NC nominates seven graduates for 2018 Premier’s Awards

Seven members of the College’s alumni community have been nominated for this year’s Premier’s Awards celebrating Ontario’s outstanding college graduates.

Colleges Ontario’s annual Premier’s Awards honour the important social and economic contributions college graduates make to Ontario and throughout the world.  Nominations are submitted from each of Ontario’s 24 community colleges, and graduates are recognized in seven categories, including Apprenticeship, Business, Community Services, Creative Arts and Design, Health Sciences, Recent Graduate, and Technology.

View NC’s 2018 nominees for each category below.


Julia Falvo

Owner of Studio W Salon; Hairstylist and Hairstyling professor at Niagara College

Graduated from Hairstyling, 2011

Julia Falvo has accomplished so much in her 10 short years in the Hairstyling industry. She is the winner of numerous international, national and Skills Ontario competitions over the years including placing fifth at an international competition is Seoul, South Korea in 2016. She was awarded the inaugural Skills Ontario Alumni Award of Excellence in 2017 for her continued involvement and mentoring of students in the Skills Ontario competitions. Falvo is a Hairstyling Professor at Niagara College and she recently opened up her own salon, Studio W, where she employs recent graduates from her program



Miriam Laundry

Miriam Laundry

Author and speaker, Laundry Books

Graduated from Business Administration – Human Resources, 1997

Miriam Laundry is an award-winning author, success coach, and international speaker. After a personal tragedy, she was inspired to make a difference in children’s lives by promoting positive mental health. Her dream was realized with her first best-selling book I CAN Believe in Myself. The book  a Guinness World Record™ in 2014 after it was read by more than 100,000 children in more than 29 countries within 24 hours. This set. Her books have garnered numerous awards including Mom’s Choice Award, Royal Dragonfly Awards and Reader’s Favourite. Miriam was awarded the 2014 Winspiration Award as a person who exemplifies making a difference in the world.



Creative Arts and Design

Mark Montefiore

Mark Montefiore

President and executive producer, New Metric Media

Graduated from Broadcasting, Radio, Television and Film, 2003

As president of New Metric Media, Mark Montefiore executive produces the multiple Canadian Screen Award winning CraveTV original comedy series Letterkenny and What Would Sal do? and CityTV and FX drama series, Bad Blood. Montefiore produced the Toronto Film Festival Film Circuit Audience Choice winning film, Cas & Dylan, starring Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss and Emmy Award winner Tatiana Maslany. He negotiated the landmark partnership deal with Bell Media to produce more than 40 episodes of Letterkenny in the next three years. He was named The Hollywood Reporter’s Next Generation Under 35 (’14) and Playback‘s Top Ten to Watch (’12).


Community Services

Scot Filer

Scot Filer

Founder/chief executive officer, Lions Gate Risk Management Group and ARC Protection Group

Graduated from Law and Security Administration, 1977

After three decades in progressively senior positions in the RCMP, Scot Filer founded one of the most respected intelligence-based risk management firms in Western Canada, Lions’ Gate Risk Management Group. His experience in law enforcement spans major crime investigations, geographic profiling, threat evaluation and management, surveillance and tactical human tracking. Filer has provided expertise to law enforcement agencies across Canada as well as in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, England, Sweden, Belize and South Africa. He is recognized as a global expert in geographic profiling methodology used to investigate serial criminal violence.



Blaine Lucas

Blaine Lucas

Commander, Professional Standards, Toronto Paramedic Services

Graduated from Ambulance and Emergency Care, 1995

Blaine Lucas is an advocate of people-focused public service. As the commander of Professional Standards for the Toronto Paramedic Services, he is responsible for the regulatory oversight of unionized and management staff, identifying trends in continuous quality improvement and developing targeted quality assurance initiatives. The Toronto Paramedic Services has a workforce of 14,400 staff who respond to more than 300,000 paramedic emergencies each year. The Professional Standards Unit conducts complaint investigations, maintains a medical record database of 2.3 million ambulance call reports and management oversight of over 35,000 medical quality assurance transactions annually.


Recent Graduate

Shane Malcolm

Shane Malcolm

Executive director, Leadership Niagara

Graduated from Culinary Management, 2011; and Bachelor of Applied Business – Hospitality Operations Management, 2014

Shane Malcolm was the first international student in Niagara College history to lead the Student Administrative Council. As president he was involved in a number of advocacy efforts related to regional transit and played an integral role in putting mental health awareness in the spotlight. As executive director of Leadership Niagara, Malcolm led the organization through a governance reform and spearheaded the incorporation of the organization as a not-for-profit after 10 years of existence. He is recognized as a community leader and often tapped to contribute the emerging generation’s perspective on local community issues at municipal and regional levels.



Darl Crick

Executive vice president of Technology, CrossView Inc.

Graduated from Computer Programmer, 1995

Darl Crick has more than 20 years of experience in software development and software services. As executive vice president of Technology with CrossView Inc., he plays a pivotal role in defining the strategy and direction of technology-based products and services. His advanced skill set in technical business development, strategic decision-making and collaborating with Fortune 500 executive stakeholders has culminated in lucrative and dramatic business growth. Over the years, Crick has been able to apply his strong technical background to produce patents that are utilized in today’s software industry.


Nominees will be celebrated, and the winners will be announced at a gala event in Toronto on  November 26 as part of the Colleges Ontario Higher Education Summit. For more details about the awards visit

-Info submitted by Development and Alumni Relations


Niagara College prof, grad Christopher Bessette wins Best Director award

2012 film Trade of Innocents makes a comeback at CIFF

Niagara-based writer / director Christopher Bessette doesn’t only reach for the stars, he shines among them.

The Niagara College Broadcasting graduate and current part-time faculty member was among the star-studded nominees and winners at the second annual Canadian International Faith and Family Film Festival (CIFF) held September 14-16 in Toronto – including Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Dennis Quaid and Mira Sorvino. Bessette attended CIFF with multiple award nominations for his 2012 film Trade of Innocents, and walked away with the Best Director award, while cast member Sorvino also won Best Lead Actress for her role in the film.

Trade of Innocents — which raises awareness of child exploitation through human trafficking – was selected one of the featured films at CIFF and Bessette was invited to participate in a film festival panel alongside Oscar winner Roger Christian (Star Wars) and other industry experts.

CIFF festival co-founders and co-directors Jason Barbeck and Rafael Kalamat noted that Bessette was a great asset  to CIFF 2018, and that Trade of Innocents was very well received and is creating a lot of awareness. The film’s presence at the festival, they noted, attracted the attention of two foundations dedicated to the cause – Ratanak and Mighty Oaks.

“Rafael Kalamat and myself felt very strongly that this film was important to our festival and needed to shed light on the subject matter,” said Barbeck.  “Christopher’s insight and presence inspired filmmakers and gave his film a new life. As a result, he has made waves from Toronto all the way to Hollywood with social media.”

In addition to Bessette’s and Sorvino’s nominations, Trade of Innocents was nominated for Best Picture (which was won by Lions Gate/Mission Pictures feature I Can Only Imagine), and cast member Trieu Tran was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role (that award was won by Liotta for The Identical).

“This is remarkable and unprecedented,” said Bessette. “Our film had never really seen a release and when I was first contacted by the festival directors that it fit under their Revival qualifications and they suggested I should submit it – suddenly we are nominated, with some very recent big, high-grossing films.”

Bessette said he is grateful for the profile the recent awards have brought to Trade of Innocents, which he wrote and directed. “So many people put in such hard work into this film with passion because the topic deals with human trafficking and the child sex trade that it is too important to go unseen,” he said.

In addition to raising awareness about human trafficking, the film itself became an instrument for saving lives. At one of its only public screenings in Canada, it raised $43,000 in one night to rescue girls from the human traffic trade.

Since he graduated from Niagara College in 1984, the long-time Thorold resident has built a career as a multiple-award-winning filmmaker, motion picture writer/director/producer. His international career in the television and film industry has led him across Canada, the U.S. and Europe, as well as to Central America, Russia and Southeast Asia. In addition to Trade of Innocents (2012), his feature films include and The Enemy God (2008) which he directed, that spans 50 years of an Amazonian tribe. He wrote directed and produced the documentary Niagara: Thunder of the Waters (2016). His novel The Mythamohre was published in 2013.

Bessette has won two previous Best Director awards and 10 Best Picture Awards and his work has been seen on screens around the world. In 2012, he was nominated by Niagara College for a Premier’s Award in Creative Arts and Design.

Since 2013, he been passing on his valuable skills and experience to the next generation of film and television industry professionals at Niagara College as a part-time faculty member. He currently teaches two courses: Dramatic Scriptwriting, and Directing for the Screen.

Bessette often tells his students, “Hey, I am just a local guy that went to film school at NC. I had no idea that I would travel in this career throughout Europe into Russia, the deep forbidden zones of the Amazon jungle and into South East Asia.”

“I wrote and directed a movie working with an Academy-Award-winning actress and worked in Hollywood,” he said. “I had no idea any of that would happen when I look back at my 20-year-old self at film school. I was just following my passion.”

For info visit his website at  For information about the Canadian International Faith and Family Film Festival (CIFF) visit

NC grad Ryan Grande named new resort manager for Hotels Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica

Luxury Travel Advisor featured an article about NC grad Ryan Grande, who has been appointed as resort manager of  Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo on the north Pacific coast of Costa Rica. In his new role, Grande will lead the resort’s guest experience and oversee day-to-day operations.

Grande graduated in Hospitality Management from Niagara College in 2005.

View the article, posted September 7, here.

Q&A with Andrew Miele, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Hotel Business magazine shines the spotlight on Niagara College grad Andrew Miele, who is director of development, Americas, for the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Based in Miami, he is responsible for growing and strengthening the company’s portfolio of hotels and resorts across the region. 

Miele has worked for the Four Seasons his entire career, since he graduated from Niagara College. He was a member of the first graduating class of the College’s Bachelor of Applied Business – Hospitality Operations Management program in 2007. In June 2015, he returned to the College as a spring convocation speaker where he received a Distinguished Alumni Award.

View the article posted by Hotel Business magazine here.

Film festival spotlight shines on NC grad, prof Christopher Bessette

Trade of Innocents nominated for Best Picture

Writer/ director Christopher Bessette has a new reason to believe in second chances, with several new award nominations announced for his 2012 film Trade of Innocents.

The film – which raises awareness of child exploitation through human trafficking, starring  Academy Award-winning actor Mira Sorvino and Dermot Mulroney – has been nominated for Best Picture at the  Canadian International Faith and Family Film Festival (CIFF), which will take place in Toronto between September 14 and 16 – and that’s not all. Bessette, who is a Broadcasting graduate of Niagara College as well as a current part-time faculty member, has been nominated for Best Director for the film. Two cast members have also earned nomination for roles in the film, including Mira Sorvino (Best Lead Actress) and Trieu Tran (Best Supporting Actor).

Bessette will also take the stage as part of a festival panel discussion, along with Star Wars Academy Award winner Roger Christian, producer Cindy Bond of Mission Pictures International, TV executive Isaac Hernandez of UpLiftTV/Parables, producer and film historian Paul Burford, and screenwriter John Patus of Left Behind.

Christopher Bessette (photo by Robert Nowell)

The film’s resurgence at the festival came as a surprise to Bessette, who has built up a career as a multiple-award winning filmmaker, motion picture writer/director/producer, and author since graduating from NC’s Broadcasting program in 1984, and has been a part-time faculty member at the College since 2013.

“I am not entirely sure why this happened after all these years but I am grateful because of the subject the movie represents and all of the passion and hard work every single crew and cast member poured into it,” said Bessette.

“I am excited about the nomination. The significance is slowly setting in,” he said. “There are a lot of great new films at the festival and we are in the mix. It is extraordinary.”

Trade of Innocents has won awards in the past. Bessette received Best Director and Best Drama award for the film at the 2012 Breckenridge film Festival in Colorado and the film was the focus of a symposium on human trafficking at Yale University.

Besides raising awareness about human trafficking, the film which has itself become an instrument to save lives. At one of the only public screenings in Canada, it raised $43,000 to rescue girls from human traffic trade in one night. “800 people showed up and the organization that promoted it was hoping to raise $12,000 to rescue 10 girls from the human traffic trade,” he said. “What do you think happened? $43K was donated in one night!  Money kept rolling in and by the end of the month a total of $76,000 was received.”

The festival is “a wonderful way to see the movie on the big screen,” he noted.

Trade of Innocents plays at the festival on September 15 at 4 p.m. Bessette is scheduled for a Q& A following the movie. On September 16 at 2 p.m., he will participate in the industry panel. For tickets visit

The second annual Canadian International Faith and Family Film Festival (CIFF) takes place at Innis College, University of Toronto September 14-16 and is making its mark with an over the top group of nominated films from around the world. Visit

About Bessette

Bessette grew up in Thorold on his family’s 200-acre farm where he currently resides today. He first became interested in a career in the film industry while he was a Broadcasting student at Niagara College during the early 1980s. Since his College graduation, Bessette built an international career in the television and film industry which has led him cross Canada, the U.S.and Europe, as well to Central America, Russia and Southeast Asia.

In addition to Trade of Innocents (2012) which he directed and wrote, his feature films include and The Enemy God (2008) which he directed, that spans 50 years of an Amazonian tribe. He also wrote, directed and produced the documentary Niagara: Thunder of the Waters (2016). His novel The Mythamohre was published in 2013.

Bessette has won two Best Director awards and 10 Best Picture Awards and his work has been seen on screens around the world. In 2012, he was nominated by Niagara College for a Premier’s Award in Creative Arts and Design.

Bessette has been passing on his valuable skills and experience to the next generation of film and television industry professionals at Niagara College since 2013. He currently teaches two courses: Dramatic Scriptwriting, and Directing for the Screen.

For info visit his website at

Related articles

Prof Christopher Bessette’s new doc to air Dec. 7 (December 2016)

March grad spotlight: Filmmaker, author Christopher Bessette (March 2014)

Chapters to host Bessette book-signing event Jan. 25 (January 2014)

Niagara College nominates five outstanding alumni for Premier’s Awards (November 2012)

Environmental Management grad takes on sustainability role for Canada Summer Games

Athletics and sustainability. For Jenny MacKnight, these her two passions.

When the recent Niagara College graduate scored a job as a sustainability assistant coordinator for the 2021 Canada Summer Games, it was not only the perfect combination of the two, it was a dream come true.

“As soon as I read the application, I knew it was exactly the type of job I wanted to have,” she said.

MacKnight, who graduated from NC’s Environmental Management and Assessment graduate certificate program in June 2018, currently works as part of a small team that is busy planning and preparing for the 2021 Canada Summer Games which will be held in the Niagara region.

MacKnight is the only sustainability coordinator in the group, and works with the rest of the team out of a downtown St. Catharines office to incorporate sustainability into the business plan for the 2021 Games. While her focus is sustainability, she is also taking on other tasks, such as researching and creating a base for sports in the Niagara region, and creating a master list of sports teams, associations, and contacts in the region.

“I love working with my workmates. They bring such unique things to the table,” she said.

While she currently resides in St. Catharines, she has travelled a long way from her hometown. MacKnight grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan. Since the age of three, she has had a passion for sports, both as a fan and as an athlete, particularly when it comes to hockey.

It was a hockey scholarship that drew MacKnight to Ontario after high school. She attended University of Windsor and played hockey for the University of Windsor Lancers. She was named by the Ontario University Women’s Hockey Player of the Year, announced by Ontario University Athletics (2014) when she was also second overall in Canada.  As part of Team Canada 2015 Universiade, MacKnight represented the team in Spain at the FISU Winter Games where they won a silver medal.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies with a focus on resource management and minor in political science in June 2015, MacKnight returned to Saskatchewan where she worked as a conservation officer for the government of Saskatchewan at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.

A year ago, MacKnight returned to Ontario – this time to the Niagara region – specifically to attend Niagara College’s Environmental Management and Assessment program. She was drawn to the postgraduate program after hearing about it from her friends who graduated the previous year. While she didn’t know exactly which career direction her studies would lead her in, she chose NC due to the program’s reputation for offering real-world experience and producing graduates with skills in-demand by employers.

“It’s basically a one-year boot camp,” she said. “You get experiential learning and get back into the workforce with more knowledge and direction.”

One of the highlights for her, as a student, was an opportunity to work an internship with Hornblower Niagara Cruises. From January to April 2018, she worked as Hornblower’s sustainability specialist intern, where she put together a sustainability report for the company. She valued the experience she gained, working with graphic designers to put together an informative and visual report showcasing its environmental and socially conscious initiatives, as well as making internal recommendations to the company.

In early May, after completing her studies at the College, she was hired by the Canada Summer Games.

One of the highlights of her job for the Summer Games so far has been working with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) at its tournament in St. Catharines. MacKnight filled in wherever she was needed – from event management to transportation. It was her first taste behind the scenes at an official sporting event, which proved to be an eye-opener for MacKnight. As an athlete, she had never given much thought to the sustainability or logistics side of a sporting event. Now, it’s become her new mission.

“As a hockey player in tournaments, I just thought the bus will show up when it shows up,” she said. “But when you’re working transportation you have two buses and 10 teams, and you really have to manage it with a lot of multitasking.”

The experience she gained with FIBA will prove helpful in planning for the Canada Summer Games, which will take place at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines as well as more than 16 other locations across the region.

Working to build a sustainability and business plan for the games in 2021, MacKnight will be submitting recommendations on how to make the events and venues more sustainable. She has been visiting different potential venues as well as looking into where capital infrastructure will be built to make recommendations and incorporate concepts that will make it more sustainable. For example, one of the initiatives she is working on is to make recommendations for the Royal Canadian Henley rowing centre, in the hopes of establishing a net positive facility, meaning it will produce more energy than it will consume.

MacKnight believes that her background as an athlete makes her stronger in her current role, since she is able to view the events from an athlete’s perspective. She also believes her athletic background equips her with skills that benefit her in the workforce in general.

“I think being part of a team has helped me work in groups and develop skills such as public speaking,” she said.

As she revs up for 2021, MacKnight is grateful that her NC education has equipped her with the experience she needs to succeed in her current role – one that is proving to be a perfect fit for her combination of skills and interests.

“It’s all because of the experience I gained in my NC program,” she said. “I wouldn’t have gotten this job without it.”


Related articles

Niagara College joins community to welcome Canada Summer Games in 2021 to Niagara

Cheer on Niagara’s bid for Canada Summer Games at Livestream Viewing Party March 30

Niagara College supports Niagara’s bid to host Canada Summer Games


Bursaries help grow dreams

While college simply wasn’t an option for Sulmira Marroquin Menendez for most of her life, she is now a proud graduate who has gone the distance to make her dreams come true.

Her new life in Canada and her Niagara College education have opened doors to new possibilities that she never could have imagined growing up in Guatemala. Even as a child, education took a back seat to the necessity of working for survival. At the age of six, her father died, leaving her and her siblings to live with her grandmother “At that time, her priority was to have us working in order to have something to eat, and we didn’t have the time and money to study full-time,” she recalled.

After completing high school, Menendez moved to a more populated area to find work. There, she met her husband and their first son was born. Violence led her and her husband to flee the country in 2008 with their young son, seeking a safer place to raise their family. They spent a few years in New York, before they arrived in Canada as refugees in 2011 and began a new life in St. Catharines.

To help her adjust to her new life in Canada, she enrolled in Niagara College to study English as a Second Language, and completed the program in spring 2014. “We feel very thankful for all the opportunities that Canada and Niagara College gave to us,” she said. “The impact on the quality of our lives is immeasurable.”

Menendez worked as a custodian and several odd jobs before landing work as a general labourer at a Niagara-on-the-Lake greenhouse. While learning more about hydroponics, she became interested in pursuing her education in the field of horticulture.

“Because I grew up on a farm, I always wanted to study about plants,” she said. In January 2017, Menendez made the decision to go back to school. She returned to Niagara College as a Horticultural Technician student, while continuing to work part-time.

It was a challenging move for the mother of three, who was already dividing her time between household and parenting duties and her job. But Menendez knew that the College’s two-year Horticultural Technician diploma program would equip her with the tools she needed to succeed in her chosen field – and more. “It boosted my self-esteem,” she said. “I have more confidence knowing that I can do my job properly.”

College life also opened the door to unexpected opportunities. Earlier this year, she participated in an International Field Studies trip to the Dominican Republic – one of several short-term study offerings from Niagara College’s signature Be World Ready program, which is supported by travel bursaries funded by donors to the College.

While in Los Cacaos, students engage in activities related to fair-trade coffee production, greenhouse production, and environmentally sustainable growing methods, as well as interact with the community in cultural exchanges.

It proved to be an enriching experience for Menendez, who was interested in travelling to a Spanish-speaking country and putting the skills she learned in the classroom into practice. One of the highlights, for Menendez, was visiting an elementary school where she shared her experiences with the children.

“It was a very emotional morning. It reminded me of my childhood,” she said. “I really hope those kids get an opportunity to grow their potential and become successful in life.”

Seeing the children with very limited resources gave Menendez extra motivation to succeed her chosen career. She began to see that her dedication to her studies was paying off with good marks, and she was thankful for the support she had from faculty and her fellow students,

For Menendez, participating in the trip was only made possible through the generosity of donors, and she is grateful for the valuable opportunity.

“Without the travel bursary I couldn’t afford it. The bursary meant the difference between going or not going,” she said.

Today, Menendez – who is now 31 – marks two dreams fulfilled: becoming a college graduate, and becoming a supervisor. She graduated from the College’s Horticultural Technician program in June 2018 and has become a supervisor in charge of pest control at St. David’s Hydroponics.

“It started out as a dream,” she said, as she reflected on her journey over the past few years, “and has now become a reality.”


–  This scholarship write-up appeared as an advertisement in Niagara’s Metroland newspapers on July 28.



General Motors Canada donations enhance experiential learning at Niagara College


Three new General Motors vehicles rolled into Niagara College’s Motive Power Lab on June 25, destined for many years as key learning tools in Niagara College’s Motive Power programs.

The vehicles, a 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, a 2018 Chevrolet Suburban and a 2018 Cadillac XTS, were generously donated to Niagara College by General Motors Canada to increase the hands-on learning opportunities offered to students. The three vehicles contain some of the most current automotive technologies employed in modern consumer cars, and will allow students to gain real-world experience diagnosing, fixing, and replacing these technologies.

In addition, General Motors donated $50,000 to support the purchase of instructional equipment in the College’s recently opened Green Automotive Technology Lab. The 3,600-square-foot lab boasts electric vehicle charging stations, hybrid and electric motor diagnostic and simulation tools, alternative fuels technology, and vehicles that allow students unfettered access to the technology that will dominate the roads of the future. The Green Automotive Technology Lab will also be a hub for research activities into the future of automotive technology, working in concert with the College’s Research and Innovation division.

(L-R): Technologist Kevin Hachkowski, NC Board Chair John Scott, Carolyne Watts, plant manager at General Motors Canada’s St. Catharines Propulsion Plant, NC president Dan Patterson, Wayne Toth, Program Coordinator for NC’s Motive Power programs, Associate Dean of Trades Jeff Murrell, Gary Athoe, assistant plant manager at General Motors Canada’s St. Catharines Propulsion Plant, Motive Power Technician student Deepak Gupda, NC professor Pete D’Elia, interim dean of Media, Technology and Trades Marc Nantel and Gemma Copeland, personnel director at General Motors Canada’s St. Catharines Propulsion Plant,

Carolyne Watts, plant manager at General Motors Canada’s St. Catharines Propulsion Plant, presented the donation to Niagara College president Dan Patterson at the College’s Rankin Technology Centre this morning.

“General Motors Canada is proud to support Niagara College with this gift,” said Watts. “The new Green Automotive Technology Lab and its innovative curriculum will no doubt further Niagara College’s leadership in automotive education and training, and help support the changing needs of an evolving auto industry.”

General Motors Canada has long been a strong supporter of Niagara College’s Motive Power programs. The company works closely with NC’s school of trades to provide guidance and input on program and curriculum development, and many NC grads go on to become service technicians or service managers in GM dealerships across the country. On Aug. 27, 2015 GM Canada also donated a salvaged 2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS, which students rebuilt over a period of two years, giving them the opportunity to practice hands-on body repair techniques.

GM’s St. Catharines Propulsion Plant also partners with the College on several environmental initiatives, including collaborating for World Environment and Earth Day events, and hosting student field projects from the Ecosystem Restoration post-graduate program since 2011, and student interns from the Environmental Management and Assessment post-graduate program since 2013.

“Niagara College is incredibly thankful to GM Canada for this generous gift, and for their ongoing support of our School of Trades,” said Niagara College president Dan Patterson. “We pride ourselves on offering students a unique formula of hands-on, experiential training with the tools and technologies being used in industry, both now and in the future. This donation will allow our Motive Power students to train on the latest and greatest technologies in the automotive industry. As graduates, they’ll be well-prepared to enter this constantly evolving market.”

NC president Dan Patterson and Carolyne Watts, plant manager at General Motors Canada’s St. Catharines Propulsion Plan, stand with a donated 2018 Chevrolet Silverado


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

At the 3 p.m. ceremony, students from the School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker Studies will hear a convocation address from Daljit Singh Gujral. A first-gene

Daljit Singh Gujral

ration entrepreneur from India, Gujral is president of INSCOL, which operates a nursing institute in Toronto that trains internationally educated nurses who move to Canada. He will receive an Honorary Diploma in Health Studies.

Coletta McGrath

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

Chief Bryan MacCulloch

In the afternoon, Bryan MacCulloch, chief of the Niagara Regional Police Service, will address graduates from 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 on the morning of Thursday, June 21 with Anthony J. Spiteri, who will deliver the convocation address to the School of Business and Management Studies and will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award. Spiteri, who grew up in Niagara, graduated from Niagara College’s Business Administration program with honours in 1989 before becoming a leader in the consumer packaged goods industry. He is currently the vice president of marketing, research and development with Pinty’s Delicious Foods Inc., executive chairman of Erie Treat Motorsports, and chairman of Eataly Food Incorporated.

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 98.23% grade-point average.

Niagara morning show host Tim Denis will address graduates from the School of Academic and Liberal Studies, the School of English Language Studies, and the School of Media Studies at the afternoon ceremony. Denis, who recently celebrated 40 years in radio, has been a host at Newstalk 610 CKTB 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.

Spring Convocation Ceremonies will conclude on Friday, June 22. Graduates from the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies, the School of Technology Studies, and the School of Trades will hear from Sarah Watts-Rynard, executive director of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum. 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. She will receive an Honorary Diploma in Skilled Trades.

Friday will also mark a milestone for the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies, with its first cohort of graduates from the College’s Commercial Beekeeping program. The graduate certificate program, the first of its kind in Eastern Canada, was launched in 2017 to meet a significant demand for qualified, professional beekeepers across the country.


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 Services

Speaker: Coletta McGrath

3 p.m.

Justice and Fitness Studies; Allied Health Studies; 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

Please join me in giving Jana a warm NC welcome!