Helen Armstrong retirement celebration

A message from Wendy Dueck, director, Development and Alumni Relations:

On behalf of the Development & Alumni Relations team, it is with mixed emotions that I advise of the retirement of Helen Armstrong from her role as Development Officer – Scholarships & Bursaries, effective August 31.

While we are very happy for Helen that her retirement from this position allows her to spend more time on an activity that she has pursued with passion for the past nine years – teaching ESL part-time at Niagara College – she is a valued member of our team and will be greatly missed.

Helen has served in various roles at NC for almost 17 years. During this time, she has been committed to fundraising for scholarships and bursaries, helping to ensure ongoing financial support is available for our students. Helen has built many positive relationships with donors, including one that resulted in the College receiving the largest gift ever as a bequest in a Will of a long time donor whom Helen had thoughtfully stewarded over many years.

We are pleased to invite members of the NC community to an Open House to celebrate Helen’s many years of service and dedication, extend congratulations on her upcoming retirement from her full-time position, and wish her well in the next phase of her ncstory!

Date: Thursday, August 15, 2019

Time: 3 to 5 p.m.

Location: Development & Alumni Relations Office
Suite 303, Niagara Corporate Business Centre
509 Glendale Ave. E, Niagara-on-the-Lake

NC alumna Carrie Vondrau elected president of Ontario Dental Hygienists’ Association

Niagara College graduate and dental hygienist Carrie Vondrau has been elected President Elect of of the Ontario Dental Hygienists’ Association (ODHA), a not-for-profit organization with close to 8,000 members.

Vondrau, of Cambridge, who graduated from the College’s Dental Hygiene program in 11998, began her  one- year term on May 24, 2019.

A registered dental hygienist, she brings a wide range of clinical experience and knowledge to the position. As a member of the Board of Directors, she joins a team of professionals whose main objective is to advance the profession of dental hygiene, educate the public about the importance of good oral health for overall health, and to advocate for access to oral health-care for all Ontarians.

As essential members of the health-care team, dental hygienists have a distinct role to play in the prevention of oral disease and in the promotion of oral health. This positions dental hygiene as an integral part of Ontario’s primary health-care system.

Dental hygienists work in a variety of public and private health-care settings. With more than 250 independent dental hygiene clinics and mobile practices located across the province, the public has increased access to affordable dental hygiene services.

Those who benefit most are low-income families, the uninsured and those who are physically unable to get to a dental office such as the sick or the homebound, residents in long-term care homes and those living in remote areas.

Established in 1963, the ODHA advocates for the profession. Dental hygiene is one of the largest regulated health-care professions in the province. In Ontario, all dental hygienists are registered with the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario, which regulates the profession to ensure the public receives safe and comprehensive oral health care.

Source: ODHA news release

Niagara College Class of 2019 to make history at Spring Convocation

Canada’s first-ever Cannabis and Distilling graduates to cross the stage

Niagara College is preparing to celebrate its largest spring convocation ever – and make history in the process.

More than 5,100 students will graduate from the College this spring, making NC’s Class of 2019 its largest to date, as the College marks its Spring Convocation ceremonies. To be held from June 17-21 at the Welland Campus, the ceremonies will also mark a special milestone for the College with Canada’s first graduates to earn a postsecondary credential in Commercial Cannabis Production (June 20, 10 a.m.) and Artisan Distilling (June 21, 10 a.m.) Both postgraduate certificate programs launched at the College in fall 2018 as the first of their kind in the country.

Convocation is the highlight of the academic year and a celebration of student success at NC.

“All of the students who cross the stage at Convocation are part of Niagara College’s legacy of student success,” said College president Dan Patterson. “Our graduates have the skills to take on industry challenges and become tomorrow’s leaders. Our faculty and staff take great pride in their accomplishments.”

Spring Convocation will include eight ceremonies over five days, all held at the Welland Campus Athletic Centre. Graduates and their guests will hear from a variety of distinguished business and community leaders who will deliver convocation addresses and receive special honours from the College.

Keith Segal

Ceremonies will begin on Monday, June 17 at 3 p.m. with the School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker Studies. The convocation speaker for the afternoon will be Keith Segal, owner, president, and CEO of guard.me International Insurance. Segal is a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist serving the education industry and supporting international students. He will receive an Honorary Diploma in International Studies.

Kim Plewes

Tuesday, June 18 will begin at 10 a.m. with a ceremony celebrating graduates in the School of Community Services. Kim Plewes, principal development director of WE, a movement and organization to help communities around the world create positive social change, will deliver the convocation address and will receive an Honorary Diploma in Community Studies. Tuesday morning’s ceremony will also see Child and Youth Care graduate Emily Stewardson Gregory receive the 2019 Governor General’s Academic Medal, which is presented to the graduate with the highest overall grade-point average. Stewardson Gregory will graduate from the Child and Youth Care program with a 98.43% grade-point average.

Richard Taylor

The 3 p.m. ceremony will see students in the School of Business and Management hear a convocation address from Richard Taylor, president of Niagara Casinos, a recognized gaming industry leader who heads one of the largest business operations in Niagara. .. Taylor will receive an Honorary Bachelor Degree in Applied Studies.

Dr. M. Mustafa Hirji

Ceremonies will continue the morning of Wednesday, June 19 with the School of Justice and Fitness Studies. Dr. M. Mustafa Hirji, acting medical officer of health for the Niagara Region, will address convocation. Hirji’s career focus is on the public health and emergency services that protect Niagara’s 450,000 residents and 15 million annual visitors. Hirji will be granted an Honorary Diploma in Health Studies.

Betty-Lou Souter

On Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m., the ceremony for the School of Academic and Liberal Studies, the School of English Language Studies, and the School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker Studies will open with an address from Betty-Lou Souter, CEO of Community Care, St. Catharines and Thorold. Souter is known as the voice of poverty in Niagara, advocating for a healthy and vibrant community. Souter will receive an Honorary Bachelor Degree in Applied Studies.

Carolyne Watts

On Thursday morning, the ceremony for the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies and the School of Technology Studies will take place. Guest speaker Carolyne Watts, plant manager for General Motors, St. Catharines Propulsion Plant, and a former chair of the Niagara College Board of Governors will address graduating students. Watts has spent nearly four decades with General Motors and has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to environmental preservation, safety awareness and community outreach. Watts will receive an Honorary Bachelor Degree in Applied Studies.

Mike Crawley

At the Thursday morning ceremony, School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies will see the first cohort of Commercial Cannabis Production graduates cross the stage. The first of its kind in Canada, the program launched in 2018 to meet the industry’s demand for highly skilled cannabis growers.

On, June 20 at 3 p.m., graduates in the School of Media Studies and the School of Trades will hear from CBC News reporter, Mike Crawley. Crawley is the Ontario provincial affairs reporter and has also reported on important global issues in Africa, Europe and the US. He will receive an Honorary Diploma in Journalism.

Kelly L. Brown

Spring Convocation Ceremonies conclude on Friday morning where graduates in the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Sport, and School of Food and Wine Sciences, will hear from Kelly L. Brown, senior vice president, Legal and Corporate Affairs for Arterra Wines Canada Inc. Brown is considered one of Canada’s top lawyers and sits on the leadership team for Arterra, the leading wine producer in Canada. Brown will receive an Honorary Graduate Certificate in Wine Business Management.

Inaugural graduates from the Artisan Distilling program, from NC’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute, will cross the convocation stage at the final ceremony on Friday morning. Launched in 2018 as the first of its kind in Canada, the program rounded out NC’s program offerings as the only college in Canada with full-time wine, beer and distilling programs.

Niagara College’s Spring Convocation Ceremonies are streamed live, and may be viewed at livestream.com/accounts/15502389/NCSpringConvocation2019

Segal family donates to Niagara College’s new International Centre, scholarships and Be World Ready bursaries

New facility at Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus to be named Segal Family International Centre

At its Seafood Gala on the evening of April 5, Niagara College announced that the family of Keith and Sharon Segal have given more than $1 million to support international education at the College.

The generous $1,050,000 donation – half of which will support the development of, and equipment and furnishings for, NC’s new International Centre located at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus – was announced by College president Dan Patterson to an audience of almost 700 business, education and community leaders at the Gala, which is NC’s signature fundraising event.

“On behalf of all of us at Niagara College, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Segal family for this generous gift,” said NC president Dan Patterson. “Keith and Sharon Segal are long-standing supporters and friends of Niagara College whose passion for international education and philanthropic giving have helped thousands of students, not just at Niagara College, but across Canada. The Segals truly understand the transformative impact international students have on our campuses and in our communities, and the value of students studying abroad.”

This new Centre will significantly enhance the College’s ability to support its growing international student body, and the donation will enable students to benefit from study and work abroad activities. Fifty per cent of this gift will provide scholarships to international students attending NC, and Be World Ready bursaries for International Field Studies, semester exchanges and internship and co-op abroad, preparing students to become ‘world-ready’ graduates.

In recognition of the Segal family’s generous gift, NC will name the new facility at its NOTL Campus the Segal Family International Centre. The space is designed as a welcoming, one-stop service for international students to support their success. The Segal International Centre at NC’s Welland Campus is named in recognition of a previous $500,000 donation from Keith and Sharon Segal, along with their years of support for NC’s scholarships and instructional equipment and learning resources.

“As a family, we are very proud to support Niagara College’s growing international division and its diverse student population,” said Keith Segal, president and founder of guard.me International Insurance. “We feel that international education is the best tool for changing the world as it allows students to experience, investigate, understand and respect other cultures and ways of living. We could solve a lot of the problems in this world through understanding and respect for other people, and that’s what international education does.”

Keith and Sharon Segal are owners of guard.me International Insurance, and Keith Segal, CLU is president and CEO. Founded in 1998, guard.me International Insurance is one of the world’s largest insurance providers in international education, receiving numerous national and international awards for its client-focused approach and customized services. As part of its long-term investment in the field of international education, guard.me also regularly gives back to the community it serves in the form of resources, scholarships and funding.

Since 2002, Niagara College and guard.me have enjoyed a close and mutually-beneficial partnership, supporting students – over the past 17 years, tens of thousands of NC students have been served by guard.me. Keith and Sharon have been long-time supporters and great friends to Niagara College over the years, and many NC students have realized their educational and career goals thanks to scholarships supported by the Segal family.

A rendering of the outside of the new Segal Family International Centre at Niagara College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus.

A rendering of the inside of the new Segal Family International Centre at Niagara College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus.

The Seafood Gala is Niagara College’s signature annual fundraising event raising more than $2.8 million over the past 29 years to fund equipment, learning resources, scholarships and bursaries for students. This premier event, supported by many Niagara College student volunteers, features a sumptuous buffet with a variety of decadent seafood dishes and more to please every palate, accompanied by Niagara College wines. Guests enjoy an elegant evening filled with live entertainment, music, dancing, and silent and live auctions. For more information, visit ncseafoodgala.wordpress.com.

Link to video: youtu.be/tkNWFOA92x8


Graduation to Employment sessions for soon-to-be-grads

Soon-to-be graduates seeking help to find work in their fields can get help with their job search during two special drop-in sessions offered by Niagara College’s Community Employment Services (CES) division.

Staff from Community Employment Services, located at 43 Church St. in St. Catharines, will host two on-campus sessions:

  • Thursday, March 21, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus in N002.
  • Thursday, April 4, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Welland Campus in the security foyer, near the campus bookstore.

“As an Employment Ontario Service Provider, we deliver a number of programs that can provide new graduates with job search assistance and potential employers with hiring incentive dollars,” says Rebecca Nicholls, Manager, Community Employment Services. “We know this is a stressful time of year for graduating students, so we want to meet with them right on campus to let them know how we can help them find work in their fields.”

NC’s Alumni Relations will also be on-hand at the sessions to connect with students and explore ways to stay connected as they transition to alumni.

Community Employment Services delivers a variety of youth-focused employment programs that can give new graduates an edge in the competitive job market.

Building dreams: Niagara College student receives Women in Construction Faculty Award

It’s not always easy to pursue career dreams – especially for female students entering industries traditionally dominated by men, such as construction.

In advance of International Women’s Day, a Niagara College construction student received a helping hand, as the recipient of the College’s first Women in Construction Faculty Award. Established through the generosity of Welland resident Jan Erion, the award is a $500 donation toward a student’s tuition, designated specifically for a female student in one of the College’s construction programs.

“As a female in the construction field, I feel very fortunate to have had a successful career in the construction industry,” said Erion. “This award has been established to encourage other women to persevere in overcoming any obstacles in order to succeed in this rewarding field.”

The award recipient is third-year Construction Engineering Technology student Jessica Garrett of Niagara Falls. “I was very surprised and honoured to receive this award,” said Garrett. “I have had to overcome many obstacles to get where I am today.”

Garrett noted that she has always been passionate about the industry. She pursued her interest in Grade 12 through a Specialist High Skills Major in construction where she helped construct a home for Habitat for Humanity. Following high school, she enrolled in NC’s Construction Techniques program to explore opportunities in the field, and worked for a year before enrolling in her current program. Last summer, she began working for Associated Engineering, and has continued to work part-time as she completes her final year of college.

“I have always loved construction, learning how things were built and how they work,” she said, “I enjoy being able to use a large variety of skills such as math and writing and the different challenges the field presents.”

Garrett has encountered many challenges however, as she pursued her career dreams. In the past, she encountered sexism due to her size and gender, while pursuing her interest in construction. She faced financial challenges, living on her own since the age of 18 and working two jobs while completing the Construction Techniques program to pay her tuition.

Her greatest challenge was during her first year as a college student, when an abusive relationship left her with trauma and physical disabilities which required her to use a cane and, for months, a wheelchair. While, at times, she felt like giving up, she went through therapy, continued her education as well as working her part-time job. Now, that she has fully recovered, Garrett hopes her story will inspire or help other women.

“Even with all of these obstacles, I managed to overcome them and succeed,” she said. “If just one woman going through something similar sees this, and it helps them, then it’s worth it.”

Faculty member Frank Roberts, in consultation with a group of faculty members, selected Garrett for the award, noting that she had faced some very difficult times as a student, including her physical disabilities.

“She never complained about the extra effort that was required to get to class. She was always prepared,” he said. “Despite all of the obstacles she faced, Jessica continued to improve in her course by maintaining positive study habits and dedication to succeed.”

Roberts noted that the Construction Engineering Technology program currently has 10-15% female enrolment – which he is hoping will increase in the years ahead. Similarly, female students comprise about 10% of the College’s School of Technology construction-based programs (Construction Engineering Technology, and Civil Engineering Technician). In the Carpentry Renovation Techniques program within NC’s School of Trades, that number lies at about 7%.

“I believe the construction sector has many fantastic opportunities for female students to excel in and great opportunities to advance in their chosen field,” said Roberts. “Our graduates are well prepared to face any challenge in the ever-changing industry.”

Dean of Media, Trades and Technology Vincent Shaikh noted that the College has a number of initiatives and activities designed to attract more female students to the construction industry and skilled trades, including working with elementary and high schools to encourage female students to enter these career pathways.

“We strive to create a diverse environment which provides equal opportunity that prohibits any form of discrimination, and we ensure that our female students have access to mentoring groups for support,” he said. “Female students do excel in this traditionally male-dominated industry. More work is needed to break down gender stereotypes.”

The Women in Construction Faculty Award is one of many awards available to help students financially at Niagara College, through the generosity of individuals, businesses and organizations.

“Financial aid helps our students pursue their dreams and has a lasting impact on their success,” said Helen Armstrong, development officer, scholarships and bursaries. “We are grateful to Jan Erion and to all of our generous donors who are making a difference in the lives of our students by contributing to student awards, bursaries or scholarships at Niagara College.”

Visit donate.niagaracollege.ca

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies 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




Media inquiries, please contact:


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Cell: 905 328-4101


Development and Alumni Relations welcomes new staff member: Courtney McLoughlin

Message from Wendy Dueck, director, Development & Alumni Relations:

I am pleased to welcome Courtney McLoughlin to the Development & Alumni Relations department in the position of Administrative Assistant, effective Monday, February 25.

Courtney has a BA in Business from Brandon University and a graduate certificate in event management from Niagara College (2007). She brings a wealth of experience in fundraising administration and donor engagement to her new role.

For the past ten years, Courtney has held several positions with the Niagara Health Foundation including development coordinator, community giving officer, and most recently as communications and development officer -events and community giving.

Courtney will be located with the Development & Alumni Relations team on the third floor of the Niagara Corporate Business Centre (Suite 303) and can be reached at extension 7453 or cmcloughlin@niagaracollege.ca.

Please join me in welcoming Courtney to the NC family!

Seafood Gala tickets sell out

A message from Development and Alumni Relations:

We are thrilled to announce that the Niagara College 30th Annual Seafood Gala is sold out!

The Seafood Gala is Niagara College’s most successful annual fundraising event raising more than $2.9 million in its 29-year history to support student success by funding equipment, learning resources, and scholarships and bursaries. This premier event features a sumptuous seafood buffet prepared by the award-winning chefs of the Fallsview Casino Resort, accompanied by Niagara College wines. Guests enjoy an elegant evening filled with live entertainment, music, dancing, and silent and live auctions valued at nearly $100,000.  We are proud that this event is supported by nearly 75 Niagara College students.

If you would like to be added to the wait list for tickets please contact Joanne Cousineau, development and event coordinator at 905.641.2252, ext. 7775 or email jcousineau@niagaracollege.ca

For event details visit: www.niagaracollege.ca/seafoodgala

NC presents 30th annual Seafood Gala

A message from Development and Alumni Relations:

Tickets are now available for Niagara College’s 30th annual Seafood Gala.

This year’s event will be held on Friday, April 5, 2019 at the Fallsview Casino Resort Grand Hall in Niagara Falls.

The Seafood Gala is NC‘s most successful annual fundraising event. In its 29-year history, it has raised more than $2.9 million for equipment, learning resources, scholarships and bursaries.

This premier event features a sumptuous buffet including many seafood and non-seafood items, prepared by the award-winning chefs of the Fallsview Casino Resort, accompanied by NC wines. Guests enjoy an elegant evening filled with live entertainment, music, dancing and silent and live auctions valued at more than $100,000. Supported by nearly 75 NC students, this event is one not to be missed.

Reception begins at 6 p.m. and dinner begins at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $250 per person (staff rate available). Tables seat 10.

There are a limited number of staff tickets available at a special rate of $200 per ticket (maximum of two tickets per staff member). Each paid staff ticket will receive a $25 charitable tax receipt. To order tickets at the staff rate, please contact Joanne Cousineau at ext. 7775 or via email at jcousineau@niagaracollege.ca

The event is black tie optional. Non-seafood options will be available. Please join us for the 30th annual Seafood Gala. The event has consistently sold out for the past several years, so please don’t delay. We are looking forward to enjoying a wonderful evening with you.

For event details visit: www.niagaracollege.ca/seafoodgala