through Meridian’s Commitment to Communities, Meridian is dedicated to fostering financial literacy—especially among local entrepreneurs,” said Bill Maurin, Meridian’s president and CEO.  “As someone who lives and works in the Niagara region, I know first-hand the direct impact small business and entrepreneurs have on fostering a prosperous and vibrant economy. This donation will help foster the development of future entrepreneurs which will, in turn, benefit the Niagara community for years to come.”

The scholarships will be renewable, which means Meridian Scholars will have the opportunity to receive this support through to graduation. The associate dean of Business and Management Studies will also nominate Meridian Scholars to participate in Niagara College’s Leadership Exploration and Development (LEAD) program. Offered through the College’s Centre for Student Engagement and Leadership, the LEAD program equips students with the experience and knowledge required to develop as leaders.

“Entrepreneurial and leadership skills and perspectives are crucial in today’s economy,” said Vivian Kinnaird, dean of Business, Hospitality and Environmental Studies. “Our business programs foster these important characteristics and help transfer student ideas and skills to the marketplace.”

The first Meridian Scholarships will be awarded in September 2015.

With over 70 years of banking history, Meridian is Ontario’s largest credit union, helping to grow the lives of its more than a quarter of a million members, including over 21,000 business members. Meridian has $11 billion in assets under management and delivers a full range of financial services online, by phone, by mobile and through a network of 67 branches and seven business centres. Meridian members also have access to THE EXCHANGE® Network, with more than 2,500 no-fee ABMs across Canada and 360,000 ABMs in the United States. For more information, please visit: meridiancu.ca.

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Continuing Education courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit NiagaraCollege.ca.

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Note to editors: Photo attached. Caption: From left, Wade Stayzer, Meridian vice president, Sales and Service; Niagara College president Dan Patterson; Vivian Kinnaird, dean, Business, Hospitality and Environmental Studies; Bill Whyte, Meridian senior vice president and Chief of Member Services at the Niagara College Wine Visitor +  Education Centre, Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus.

Media inquiries, please contact:

Michael Wales

Senior Communications Officer

Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7773

Cell: 905.328.4101

mwales@niagaracollege.ca

 

Julie Greco

Communications Specialist

Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7368

Cell: 905.328.2532

jgreco@niagaracollege.ca

Walker family donates $1.2 million to Niagara College’s new Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre

NC’s Largest-ever corporate gift kicks off Achieving Dreams Campaign

Niagara College announced today that the Walker family and its Niagara-based Walker Industries Holdings Limited are donating $1.2 million to Niagara College – the largest corporate gift the college has ever received.

The donation – which will support the development of the college’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre — was announced to an audience of more than 600 business, education and community leaders at the Niagara College Foundation’s Seafood Gala. Held at the Fallsview Casino Resort, the annual Seafood Gala raises funds in support of student success.

“All of us at Niagara College are extremely grateful to the Walker family and Walker Industries for their generosity,” said Niagara College president Dan Patterson. “While their gift supports Niagara College, it’s also an important investment in innovation and economic development in the Niagara region. It’s a true cause for celebration.”

The Advanced Manufacturing Centre is a key element of the college’s $55 million Capital Vision 2016 expansion project, which will provide new and expanded facilities at the Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake campuses. The Walker donation marked the launch of the Niagara College Foundation’s Achieving Dreams Campaign, which will raise $7 million in support of the Capital Vision project.

In recognition of Walker’s generosity, the new centre will be named the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre. It will provide local manufacturers with access to much-needed facilities, equipment and technical expertise. The centre will significantly enhance Niagara College’s applied research projects, where faculty and student research teams work with small- and medium-sized manufacturers to innovate and solve operational challenges.

“While this gift is very significant for Niagara College, it’s also great news for manufacturers in Niagara, who will benefit from our enhanced capacity for innovation, and our job-ready graduates who will bring added knowledge and experience that comes from hands-on applied research opportunities to the workplace,” added Patterson.

“On behalf of our family and our employees, we are incredibly proud to invest in Niagara College through its Achieving Dreams Campaign,” says Sheila (Walker) Bonapace, one of the Walker Industries’ shareholders. “For businesses like ours, that depend on skilled workers that our college educates and trains, it’s important that we support this campaign. The future of our region depends on it.”

Walker Industries is a fifth-generation family business with its roots in Niagara, and facilities across Canada and the U.S. The company comprises a diversified group of companies, including aggregates and road building, emulsions and waste management businesses. The company’s head office is in Niagara – as are several of its operating facilities.

Niagara College’s research and innovation division has a solid track record of helping Niagara’s small and medium-sized manufacturers innovate. This new facility will allow it to increase the number of manufacturers it can assist, and expand the menu of services it can provide. Groundbreaking for construction of the new manufacturing innovation centre took place on March 18, 2015, with construction completion anticipated for early 2016.

“Innovation is critical to the economic growth of our region and Niagara College is committed to creating stronger links with business to foster innovation,” said Marc Nantel, associate vice present of Research and Innovation at Niagara College. “Manufacturing accounts for 16 per cent of Niagara’s GDP, with more than 900 companies employing 21,000 people – or one in nine Niagara workers. We’re committed to help them grow their business and with growth comes opportunities for new jobs.”

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Continuing Education courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit NiagaraCollege.ca.

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Media inquiries, please contact:

Michael Wales
Senior Communications Officer
Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7773
Cell: 905.328.4101
mwales@niagaracollege.ca

Julie Greco
Communications Specialist
Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7368
Cell: 905.328.2532
jgreco@niagaracollege.ca

John Fisher, President & CEO
Walker Industries Holdings Ltd.
Office: 905.680.3770
jfisher@walkerind.com