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 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