Today’s grads, tomorrow’s leaders: NC to celebrate Spring Convocation June 19-22

More than 3,700 students will cross the platform and enter the next phase of their life at Niagara College’s Spring Convocation Ceremonies, to be held at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus June 19-22.

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.

Vicki Heyman

Ceremonies will begin on Tuesday, June 19 at 10 am with the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Sport as well as the School of Food and Wine Sciences. The convocation speaker for the morning will be Vicki Heyman,

Daljit Singh Gujral

founder of Uncharted, values-driven family office that convenes and connects a diverse group of Americans and Canadians. Heyman will receive an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies.

The 1 pm ceremony will see students in the School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker Studies hear a convocation address from Daljit Singh Gujral, a first-generation entrepreneur from India and president of INSCOL, which operates a nursing institute in Toronto that trains internationally educated nurses who move to Canada. Gujral will receive an Honorary Diploma in Health Studies.

Coletta McGrath

Wednesday, June 20 will begin with a ceremony celebrating graduates in the School of Community Services. Coletta McGrath, executive director of Quest Community Health Centre and a founding board member of the St. Catharines Life Lease Corporation, an organization that built two of the first not-for-profit life lease buildings for older adults in Niagara, will bring the convocation address and will receive an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies.

Chief Bryan MacCulloch

In the afternoon, Bryan MacCulloch, chief of the Niagara Regional Police Service, will address graduates in the School of Justice and Fitness Studies, the School of Allied Health Studies, and the School of Nursing and Support Worker Studies. Chief MacCulloch will receive an Honorary Diploma in Police Foundations.

Anthony Spiteri

Ceremonies will continue the morning of Thursday, June 21 with the School of Business and Management Studies hearing from Anthony J. Spiteri, who graduated from Niagara College’s Business Administration program in 1989 with honours. Spiteri, recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award, grew up in Niagara, and is now a leader in the consumer packaged goods industry. He has held executive level positions with Maple Leaf Foods, Thrifty Foods, Lilydale Inc., New Food Classics and is currently vice president of marketing, research and development with Pinty’s Delicious Foods Inc.

Thursday morning’s ceremonies will also honour the recipient of the 2018 Governor General’s Academic Medal, presented to Business Administration – Accounting graduate Jesse Reynders, who graduates with a grade average of 98.23 per cent.

Tim Denis

Thursday ceremonies will conclude in the afternoon with Niagara radio host Tim Denis addressing graduates in the School of Academic and Liberal Studies, the School of English Language Studies and the School of Media Studies. Denis, who recently celebrated 40 years in radio, has been CKTB Talk Radio’s morning host for more than 23 years, and has made waves in Niagara and beyond with his work as a singer, actor, director and songwriter. He will receive an Honorary Diploma in Broadcasting – Radio, Television and Film.

Sarah Watts-Rynard

Spring Convocation Ceremonies conclude on  the morning of Friday, June 21.  Graduates in the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies, the School of Technological Studies and the School of Trades will hear from executive director of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum Sarah Watts-Rynard. An advocate of the skilled trades, Watts-Rynard works to encourage a better understanding of the high-level of competency and skill required by these careers. Watts-Rynard will receive an Honorary Diploma in Skilled Trades.

Friday will also be a milestone for the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies, as it will see the first cohort of graduates from the college’s Commercial Beekeeping program. The Graduate Certificate program is the first of its kind in Eastern Canada, and was launched in 2017 to meet a significant demand for qualified, professional beekeepers across the country.

 

Schedule of Proceedings

Tuesday, June 19 – 10 a.m.
Hospitality, Tourism and Sport; Food and Wine Sciences
Speaker: Vicki Heyman

3 p.m.
Nursing and Personal Support Worker Studies
Speaker: Daljit Singh Gujral

Wednesday, June 20 – 10 a.m.
Community Studies
Speaker: Coletta McGrath

3 p.m.
Justice and Fitness Studies; Allied Health; Nursing and Support Worker Studies
Speaker: Bryan MacCulloch

Thursday, June 21 – 10 a.m.
Business and Management Studies
Speaker: Anthony J. Spiteri

3 p.m.
Academic and Liberal Studies; English Language Studies; Media Studies
Speaker: Tim Denis

Friday, June 22 – 10 a.m.
Environmental and Horticultural Studies; Technology Studies; Trades
Speaker: Sarah Watts-Rynard

 

 

Today’s grads, tomorrow’s leaders: NC to celebrate Spring Convocation June 19-22

More than 3,700 students will cross the platform and enter the next phase of their life at Niagara College’s Spring Convocation Ceremonies, to be held at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus June 19-22.

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.

Vicki Heyman

Ceremonies will begin on Tuesday, June 19 at 10 am with the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Sport as well as the School of Food and Wine Sciences. The convocation speaker for the morning will be Vicki Heyman,

Daljit Singh Gujral

founder of Uncharted, values-driven family office that convenes and connects a diverse group of Americans and Canadians. Heyman will receive an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies.

The 1 pm ceremony will see students in the School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker Studies hear a convocation address from Daljit Singh Gujral, a first-generation entrepreneur from India and president of INSCOL, which operates a nursing institute in Toronto that trains internationally educated nurses who move to Canada. Gujral will receive an Honorary Diploma in Health Studies.

Coletta McGrath

Wednesday, June 20 will begin with a ceremony celebrating graduates in the School of Community Services. Coletta McGrath, executive director of Quest Community Health Centre and a founding board member of the St. Catharines Life Lease Corporation, an organization that built two of the first not-for-profit life lease buildings for older adults in Niagara, will bring the convocation address and will receive an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies.

Chief Bryan MacCulloch

In the afternoon, Bryan MacCulloch, chief of the Niagara Regional Police Service, will address graduates in the School of Justice and Fitness Studies, the School of Allied Health Studies, and the School of Nursing and Support Worker Studies. Chief MacCulloch will receive an Honorary Diploma in Police Foundations.

Anthony Spiteri

Ceremonies will continue the morning of Thursday, June 21 with the School of Business and Management Studies hearing from Anthony J. Spiteri, who graduated from Niagara College’s Business Administration program in 1989 with honours. Spiteri, recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award, grew up in Niagara, and is now a leader in the consumer packaged goods industry. He has held executive level positions with Maple Leaf Foods, Thrifty Foods, Lilydale Inc., New Food Classics and is currently vice president of marketing, research and development with Pinty’s Delicious Foods Inc.

Thursday morning’s ceremonies will also honour the recipient of the 2018 Governor General’s Academic Medal, presented to Business Administration – Accounting graduate Jesse Reynders, who graduates with a grade average of 98.23 per cent.

Tim Denis

Thursday ceremonies will conclude in the afternoon with Niagara radio host Tim Denis addressing graduates in the School of Academic and Liberal Studies, the School of English Language Studies and the School of Media Studies. Denis, who recently celebrated 40 years in radio, has been CKTB Talk Radio’s morning host for more than 23 years, and has made waves in Niagara and beyond with his work as a singer, actor, director and songwriter. He will receive an Honorary Diploma in Broadcasting – Radio, Television and Film.

Sarah Watts-Rynard

Spring Convocation Ceremonies conclude on  the morning of Friday, June 21.  Graduates in the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies, the School of Technological Studies and the School of Trades will hear from executive director of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum Sarah Watts-Rynard. An advocate of the skilled trades, Watts-Rynard works to encourage a better understanding of the high-level of competency and skill required by these careers. Watts-Rynard will receive an Honorary Diploma in Skilled Trades.

Friday will also be a milestone for the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies, as it will see the first cohort of graduates from the college’s Commercial Beekeeping program. The Graduate Certificate program is the first of its kind in Eastern Canada, and was launched in 2017 to meet a significant demand for qualified, professional beekeepers across the country.

 

Schedule of Proceedings

Tuesday, June 19 – 10 a.m.
Hospitality, Tourism and Sport; Food and Wine Sciences
Speaker: Vicki Heyman

3 p.m.
Nursing and Personal Support Worker Studies
Speaker: Daljit Singh Gujral

Wednesday, June 20 – 10 a.m.
Community Studies
Speaker: Coletta McGrath

3 p.m.
Justice and Fitness Studies; Allied Health; Nursing and Support Worker Studies
Speaker: Bryan MacCulloch

Thursday, June 21 – 10 a.m.
Business and Management Studies
Speaker: Anthony J. Spiteri

3 p.m.
Academic and Liberal Studies; English Language Studies; Media Studies
Speaker: Tim Denis

Friday, June 22 – 10 a.m.
Environmental and Horticultural Studies; Technology Studies; Trades
Speaker: Sarah Watts-Rynard

 

 

Today’s grads, tomorrow’s leaders: NC to celebrate Spring Convocation June 19-22

More than 3,700 students will cross the platform and enter the next phase of their life at Niagara College’s Spring Convocation Ceremonies, to be held at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus June 19-22.

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.

Vicki Heyman

Ceremonies will begin on Tuesday, June 19 at 10 am with the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Sport as well as the School of Food and Wine Sciences. The convocation speaker for the morning will be Vicki Heyman,

Daljit Singh Gujral

founder of Uncharted, values-driven family office that convenes and connects a diverse group of Americans and Canadians. Heyman will receive an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies.

The 1 pm ceremony will see students in the School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker Studies hear a convocation address from Daljit Singh Gujral, a first-generation entrepreneur from India and president of INSCOL, which operates a nursing institute in Toronto that trains internationally educated nurses who move to Canada. Gujral will receive an Honorary Diploma in Health Studies.

Coletta McGrath

Wednesday, June 20 will begin with a ceremony celebrating graduates in the School of Community Services. Coletta McGrath, executive director of Quest Community Health Centre and a founding board member of the St. Catharines Life Lease Corporation, an organization that built two of the first not-for-profit life lease buildings for older adults in Niagara, will bring the convocation address and will receive an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies.

Chief Bryan MacCulloch

In the afternoon, Bryan MacCulloch, chief of the Niagara Regional Police Service, will address graduates in the School of Justice and Fitness Studies, the School of Allied Health Studies, and the School of Nursing and Support Worker Studies. Chief MacCulloch will receive an Honorary Diploma in Police Foundations.

Anthony Spiteri

Ceremonies will continue the morning of Thursday, June 21 with the School of Business and Management Studies hearing from Anthony J. Spiteri, who graduated from Niagara College’s Business Administration program in 1989 with honours. Spiteri, recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award, grew up in Niagara, and is now a leader in the consumer packaged goods industry. He has held executive level positions with Maple Leaf Foods, Thrifty Foods, Lilydale Inc., New Food Classics and is currently vice president of marketing, research and development with Pinty’s Delicious Foods Inc.

Thursday morning’s ceremonies will also honour the recipient of the 2018 Governor General’s Academic Medal, presented to Business Administration – Accounting graduate Jesse Reynders, who graduates with a grade average of 98.23 per cent.

Tim Denis

Thursday ceremonies will conclude in the afternoon with Niagara radio host Tim Denis addressing graduates in the School of Academic and Liberal Studies, the School of English Language Studies and the School of Media Studies. Denis, who recently celebrated 40 years in radio, has been CKTB Talk Radio’s morning host for more than 23 years, and has made waves in Niagara and beyond with his work as a singer, actor, director and songwriter. He will receive an Honorary Diploma in Broadcasting – Radio, Television and Film.

Sarah Watts-Rynard

Spring Convocation Ceremonies conclude on  the morning of Friday, June 21.  Graduates in the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies, the School of Technological Studies and the School of Trades will hear from executive director of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum Sarah Watts-Rynard. An advocate of the skilled trades, Watts-Rynard works to encourage a better understanding of the high-level of competency and skill required by these careers. Watts-Rynard will receive an Honorary Diploma in Skilled Trades.

Friday will also be a milestone for the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies, as it will see the first cohort of graduates from the college’s Commercial Beekeeping program. The Graduate Certificate program is the first of its kind in Eastern Canada, and was launched in 2017 to meet a significant demand for qualified, professional beekeepers across the country.

 

Schedule of Proceedings

Tuesday, June 19 – 10 a.m.
Hospitality, Tourism and Sport; Food and Wine Sciences
Speaker: Vicki Heyman

3 p.m.
Nursing and Personal Support Worker Studies
Speaker: Daljit Singh Gujral

Wednesday, June 20 – 10 a.m.
Community Studies
Speaker: Coletta McGrath

3 p.m.
Justice and Fitness Studies; Allied Health; Nursing and Support Worker Studies
Speaker: Bryan MacCulloch

Thursday, June 21 – 10 a.m.
Business and Management Studies
Speaker: Anthony J. Spiteri

3 p.m.
Academic and Liberal Studies; English Language Studies; Media Studies
Speaker: Tim Denis

Friday, June 22 – 10 a.m.
Environmental and Horticultural Studies; Technology Studies; Trades
Speaker: Sarah Watts-Rynard

 

 

Development and Alumni Relations welcomes Jana Boniferro as alumni engagement officer

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

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Jana Boniferro as alumni engagement officer in the Development and Alumni Relations department. Jana joined the NC family on May 23.

Jana has a Business Communications degree from Brock University and over 10 years of experience in both the not-for-profit and corporate community. For the past five years she worked in the Advancement department at Brock University, most recently as senior major gifts officer focusing on the Goodman School of Business expansion; prior to that she worked on the fundraising efforts for the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. Both roles required her to create meaningful engagement and trusting relationships with key alumni – experience which will be instrumental in helping build a robust alumni community for Niagara College.

The primary focus of Jana’s role is fostering relationships and strengthening alumni affiliation that results in alumni having a lifelong relationship with the College. This includes presenting opportunities for meaningful continual engagement, such as sharing their talents and experience with students, and the ability to continue to learn from and with exceptional faculty members and talented peers.

Recognizing the existing effort and attention given within each College department to enrich the experience of students, both prior and beyond graduation, in the coming months Jana will be reaching out to the NC community to identify opportunities to engage, and strengthen the College’s relationships, with alumni.

In the interim, if you would like to reach out to Jana to discuss alumni engagement opportunities, she can be reached at extension 7427 or jboniferro@niagaracollege.ca.

Please join me in giving Jana a warm NC welcome!

Development and Alumni Relations welcomes Jana Boniferro as alumni engagement officer

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

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Jana Boniferro as alumni engagement officer in the Development and Alumni Relations department. Jana joined the NC family on May 23.

Jana has a Business Communications degree from Brock University and over 10 years of experience in both the not-for-profit and corporate community. For the past five years she worked in the Advancement department at Brock University, most recently as senior major gifts officer focusing on the Goodman School of Business expansion; prior to that she worked on the fundraising efforts for the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts. Both roles required her to create meaningful engagement and trusting relationships with key alumni – experience which will be instrumental in helping build a robust alumni community for Niagara College.

The primary focus of Jana’s role is fostering relationships and strengthening alumni affiliation that results in alumni having a lifelong relationship with the College. This includes presenting opportunities for meaningful continual engagement, such as sharing their talents and experience with students, and the ability to continue to learn from and with exceptional faculty members and talented peers.

Recognizing the existing effort and attention given within each College department to enrich the experience of students, both prior and beyond graduation, in the coming months Jana will be reaching out to the NC community to identify opportunities to engage, and strengthen the College’s relationships, with alumni.

In the interim, if you would like to reach out to Jana to discuss alumni engagement opportunities, she can be reached at extension 7427 or jboniferro@niagaracollege.ca.

Please join me in giving Jana a warm NC welcome!

CFUW House Tour May 6 supports student scholarships

Spend a memorable afternoon celebrating local architecture in the historic Port Dalhousie area and help support students along the way.

The Canadian Federation of University Women is hosting its 44th Annual House Tour on Sunday, May 6, from noon until 5 p.m. Tour five homes of character and enjoy a refreshment stop at St. John’s Anglican Church, one of the oldest parishes in Ontario with roots dating back to the 1830s.

Tickets are $25 and are available online at www.cfuwstcatharines.org, at 16 ticket outlets in Niagara (click here to see all ticket outlet locations) or at the houses on tour day.

Proceeds from ticket sales go to CFUW St Catharines’ Registered Charity for Scholarships, some of which support Niagara College students, and to local charities that help women and children in need.

For more information about CFUW St Catharines 44th Annual House Tour visit www.cfuwstcatharines.org ; call 289-696-1400 or email cfuwstcatharines@gmail.com

Niagara College Seafood Gala raises over $200,000 to support student success

A message from Development and Alumni Relations:

The Niagara College 29th annual Seafood Gala was held at the Fallsview Casino Resort on Friday, April 6, with 645 guests in attendance. The evening began with a thrilling performance by Greg Frewin who ‘magically’ made NC president Dan Patterson appear in a box for a grand entrance.

Thanks to our generous sponsors and supporters, the event raised more than $200,000 to support learning resources, equipment, scholarships and bursaries. This greatly enhances the College’s ability to offer financial aid to students and to provide a high quality, technology-rich learning environment to ensure they graduate work ready.

A highlight of the evening was an announcement by Patterson of a $1-million gift from the Marotta Family. This generous donation is supporting the development of a new innovation complex at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, which the College is proud to name: the Marotta Family Innovation Complex. This new facility will enhance the College’s ability to support innovation in Niagara’s agricultural business sector.

President Patterson also announced an additional $20,000 gift from Two Sisters Vineyards, owned by the Marotta family, to establish a Bursary Fund for students in the College’s Culinary Innovation snf Food Technology, Culinary Management, and Winery and Viticulture Technician programs.

We are very grateful to our presenting sponsor Fallsview Casino Resort, our Admiral sponsors Rankin Construction Inc. and TD Insurance Moloche Monnex, as well as our many College and Niagara community supporters who contribute to our students’ success by participating in this major fundraising event. Over its 29 year history, the gala has raised more than $2.8 million.

Please mark your calendar for the 30th Annual Seafood Gala on Friday, April 5, 2019. We hope to see you there!

For event details and photos visit ncseafoodgala.wordpress.com/

Marotta family donates to Niagara College’s new agri-food innovation complex

Benny and Louise Marotta, are accompanied by daughters Angela and Melissa, son-in-law Giuseppe Paolicelli, and grandchildren.

Niagara College announced on April 6 that the family of Benny and Louise Marotta are donating $1 million to support the College’s Achieving Dreams Campaign.

The donation of $1 million – which will support the development of, and equipment and furnishings for, Niagara College’s new innovation complex located at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus – was announced to an audience of more than 600 business, education and community leaders at Niagara College’s Seafood Gala.

The Gala also celebrated the successful completion of the College’s Achieving Dreams campaign. The campaign, which began in April 2015, far surpassed its original goal of $7 million. Including the Marotta family gift, a total of $11,450,791 has been raised to support three areas of student success:

  • $6,319,028 for campus redevelopment
  • $3,472,692 to support scholarships, bursaries, study-work abroad and student leadership development opportunities
  • $1,659,071 million to fund instructional equipment and learning resources

In recognition of the Marotta family’s generous gift, Niagara College will name the new complex the Marotta Family Innovation Complex. The new 49,000 square foot four-storey complex is scheduled for completion in Fall 2018 and will significantly enhance the College’s ability to support the growing competitiveness of Niagara’s agri-business sector. The complex will include agri-food research and innovation laboratories, incubation space for business, specialized training facilities for student engagement and entrepreneurship, and will house a student fitness centre and gymnasium on the lower level.

“As a family we have always looked ahead towards progress, keeping traditions alive and making communities stronger.  We are proud to be supporting Niagara College.  Our goal is to help ensure this vibrant student community is always looking forward and that they will achieve successes in all aspects of their life,” said the Marotta family.  “These students represent the future of our local agri-business industry and the wine and culinary community of Niagara on the Lake and will continue to bring it recognition on the national and world-wide stage.”

The Marotta family has been active in land and community development within southern Ontario.  They have a history of supporting various charitable organizations close to their hearts such as Mackenzie Health, Humber River Hospital, Sick Children’s Hospital, Vaughan Hospice, Art Gallery of Ontario, Caledon Food Bank and others.

Louise and Benny’s daughters, Angela and Melissa, are the proprietors of award winning winery Two Sisters Vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Two Sisters Vineyards has also committed $20,000 to Niagara College to establish the Two Sisters Vineyard Bursary Fund. Two awards of $2,000 each will be awarded annually to students in Niagara College’s Culinary Innovation and Food Technology, Culinary Management, and Winery and Viticulture Technician programs.

“All of us at Niagara College are extremely grateful to the Marotta family for their generosity,” said Niagara College President Dan Patterson. “This gift, supporting the Marotta Family Innovation Complex, will provide our students with innovative learning spaces, and facilitate cutting-edge research projects that will move Niagara’s growing agri-food industry forward.  It is an important investment in innovation and economic development in the Niagara region. The additional support through the Two Sisters Vineyards Bursary will help many capable and aspiring

Achieving Dreams campaign raises over $11 million to support student success

 

Niagara College has 11 million reasons to thank those who have generously supported students through the recently completed Achieving Dreams fundraising campaign.

At a special event on March 26 thanking those who have made significant contributions to the campaign, it was announced that Achieving Dreams far surpassed its goal of $7 million, raising a total of $11,450,791.

The Achieving Dreams campaign was launched in April 2015, with a goal of supporting student success through campus redevelopment projects; equipment and learning resources; and scholarships, bursaries, study-work abroad and student leadership development opportunities.

Thanks to donors’ generous support, 788 new student scholarships and bursaries were created, and $1.6 million of new instructional equipment was purchased to help provide students with the up-to-date equipment and support they need to excel in their studies.

Donations have also helped fund 203,000 square feet of new and renovated learning spaces, providing new and expanded facilities to enhance the student experience and expand the College’s research and innovation capabilities, such as a 49,000 square foot Innovation Complex to support Niagara’s agricultural-business sector, and the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, where teams of students and faculty work with local manufacturing companies on applied research projects to help these companies enhance and grow their businesses.

“Niagara College is extremely grateful to the many individuals and organizations who have so generously supported our students through the Achieving Dreams campaign,” said Niagara College President Dan Patterson. “Whether it’s learning equipment, innovative learning environments or financial aid that helps students pursue their dreams, your contributions have made, and will continue to make, a lasting impact on the life and success of our students.”

At the celebration on March 26, donors to the campaign saw the effect their contributions have had first-hand, as three Niagara College alumni shared their own personal stories of success.

Daniela Cortes Aristizabal graduated in 2015 from the College’s Business–Sales & Marketing program, and will graduate for a second time in 2019 from NC’s Mechanical Engineering program, joining her father and her sister, who are both graduates of the same program. Aristizabal benefitted from the state-of-the-art equipment and innovative learning opportunities provided through the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre. The Centre was funded in part by a generous gift from Walker Industries and the Walker Family.

“Thanks to this on-campus, state-of-the-art facility, students like me have a place to apply the skills we learn in the classroom at a real job, with a variety of industry clients,” said Aristizabal. “It’s rewarding to know that I’m helping contribute to Niagara’s economy by helping businesses innovate.”

Gurjeet Dhaliwal grew up in India and immigrated to Canada at the age of 20 in search of a better life. Arriving in Canada without any support or income, Dhaliwal had a master’s degree in Math and Economics but could only make a living by working a series of odd jobs. She entered Niagara College’s Dental Hygienist program and is now a proud graduate. Thanks to donors, she was able to learn on the latest high-tech equipment that allowed her to seamlessly transition into the workplace.

“At Niagara College’s dental clinic I trained on leading-edge equipment.  From computer software programs, to digital x-rays, to instruments like the ultrasonic cleaner – the equipment we learned to use as students prepared us well for the realities of working in clinical environments,” said Dhaliwal. “Now that I am in the workforce, the skills I acquired at Niagara College are ones I use every day.”

Connor McCulloch is also a proud Niagara College graduate and is living his dream as an advanced care paramedic. Receiving a scholarship helped to alleviate some of the financial pressures that came with being a student, and allowed him to focus on his studies.

“All the time I spent focusing on my studies paid off. I graduated with a professionalism award from my program, which reassured me that I was on the right track with my career choice,” said McCulloch. “Perhaps most importantly, being able to fully immerse myself in the program changed the way I thought about being paramedic. By the time I graduated, it was a true passion for me.”

   

NC grad returns: Letterkenny producer Mark Montefiore offers students inspiration, advice

Students and faculty from BRTF and Acting programs gather to hear from Mark Montefiore on March 16.

Time flies when you’re making dreams come true.

Standing before an audience of Broadcasting and Acting students at the Welland Campus on March 16, multiple-award-winning film and television producer Mark Montefiore could hardly believe it had been more than 15 years since he was in their place as a student at Niagara College.

Since he graduated from NC’s Broadcasting – Radio, Television and Film program in 2003 as an aspiring producer ready to take on the world,  the former St. Catharines resident has kept busy since then doing just that – and it’s paid off. Named The Hollywood Reporter’s Next Generation Under 36 (2015), and Playback’s Top 10 to Watch (2012), Montefiore’s name draws crowds as the executive producer of Craft TV / Comedy Network multiple-award-winning series Letterkenny whose ‘skids, hicks and hockey player” characters ‘pitter pattered’ their way into becoming a cultural phenomenon.

As president of New Metric Media, Montefiore also produces What Would Sal Do on the Superchannel and drama Bad Blood. He has also produced his way into several film credits. His feature film Cas & Dylan – starring Richard Dreyfuss and Tatiana Maslanywon a Circuit Audience Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival; and he produced award-winning films Easting Buccaneers and The Armoire.

Messages from Letterkenny to NC

Montefiore kicked off his presentation with video clips of personal messages to NC students from the cast of Letterkenny — including the famous Jared Kesso (creator, lead actor), Nick Bales, and Trevor Wilson.

“Hey students, if you’re writing for YouTube, make it short – two minutes tops,” said Kesso. “And if it’s not getting immediate reaction, like 1,000 views in a month, then take it down. Try something new.”

“You’re in a … great program,” said Bales. “Talent is great but hard work wins every time. Work at it.”

Making the NC connection

Montefiore told the students that Niagara College will prepare them well to enter the industry.

“Other schools don’t have what you have here and I certainly used that to my advantage,” he said. “You have your hands in everything, you’re forced to wear multiple hats … it’s a small team.”

He recounted how when he came to NC, he wanted to be an actor or a personality, but as a student this quickly changed. He didn’t know what producing was but first became interested in it after volunteering to produce for a TV class project. It was 5:30 p.m. and he was eager to leave campus for a date. As they went around the room to assign roles, it was a job that none of the other students wanted to do.

“I’m sitting here looking at my watch going, ‘I’ve got to get out of here.’ It was like, ‘who’s going to do sound,’ a couple of hands go up. ‘Who wants to direct,’ – everybody’s hands go up. ‘Who wants to do camera,’ – a couple of hands go up. ‘Who wants to produce,’ – nobody,” he said.

“I look at my watch and I’m like, ‘I’ve got to get out of here. I’ve got to go. I’ll do it,’ … and then I did it, and I discovered that I loved it,” he recalled.

As for his date, “I don’t remember who she was anymore,” he said with a chuckle.

He told the students how as a NC grad, he was able to succeed in the Toronto film and television industry as he worked his way up from being a volunteer with Craft Services – doing anything needed to assisting to finding lost cats – to taking on larger jobs and moving into different areas, into the administrative side, the set, the offices, coordinating production management, until larger opportunities came his way.

Recounting how it was his friend from NC, writer Dane Clark, was who first sent him a link to the web series Letterkenny Problems, which inspired him to pursue the idea of producing it as a television show. He encouraged the students to get to know one another and keep in touch.

“You’re in a great spot right here, there’s a lot of talented people in this room. They’re going to off and do great things,” he said.

Advice to students

In addition to responding to questions from students and faculty, Montefiore offered top tips for entering and succeeding in the industry.

“Sell yourself, because it’s really about you. It’s not about your project,” he said. “People will want to work with you when you’re the engaging charming self you are – work on that and you will find people who will want to work with you.”

He stressed the importance of socializing and meeting people at industry events, to be thankful and gracious – “no one owes you anything” – and to surround themselves with great people “so you are the least experienced and dumbest one in the room.”

He encouraged students to stand out from the crowd. “Be remarkable or no one will remember you or your project,” he said. “Do something a little different.”

He told students about the rejection they will encounter in the industry and how to have a solutions-based mindset.

While he said there’s no “right” or “wrong way” to get into the business, he encouraged them to find a way to get their foot in the door. “Once you’re in, move around, and then you will start to find your way.”

An inside look

He told students what it’s like to be a producer.

“Literally every single hour, within that hour it’s SO tremendously different. I could have maybe 10 or 12 calls in an hour between co-producers for Bad Blood, casting directors, bankers, financiers, broadcasters, publicists, all for a million different reasons – not even the same project,” he said.   I get bored very easily, and I love producing because when I get bored of working at the office I go to sets. When I get bored of sets I go to the office. When I get bored of that I go figure something else out.”

What’s it like to be on the set of Letterkenny?

“It’s a lot of laughs. Letterkenny is a unique experience because it’s so different than a lot of shows that I’ve been a part of,” he said. “There’s so many takes we just can’t use because the camera is shaking, because the camera operator is laughing his head off … it’s a good problem to have.”

What faculty, students are saying

BRTF faculy Alysha Henderson who organized the event, recalled how, as a student, Montefiore displayed that he had what it takes to succeed in the industry.

“His eagerness made him stand out as a student, he was always very engaged, very creative and interested in so many different things,” she said.

She noted that becoming a producer can be difficult because there is to direct path to the profession.

“To achieve what he has achieved is so significant, especially since he’s just started and he’s not even 40 yet,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what he does in the next 15 years.”

Students who attended the presentation were thankful for the opportunity to hear from Montefiore.

“I thought it was awesome. It was nice to hear from a grad from NC who has had so much success,” said Acting student Brevin Graziania. “I’m from Welland and sometimes you think you might have a hard time if you are not from Toronto. He was very inspiring.”

For first year BRTF student Sawyer Edworthy the presentation was not only inspirational, it gave him an opportunity to gain experience. It was his first time in the film studio as he volunteered to set up the lights and backdrop for the event, working with second years in the program.

“He was very inspiring and is what I strive to be. I hope to do something similar,” said Edworthy. “Maybe, I’ll be up there in 15 years.”