Niagara College to celebrate largest-ever graduating class at Spring Convocation, June 10 – 15

Niagara College’s Spring 2024 Convocation is approaching with the most exciting ceremonies yet as the College celebrates a record number of 5,500 graduates. This year’s events will highlight the achievements of the Class of 2024 and honour two distinguished guests, including a prominent Niagara business leader and a notable NC alumnus and Indigenous Elder.

The Spring Convocation ceremonies will be held at Niagara College’s Welland Campus in the Simplii Financial Athletic Centre from Monday, June 10 to Saturday, June 15.

“Spring Convocation is a time of pride and celebration at Niagara College,” said Niagara College President Sean Kennedy. “We are thrilled to honour our Class of 2024 and their remarkable achievements. This year, we are particularly excited to recognize two outstanding individuals whose exemplary contributions to their fields and communities embody the welcoming, trailblazing, and passionate characteristics of NC and will inspire our graduates as they embark on their own journeys.”

Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies – Business Administration: Wendy Wing

Wendy Wing, Senior Vice-President of Finance and Administration at Rankin Construction Inc. and Port Colborne Quarries Inc., and President of Rankin Renewable Power Inc. will be presented with an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies – Business Administration.

Wendy Wing, the Senior Vice-President of Finance and Administration at Rankin Construction Inc. and Port Colborne Quarries Inc., as well as President of Rankin Renewable Power Inc., will be presented with an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies – Business Administration. Recognized for her leadership in business and construction and her community stewardship in Niagara, she will be honoured during the ceremony on Wednesday, June 12 at 3 p.m., which celebrates new graduates from the College’s School of Technology and School of Trades.

Wing’s career at Rankin Construction spans over 30 years, during which she has led numerous real estate and renewable energy projects, including wind and hydro power developments. Her expertise in finance and administration has been pivotal in the successful completion of various heavy civil construction projects, such as roads, bridges, and marine work. Wing’s strategic role in the company involves analyzing new business opportunities and assessing their long-term financial impact.

Wing and her family are valued supporters and advocates of Niagara College, contributing to student success by funding scholarships and awards and by helping expand and improve campus so that students have the best teaching, learning, and gathering spaces. Across Niagara, Wing and her family founded the Rankin Cancer Run, which has raised millions of dollars for cancer research and support for patients. They have generously supported the Niagara Health System and many other community organizations.

Demonstrating her commitment to enhancing education, Wing was a dedicated member of Niagara College’s Board of Governors from 2016 to 2021, serving as Chair from September 2021 to August 2022 and as Vice-Chair from 2020 to 2021.

“I am deeply honoured and grateful to Niagara College,” said Wing. “I found my time on the Board of Governors enriching, and I am so excited to be back to celebrate with graduates on their special day. I wouldn’t be accepting this honour without the strength and support of our team at Rankin.”

Distinguished Alumni Award: Dave Labbé

Elder Dave Labbé, who graduated from Niagara College’s Electronics Engineering Technology program in 1971, will be presented with a Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dave Labbé, a member of the Innu from Northern Quebec, will be presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award during the ceremony on Monday, June 10 at 3 p.m., which celebrates new graduates from the College’s School of Community Services.

Labbé was part of the first class of students at Niagara College in 1967, graduating from the Electronics Engineering Technology program in 1971. Decades later, he returned to the College as an Elder, drawing on his own education to impart knowledge in a way that mirrors the unique learning he experienced as an NC student.

In 1995, Labbé became a Powwow Coordinator at the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre, a role that aligned with his calling to help people. He eventually became the Centre’s Youth Coordinator and soon after managed the youth program full-time, dedicating his efforts to supporting young men in overcoming addictions.

Labbé’s dedication to helping others led him back to Niagara College after his retirement, this time as an Elder. In this role, he mentors students, shares wisdom, and participates in college ceremonies.

In 2023, Labbé received the Celebration of Nations Outstanding Achievement Award for Empathic Traditions, recognizing his transformative work and dedication to supporting Indigenous people within Niagara and beyond. Known as “The Eagle that Flies,” Labbé is celebrated for his ability to connect with students, make them feel at ease, and foster a sense of belonging and support.

Twelve Spring Convocation Ceremonies

NC will host 12 Spring Convocation ceremonies at its Welland Campus, marking a record number of ceremonies for the College. Ceremonies include:

  • June 10, 10 a.m. (School of Justice and Fitness and School of Allied Health)
  • June 10, 3 p.m. (School of Community Services)
  • June 11, 10 a.m. (School of Culinary Arts and School of Environment and Horticulture)
  • June 11, 3 p.m. (School of Hospitality and Tourism and School of Wine, Beer and Spirits)
  • June 12, 10 a.m. (School of Media and School of Trades)
  • June 12, 3 p.m. (School of Technology and School of Trades)
  • June 13, 10 a.m. (School of Business and Management)
  • June 13, 3 p.m. (School of Business and Management)
  • June 14, 10 a.m. (School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker, School of Academic and Liberal Studies, and School of Business and Management)
  • June 14, 3 p.m. (School of Academic and Liberal Studies and School of English Language Studies)
  • June 15, 10 a.m. (School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker)
  • June 15, 3 p.m. (School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker)

A highlight of Spring Convocation will be the presentation of the prestigious Governor General’s Academic Medals to two graduating students who have achieved the highest overall grade-point average (GPA) – one from a diploma program and another from a degree program. Additionally, thirteen graduating students will receive Dean’s Awards for earning the highest GPA within their school of study.

To view the schedule and list of programs graduating within each School, visit the ‘Ceremony Schedule’ section of NC’s Convocation website. NC’s in-person Spring Convocation ceremonies will also be livestreamed via the Convocation website and ceremonies will remain on the website for later viewing.

Seven NC Alumni of Excellence honourees earn prestigious Premier’s Award nominations

The CEO of a major retail chain has joined a hospital president, a high-tech veteran, a community non-profit leader, a popular drag queen/pop star, a development technologist, and an automotive technical trainer as part of a select group of distinguished NC alumni to be nominated for prestigious Premier’s Awards.

The group represents the first cohort of Niagara College’s annual Alumni of Excellence honourees. Introduced this year, the annual program recognizes and celebrates the outstanding achievements of a distinct group of NC alumni through a series of on-campus programs and events and is the most significant recognition of NC graduates.

The Alumni of Excellence honourees have also been put forward for provincial recognition, as nominees for Colleges Ontario’s 2023 Premier’s Awards, which celebrate outstanding contributions that college alumni make to Ontario and the world.

Nominations are submitted from each of Ontario’s 24 colleges in seven categories: Apprenticeship, Business, Creative Arts and Design, Community Services, Health Sciences, Technology and Recent Graduate (within five years). NC’s 2023 nominees include:

  • Christine White (Apprenticeship) Lead Technical Trainer, Stellantis N.V. (NC Auto Service Technician grad, 2006);
  • Jason Ofield (Business), President and Chief Executive Officer, Bulk Barn Foods Limited (NC Business, Sales and Marketing grad, 2006);
  • Mark Carl (Community Services) CEO, Habitat for Humanity Niagara (Business Administration – Marketing grad 1997, and International Trade grad, 1997);
  • Mark Suknanan/Priyanka (Creative Arts and Design), Drag Queen, pop star and television personality (NC Broadcasting – Radio Television and Film grad, 2012);
  • Dorothy Urschel (Health Sciences) President and CEO, Columbia Memorial Hospital and Clinical Professor, State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo (Nursing grad, 1991);
  • Jessica Garrett (Recent Graduate) Development Technologist, City of Niagara Falls (NC Carpentry and Renovation Techniques grad, 2015, and Construction Engineering Technology grad, 2019);
  • John Zambakkides (Technology) President and CEO, Z3 Controls Inc. (Power Engineering diploma, 1972).

“From leading health care institutions and building cross-country retail chains, to working tirelessly to solve housing inequities and diversify the skilled trades, NC grads are at the vanguard of making change and leading our communities,” said Gord Arbeau, Niagara College’s Vice President, Advancement. “This cohort of distinguished Alumni of Excellence reflects NC students and graduates who are making the world and our region better places to work and live. They join past generations of alumni impacting our lives today and in the future.”

Colleges Ontario’s 2023 Premier’s Awards will be presented on November 27 at the Sheraton in Toronto. Nominees will be honoured and winners will be announced at an annual gala event, which is part of the Colleges Ontario Higher Education Summit.

NC alumni who have won previously include:

  • 2022: Journalist Murray Brewster (Broadcasting – Radio, Television and Film grad, 1985), and Founder of Erica’s Embrace, Erica Williams (Social Service Worker grad, 2018);
  • 2014: Royal Canadian Navy Capt. Rebecca Patterson (Nursing grad, 1987);
  • 2012: David Pratt (Greenhouse Technician grad, 2007);
  • 2011: Jerry Howell (Computer Engineering Technology grad, 1988);
  • 2008: Jordan Harris (Winery and Viticulture Technician grad, 2004);
  • 2003: Heather Kilty (Social Welfare Worker grad, 1969);
  • 1995: Carol Alaimo (Journalism-Print grad, 1984).

Niagara College has an alumni community of more than 120,000 – and growing. Visit niagaracollege.ca/alumnirelations.

Niagara College has a full-time enrolment of more than 11,000 students from over 80 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is consistently ranked among Canada’s top 10 colleges for research funding. Learn more at niagaracollege.ca.

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Media inquiries, please contact:

Michael Wales
Director, Communications
Niagara College
905-328-4101
[email protected]

‘Thank you for your kindness’

Students thank donors on Student Appreciation Day

Thank you for your kindness towards the college and us,” wrote international Business student Pranab Chapagai.

“Generous donors like you have a positive impact on students like me,” wrote Horticulture Technician student Sameet Patel.

“Thank you for putting a smile on our faces each morning,’ wrote Hospitality student Sabina Djotka.

There was an outpouring of gratitude at NC’s Development team table on Student Appreciation Day. What began as an initiative to thank students transformed into an opportunity for students to thank College supporters.

The team set up a table at the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake (outside of E102) on November 2 as part of a college-wide event, which offered students an assortment of treat giveaways and a chance for them to ‘pay it forward.’

Students had an opportunity to write thank-you cards to NC donors – specifically those who support NC’s Nourishing Minds Fund (through the Giving Tuesday initiative in November). Seventy-five students wrote cards to thank NC donors in just two hours.

A student takes time to write a thank-you card to donors to the Nourishing Minds Fund.

“I was blown away by the positive energy and enthusiasm during Student Appreciation Day,” said Emily O’Connor,  Development Officer who organized the initiative. “As a newer employee, it was great to interact with students and learn more about the programs they are taking or why they’ve chosen to attend NC. Many of them commented that they’ve participated in the Rise and Shine breakfasts that NCSAC puts on through the Nourishing Minds fund and when they found out they could thank donors and supporters of the program with a handwritten card, they were eager to give back.

“We underestimated how popular this activity would be and quickly ran out of cards and snacks within the first hour of being set-up.  Can’t wait to do it again!”

Students who wrote thank-you cards were entered into a draw for a chance to win a $50 gift card to the campus store. The winner was Stella Ng.

The notes will be given to supporters who donated to NC’s Giving Tuesday initiative last year, which raised  $9,250 for the Nourishing Minds Fund. Established by NC Student Administrative Council, the Nourishing Minds Fund addresses food insecurity by supplying electronic grocery cards to help students in need, to buy food, toiletries, and other life necessities.

NC plans to raise additional funds for Nourishing Minds Fund on Giving Tuesday 2023, which will take place on November 28.

Mark your calendar for Fall Convocation Oct. 26-27

With fall term well underway, Niagara College looks forward to celebrating its latest class of graduates.

Fall 2023 Convocation will be held on Thursday, October 26 (3 p.m. ceremony) and on Friday, October 27 (with ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.).

Details, including programs graduating this fall and ceremony schedules, are available at niagaracollege.ca/convocation.

Additional updates will be shared in the coming weeks via College’s convocation website.

The College will also continue offering graduates and their families an option to celebrate their special milestone virtually, from anywhere in the world. Ceremonies may be viewed in the moment via livestream or later via the convocation website.

Deadline for graduation requirements

A reminder to all potential graduates: Friday, September 15, 2023, 4:30 p.m. EST is the deadline to meet graduation requirements to be included in Fall 2023 Convocation ceremonies. An email reminder was shared with all potential graduates earlier this week. Students with questions may contact [email protected] with their name, student ID number and program.

Calling on volunteers for the 2023 Niagara College Golf Classic

A group of people wearing bright green t-shirts standing with a mascot outside.

NC is gearing up for one of the most exciting events of the year – the 2023 Niagara College Golf Classic – and we need volunteers to help to make it a resounding success! This is your chance to be a part of something extraordinary and contribute directly to our dedicated students’ journeys.

For over twenty years, the Niagara College Golf Classic has empowered students through scholarships, raising over $800,000. Your volunteer spirit will help ensure the event’s success and contribute to our students’ journey.

We are looking for enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers to bring an energetic and positive spirit to help create an unforgettable experience for all participants. Whether you’re a seasoned event volunteer or a first timer, your contribution will be invaluable in ensuring the success of this event.

Event Details:

Date: September 19th, 2023

Location: Peninsula Lakes Golf Club, Fenwick

Website: to learn more about golfclassic.niagaracollege.ca/

Those interested in volunteering can contact Laura Hull at [email protected]. Please submit volunteer requests by Wednesday, September 13.

Reminder: New process for students, alumni to access their transcripts digitally

A reminder that Enrolment Services is pleased to be offering all Niagara College students and alumni a new way to access and share their NC transcripts.

Effective August 16, all transcript requests will be processed through MyCreds™, a fast, secure, and reliable digital credential platform from the Association of Registrars of the Universities and Colleges of Canada (ARUCC).

Through this new process, students and alumni will be able to conveniently retrieve their NC transcripts through the MyCreds™ virtual credential wallet, giving them seamless access to securely share their documents as needed with other colleges and universities, government, employers and third parties. Documents issued through the innovative platform are tamper-evident and cryptographically signed, making them authentic and official.

What’s changing?

Students and alumni can continue to request transcripts free-of-charge through the MyNC portal, which will integrate with the MyCreds™ platform.

After making the request through MyNC, users will receive an email from MyCreds™ (this may take 1-2 business days) indicating that a document has been shared with them and prompting them to create an account to access and share their digital transcript.

A how-to instruction guide is available on the MyNC website here.

If you have questions about this new process, please contact Enrolment Services.

 

NC joins MyCred to offer digital transcript experience for students and alumni

A message from Enrolment Services:

Enrolment Services is pleased to announce that all Niagara College students and alumni will have a new way to access and share their NC transcripts.

Effective August 16, all transcript requests will be processed through MyCreds™, a fast, secure, and reliable digital credential platform from the Association of Registrars of the Universities and Colleges of Canada (ARUCC), which NC is a member of.

Through this new process, students and alumni will be able to conveniently retrieve their NC transcripts through the MyCreds™ virtual credential wallet, giving them seamless access to securely share their documents as needed with other colleges and universities, government, employers and third parties. Documents issued through the innovative platform are tamper-evident and cryptographically signed, making them authentic and official.

What’s changing?

Students and alumni can continue to request transcripts free-of-charge through the MyNC portal, which will integrate with the MyCreds™ platform.

After making the request through MyNC, users will receive an email from MyCreds™ (this may take 1 business day) indicating that a document has been shared with them and prompting them to create an account to access and share their digital transcript.

How-to instruction guides will be posted on the MyNC website when the service is launched on August 16.
If you have questions about this new process, please contact Enrolment Services.

Message from Gord Arbeau, Vice-President, Advancement: Director, Alumni Relations

Jana Boniferro NC’s new Director, Alumni Relations

I am very pleased to announce that Jana Boniferro is the successful candidate for the position of Director, Alumni Relations.

This new position supports the commitment to alumni engagement outlined in Niagara College’s Strategic Plan and recognizes the significant growth and diversification of our alumni community, and the opportunities to expand engagement of – and support for – Niagara College graduates.

As Director, Jana will build and lead an integrated team that will develop and execute a comprehensive strategy for engaging NC’s alumni – a community of more than 100,000 Niagara College graduates who are making remarkable contributions to their communities around the world. She will also maintain and enhance the College’s affinity partnerships and identify and grow new revenue streams to support alumni operations and priorities.

Jana brings extensive alumni and development experience to the role, having joined Niagara College in 2018 as the College’s first-ever full-time Alumni Engagement Officer. Since that time she has forged many collaborative engagement opportunities for alumni to connect with the College such as ReuKnighted, webinars and digital Ask an Alumni episodes, while helping to tell the compelling story of our graduates’ outstanding contributions and achievements worldwide. In this role, Jana also oversaw the College’s annual nominees for the prestigious Premier’s Awards – including the College’s first-ever double-win in 2022 (Murray Brewster and Erica Williams).

In 2022, Jana took on additional responsibilities as Interim Manager, Development and Alumni Relations, where she was responsible for negotiating and facilitating philanthropic gifts while providing day-to-day leadership of the Development and Alumni team.

Prior to joining Niagara College, Jana was a Senior Major Gifts Officer at Brock University. She recently earned her Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Fredericton, is a graduate of the Leadership Niagara program, and was the recipient of a 40 Under Forty Business Achievement Award in 2008.

Jana begins her new role on September 5. Please join me in congratulating her, and wishing her well in this new position.

NC welcomes Shannon Boeckner as Senior Director Development and Donor Stewardship

A message from Vice-President Advancement Gord Arbeau:

I am pleased to share the news that we will soon welcome Shannon Boeckner as NC’s Senior Director Development and Donor Stewardship.

Shannon comes to the College from the Equality Fund, where she serves as Director of Development and Community Relations. The Fund is a $300-million federally assisted program that supports equality and social justice measures globally. She also has experience in the education and health sectors, and has served in previous roles at Appleby College, Toronto Metropolitan University, and at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

Shannon holds an MA from the University of Toronto, an undergraduate degree from York University, and a post graduate diploma in communications from Seneca. She has earned the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation.

Shannon joins our Advancement team as we begin implementing strategies to advance NC, and to grow and expand community support for our students and strategic priorities. She will be a significant addition to our Advancement leadership team bringing considerable experience and knowledge to our accomplished group.

Please join me in welcoming Shannon when she begins her role at NC on June 19.

31st Annual Niagara College Gala – Celebrating Dreams

After a three-year hiatus, the reimagined “Niagara College Gala – Celebrating Dreams” returns on Saturday, April 15, 2023, at the Fallsview Casino Resort.

The new name and theme – Celebrating Dreams – reflects an event that brings together business, community, and other friends of Niagara College in celebration of – and support for – Niagara College students’ pursuit of goals, ambitions and dreams.

Previously known as the Seafood Gala, Niagara College’s annual fundraising event has raised more than $3 million in support of equipment, learning resources, scholarships, and bursaries over its 30-year history.

This premier event features a wonderful dinner prepared by award winning chefs of the Fallsview Casino Resort, accompanied by a selection of Niagara College wines. Guests will enjoy an elegant evening filled with live entertainment, music, dancing, and silent and live auctions valued at nearly $100,000.

Supported by nearly 75 Niagara College students, this event is one not to be missed.

Please join us at the 31st Annual Niagara College Gala – Celebrating Dreams on Saturday, April 15th, 2023 at the Fallsview Casino Resort Grand Hall in Niagara Falls, ON. Further details included below:

  • Reception: 6:00 p.m.
  • Dinner: 7:00 p.m.
  • $300 Per Person | Tables Seat Ten
  • Black Tie Optional

To order tickets, and for event details please visit gala.niagaracollege.ca

If you have any questions, please contact Joanne Cousineau at ext. 7775 or via email at [email protected]

The gala 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.