Former NC president Dan Patterson named President Emeritus; contributions to post-secondary sector recognized with national award

Niagara College’s fifth president, Dan Patterson, PhD, has been honoured with two special accolades in recognition of his remarkable contributions to Niagara College and Canada’s post-secondary landscape during his distinguished career.

Patterson, who concluded his 25-year tenure as NC president this past February, has been named President Emeritus of Niagara College, a designation bestowed on him by the College’s Board of Governors effective July 1, 2020. The honorary title recognizes Patterson’s outstanding service to the College and local communities.

“I, along with the entire Board of Governors, am thrilled to acknowledge Dan’s remarkable contributions to Niagara College, and our local communities, through the President Emeritus designation,” said John Scott, Chair of Niagara College’s Board of Governors. “Dan’s leadership and vision were vital to the dynamic evolution of the College over the past 25 years, and I am proud to confer his Emeritus status as part of his legacy in Niagara.”

Earlier this week, Patterson was also recognized by Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) as the 2020 recipient of its Distinguished Service Award, an honour given to him by his peers on CICan’s Presidents’ Leadership Network.

“As one of our longest sitting presidents, Dan Patterson has left an indelible mark on Niagara College, but also on the entire network of Canadian colleges and institutes,” said CICan President and CEO, Denise Amyot. “Under his leadership, Niagara College has grown into a vibrant institution that has both strong local and national impacts. He has had an extraordinary career, but he stood out for his contagious enthusiasm and his generosity when it came to supporting his peers and sharing his knowledge and expertise with others.”

Sean Kennedy, who succeeded Patterson as president of Niagara College this year, said the CICan Distinguished Service Award shows that Patterson also left a mark on postsecondary education in Canada.

“While we at Niagara College appreciate Dan’s remarkable legacy, this national honour really demonstrates that Dan’s lasting contributions to the college sector reach far beyond the borders of Niagara and Ontario,” said Kennedy. “I was fortunate to have Dan as a colleague and mentor for many years, and it gives me great pleasure to see him receive such well-deserved recognition.”

CICan is the voice of Canada’s publicly-supported colleges, institutes, cegeps and polytechnics, and an international leader in education for employment with ongoing programs in over 25 countries. Learn more at www.collegesinstitutes.ca.

Niagara College offers more than 150 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, spirits, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit niagaracollege.ca.

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Photo caption: Former Niagara College president Dan Patterson is pictured at one of the many convocation ceremonies he celebrated over his 25-year career with the College.

Media inquiries, please contact:

Michael Wales
Manager, Corporate Communications
Cell: 905-328-4101
[email protected]

 

Raising the bar for quality craft spirits: NC Teaching Distillery unveils its first rum

After more than a year in the making, Niagara College Teaching Distillery is rolling out its first rum – just in time for summer cocktail season.

School Spirits Small Batch Rum was created by the College’s inaugural Artisan Distilling Class of 2019, comprised of the first students to graduate from the program launched by the College in September 2018 as the first of its kind in Canada.

The rum follows the Teaching Distillery’s previous School Spirits releases including Eau-de-vie de Fruits (January 2019), Vodka (March 2019) and Small Batch Gin (May 1019).

“Our first rum has been highly anticipated following the release of three inaugural School Spirits products which sold out quickly upon release last year,” said Steve Gill, general manager of NC’s Learning Enterprises. “Our first student-crafted rum showcases the distillation and fermentation talents and skills of our students, and offers a taste of what our country’s future craft distilling leaders are producing.”

College distiller David Dickson noted that the release of School Spirits Rum is an achievement for the students that were responsible for its creation, as well as the College as its first rum spirit to be released.

“The rum production came at a time when the students had already honed their distilling and fermentation skills, and they were able to execute the production with a higher degree of independence,” said Dickson. “They have set the bar high for the quality of the aged spirits being produced by the Teaching Distillery.”

Golden in colour, School Spirits Small Batch Rum is described as having a clean and balanced aromatic profile with notes of vanilla, candied fruit. Compared to rums with added sweeteners, it comes across as dry and light in body. The fruity esters give notes of cherries, blackberries and some citrus fruit. The finish offers a texture of vanilla, caramel and a touch of bourbon spice.

The rum was made from a base material of dark brown sugar – a combination of refined sugar with molasses blended back in. It was fermented in a two-week process, which is slower than typical rum production, resulting in a more complete attenuation of sugar by the yeast. Using small copper pot stills, the rum was double distilled by students who focused on capturing only the best fraction of the spirit.

“One of the most important set of flavour components that are captured during rum distillation are the esters which give rum some of its distinctive aromas and flavours,” said Dickson.

The rum was aged for a full year in a 57L Bourbon cask before its recent release. Dickson noted that smaller barrels have a larger surface area proportionally, which leads to more rapid extraction and aging.

“Another interesting feature was that the cask had only been used for two years, whereas most bourbon casks have been used for at least four years,” he said. “This may have led to both the increase in colour and barrel character present in the spirit.”

School Spirits Small Batch Rum does not contain additives or added colours.

The 40 percent alcohol School Spirits Small Batch Rum is available in 375 mL bottles ($26) in limited quantities at the College’s Wine, Visitor + Education Centre, where proceeds from sales support student learning. The WVEC retail store is open at NC’s Daniel J. Patterson Campus (135 Taylor Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake) and offers curbside pickup. Call 905-641-2252 ext. 4070.

Niagara College’s Teaching Distillery is a 2,500-square-foot facility equipped with five stills, four mash tuns and 10 fermenters. Home to the College’s Artisan Distilling program, students produce a variety of distilled products including vodka, gin, brandy, rum, whisky and other spirits. It opened in September 2018, completing the trifecta of beverage fermentation sciences at NC’s learning enterprises, following the footsteps of its Teaching Winery and Teaching Brewery which were also the first of their kind in Canada.

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit niagaracollege.ca.

 

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Media inquiries, please contact:

 

Julie Greco

Communications Consultant, Niagara College

Cell: 905 328 2532

[email protected]

 

Michael Wales

Manager, Corporate Communications

Cell: 905-328-4101

[email protected]

Niagara College 2020 Canada Day hours

While there is limited activity and restricted access to campuses at this time, due to measures related to COVID-19, Niagara College is offering many services virtually, or via alternative delivery, and NC’s learning enterprises are either open or offering curbside pickup.

Below is a list of what will be open or closed for the Canada Day holiday on Wednesday, July 1.

Wine Visitor + Education Centre: Retail store and patio will be open July 1. Tasting, shopping, patio drinks and snack service is now available daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Products include NC wine, beer, cider and spirits. For curbside pickup, local delivery and shipping across Ontario, please call 905-641-2252 ext. 4070 or visit niagaracollegewine.ca.

Employment Services: (43 Church St. in St. Catharines): Closed July 1. Virtual services resume on July 2 and are available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit the CES website for more information.

Enrolment Services: Closed July 1. Students may continue to submit requests via email and student portal, that which will be reviewed in priority sequence when Enrolment Services reopens on July 2.

NC Teaching Greenhouse: Closed July 1. As of Monday, June 29 the Teaching Greenhouse will open for curbside pickup only. Visit the Teaching Greenhouse’s online store to place an order and learn more.

ncLibraries and Learning Commons: Student support, test centre, academic drop-ins and peer tutoring services will be closed on July 1. Virtual services will resume on July 2 and online resources are available 24-7 at niagaracollege.ca/library.

Student centres and NCSAC offices: Closed July 1. Virtual services resume on July 2.

For a comprehensive list of services and resources available to assist students, visit:
Virtual Campus: Remote Services, Resources for Students

Transit
Please check with individual transit providers for the most up-to-date information and schedules.

Niagara Region Transit
St. Catharines Transit Commission
Welland Transit (including Port Colborne)
Niagara Falls Transit

Important note: The student U-Pass has been suspended for the Spring and Fall term during COVID-19. All student riders will be required to pay the full fare, effective July 1. Monthly passes are available for purchase at the Welland, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls terminals.

For information, schedules and the latest updates, visit: Niagara Region Transit webpage

Visit yourncsac.ca/yourtransit for more information and Frequently Asked Questions related to student transit.

Niagara College establishes Beverage Centre of Excellence thanks to NSERC grant

Niagara College’s Research & Innovation division will be deploying more than $1 million to expand essential applied research in the growing beverage sector over the next three years, thanks to federal government funding.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Innovation Enhancement Extend program will allow R&I’s Canadian Food & Wine Institute (CFWI) Innovation Centre to enhance its state-of-the-art commercialization services to assist more beverage companies in the Niagara region, and beyond, to innovate, grow and compete in the global marketplace.

The College and Community Innovation Program (CCIP) Extend Innovation Enhancement (IE) Grant, entitled ‘Increasing Economic Prosperity through Beverage Innovation & Commercialization,’ spans three years and includes $300,000 per year, to which $150,000 per year in industry cash contributions will be added for a total of $1.35 million.

The announcement is part of NSERC’s $76-million investment for 128 new applied research projects aimed at connecting Canadian colleges with local small- and medium-sized businesses to provide innovative solutions in the development of new products and technologies.

For the CFWI Innovation Centre, this grant means expanding resources to focus on feasibility studies (pre- and post-market services and risk assessments); beverage research and product development (innovative processes and incorporation of key market trends); consumer acceptance and quality assurance; and conducting research test-runs through a small-batch, scale-up beverage processing laboratory.

This funding responds to an incredible demand by regional beverage manufacturers, and more than six years of capacity building in food and beverage research and development at the CFWI Innovation Centre’s Technology Access Centre (TAC). The NSERC-funded TAC enables SMEs to advance their products, processes and services through access to specialized technology, equipment, and expertise.

“Beverage-sector companies have identified challenges that prevent them from innovating with new products, including a lack of affordable research expertise, equipment and facilities. Through this NSERC grant, we are able to better serve the needs of Ontario’s growing food and beverage industry,” said Marc Nantel, PhD, vice-president, Research, Innovation & Strategic Initiatives.

This initiative will establish the CFWI Innovation Centre as a Beverage Centre of Excellence, strengthening Niagara College’s track record of firsts in Canada as home of the first commercial Teaching Winery, Teaching Brewery, Teaching Distillery, and Commercial Cannabis Production academic program.

“Now we’re expanding this offering for our industry/training supports with a beverage and liquids R&D pilot processing lab that bridges the gap for companies looking to get consumable test-products in the market,” said Lyndon Ashton, centre manager, CFWI Innovation Centre.

When industry partner Royal Canadian Mead needed specialized expertise to develop a line of mead products, they looked to experts at the CFWI Innovation Centre. Together with NC’s Teaching Winery and Commercial Beekeeping program, College researchers crafted new styles of session brews, two of which are now on the shelves at the LCBO.

In a more recent innovative project with DistillX Beverages Inc., CFWI Innovation Centre researchers created Canada’s first distilled non-alcoholic gin, under the band label Sobrii Ø-Gin (zero gin), with zero calories, zero sugar and, as the marketing touts: zero hangovers.

“Their expertise was instrumental in terms of me being able to sell a product that was not only superior tasting but something I can commercially scale and replicate safely,” said Bob Huitema, founder of DistillX Beverages.

Since opening, the CFWI Innovation Centre has worked with companies of all sizes, including Bacardi Canada Inc., a subsidiary of Bacardi Ltd., the largest privately held spirits companies in the world. Consumer acceptance and sensory testing for Bacardi, involving students and staff experts, has informed the launch of new alcoholic beverage products.

Beyond project funding, this IE grant will allow the CFWI Innovation Centre to provide enhanced experiential learning opportunities for students, while meeting strong local industry demand for skilled talent. The Centre works with faculty experts and students from several NC programs – including Culinary Innovation and Food Technology (Co-op), Culinary Management (Co-op), Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management, Winery and Viticulture Technician, and Wine Business Management programs – to provide a wealth of knowledge to industry partners.

“Our focus is on combining economic and workforce development aspects of our programs. This grant lets us hire students as research assistants, who work alongside highly-qualified experts and industry partners,” said Ashton. “It gives talent access to highly motivated employers in their field and acts as a proving ground for companies to tap into prospective employees by innovating.”

Kyler Schwind (left), a research assistant with Research & Innovation and a graduate (2020) of NC’s Culinary Innovation and Food Technology program, and Stephanie Skotidas (right), a research laboratory technician with the Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre, conduct beverage research at the CFWI Innovation Centre.

Quick Facts – CFWI Innovation Centre Beverage Centre of Excellence

  • The  Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre Beverage Centre of Excellence will be part of an entire research floor of the new 49,000-square-foot Marotta Family Innovation Complex (based at the Daniel J. Patterson campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake), that includes designated laboratories focused on beverage research; and equipment to facilitate beverage processing, treatment and analytical research, including cannabis research.
  • As a Beverage Centre of Excellence, the CFWI Innovation Centre will serve as a one-stop shop for beverage innovation and commercialization that will help small- and medium-sized enterprises bring their products from concept to shelf. The focus area is the liquid portfolio of food and culinary innovation, which includes beverages (non-alcoholic and alcoholic); spoonables and pourables (such as condiments, marinades and dressings); and cannabis research, including extraction, infusion and product development, mainly for beverages.
  • For industry partners, the NSERC IE Extend grant will provide project funding that will require a 1:1 match consisting of cash and in-kind services. The R&I business development team is available to hear potential project ideas and discuss ways the CFWI Innovation Centre can work to solve these challenges. Contact Elizabeth Best, business development coordinator: [email protected]
  • The CFWI Innovation Centre team offers a full suite of services to support industry innovation and commercialization of new products and processes. From new recipe development to shelf-life testing and nutritional labelling, the CFWI Innovation Centre pairs industry partners with faculty, recent graduates and students with the right expertise and equipment to meet industry needs. In all cases, the intellectual property developed during the project belongs to the industry partner.

NC’s award-winning Research & Innovation division provides real-world solutions for business, key industry sectors, and the community through applied research and knowledge transfer activities. Researchers conduct projects that provide innovative solutions, such as producing and testing prototypes, evaluating new technologies, and developing new or improved products or processes for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit niagaracollege.ca.

Top photo: Kelly Byer (left), a research laboratory technologist with the Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre, and Samantha Stinellis (right), a research assistant with Research & Innovation and a graduate (2020) of NC’s Culinary Innovation and Food Technology program, conduct beverage research at the CFWI Innovation Centre.

 

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Media inquiries, please contact:

 

Julie Greco

Communications Consultant, Niagara College

Cell: 905 328 2532

[email protected]

 

 

Virtual convocation, real success: Niagara College caps of five days of ceremonies to celebrate Class of 2020

Five thousand dreams came true at Niagara College this week in the face of unprecedented challenges – and they were celebrated like never before.

June 19 marked the final day of Spring Virtual Convocation for NC’s Class of 2020. The College celebrated more than 5,000 new graduates in five days through a series of ceremonies livestreamed from its Welland Campus and into the homes of its graduates, their families and friends, and viewers from around the world.

The interactive virtual events served to mark the important milestone for a class of graduating students like no other before they embark on the next chapter of their lives. Like students from across the province, they completed their studies remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic and have not been able to return to campus since mid-March.

The new graduates heard messages of inspiration from across the College community and beyond.

NC president Sean Kennedy and senior VP Academic and Learner Services Steve Hudson kick off the final day of Spring 2020 Virtual Convocation ceremonies.

“Pursue the opportunities that lie ahead, challenge yourself and live a life of integrity,” said College president Sean Kennedy to the Class of 2020. “Know that there are countless people who envy the blank canvass that’s staring back at you today – a canvass you will paint over time as you create your own future. Make it a masterpiece.”

Guest speaker Clara Hughes – six-time Olympian and mental health advocate – received an Honorary Diploma in Health Studies from the College and delivered a gripping convocation address to the new graduates.

“This is your special, unusual, and powerful time to be present, to be grounded, to celebrate and to connect,” she said.

Guest speaker Clara Hughes receives her Honorary Diploma in Health Studies at home in Canmore, Alberta.

Hughes shared words of wisdom, which she learned from a revered leader in the Squamish First Nation before she competed in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.

“He told me, ‘Clara, I know that you’re a competitor and I know that you’re in an individual sport and I know that this is the Olympic Games,’ but what he said was, ‘you cannot want this greatness for yourself unless you want it for every single person around you. You have to look at your competitors and want success for them and, only then, can you ask for it for you.’”

June 19 ceremonies

The final day of ceremonies celebrated 524 graduates from the School of Academic and Liberal Studies in the morning, and 298 from the School of Environment and Horticulture in the afternoon.

Lindy Brunarski

Horticultural Technician graduate Lindy Brunarski was announced as the Dean’s Award from the School of Environment and Horticulture Studies with a 97 percent GPA. As a working paramedic – and alumnae from NC’s Paramedic (2005) and Advanced Care Paramedic (2008) programs – Brunarski decided to return to the classroom to enhance her passion for gardening out of interest, rather than to pursue a new career.

The Welland resident has a 23-acre farm in Pelham with 19 flowerbeds, a forest to manage, and five acres of agricultural land she hopes to convert into a small nursery and market garden someday. She has already been applying her skills from the program to help her achieve her goals of transforming the property to create a public gathering space.

“I find that the mental reprieve that I need from my work as a paramedic is often found by being outside in nature or the garden beds,” she said. “I am now a proud ‘horticultural paramedic.’”

Faisal Alsafadi, 34, graduated from General Arts and Science during the morning ceremony with a 94 percent GPA, a Dean’s Award from the School of Academic and Liberal Studies, and his family and friends watching from Ontario and Saudi Arabia where he was born and raised.

Faisal Alsafadi

“I was looking forward to our formal graduation, as every student hopes, to share our accomplishment with family and friends,” he said. “But we are also part of a time in history that will make our virtual graduation a unique one that uses my passion in the IT field to its full advantage.”

Since immigrating to Canada in the fall of 2017, Alsafadi has been residing in St. Catharines and been as enhancing his education as well as being an active volunteer in the community. He enrolled in his current program with a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) under his belt, and previously completed two Occupation-specific Language Training courses, and the General Arts and Science Enhanced Language Training for Employment program at NC.

“The General Arts and Science program gave me the opportunity to advance my English skills and explore computer studies in the College,” he said. “Following other immigrants’ success stories of their struggles and eventual achievements since landing in Canada, inspires and motivates me to work hard to accomplish my dreams.”

Virtual Convocation 2020

Niagara College’s first-ever Virtual Convocation ceremonies, held from June 15 to June 19, have been drawing thousands of viewers from around the world – with 17,515 viewers from 63 countries on July 15, 11,732 viewers from 44 countries on July 16,  9,589 views from 42 countries on July 17, and 11,135 views from 78 countries on July 18.

The interactive live ceremonies offered graduates the chance to hear their names called out and see them appear on screen. They had an opportunity to connect with their classmates via Zoom parties held alongside the formal ceremonies, and could be seen smiling, waving and cheering intermittently during the livestream – many of them with their families and pets, as they participated from their homes. Social media posts using the #NCGrad2020 hashtag were also incorporated into the ceremony.

College president Sean Kennedy and senior vice president, Academic and Learner Services, Steve Hudson hosted all 10 ceremonies for the week on campus. The events also acknowledged Hudson’s final NC convocation prior to his retirement, after 20 years as a senior leader at the College.

Virtual Convocation featured numerous video well-wishes from across the College community – including members of faculty, staff and administrators; the College’s Board of Governors chair John Scott; and College Student Administrative Council president Tom Price.

Several members of the alumni community welcomed the new graduates in a video message – including president of RW&Co. Lora Tisi (1979), and Tim Hansing, CEO and co-founder of Red Planet Hotels (1987), Niagara EMS chief Kevin Smith (1992), TV host and reporter Amy Audibert (2012) who also voiced the opening video for the ceremony.

In addition, video greetings were played from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano, and Niagara regional chair Jim Bradley.

Each ceremony also included an Indigenous welcome from traditional knowledge keeper Karl Dockstader; music from piper Kelley Buckley; and a special video of the national anthem sung by College faculty Barbara Mantini, Giacomo Folinazzo and Paul Wintemute. Names were read by faculty members Franco Bieri and Carolyn Ambrose-Miller.

Two ceremonies took place each day, livestreamed from the College’s Welland Campus, thanks to faculty from the Broadcasting – Radio, Television and Film program, and College staff. The production was an applied learning experience for a group of 10 students from the program who assisted.

All Spring 2020 Virtual Convocation ceremonies may be viewed on the Virtual Convocation website at niagaracollege.ca/virtualconvocation/

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit niagaracollege.ca.

Top photo: A group of new graduates from the Commercial Cannabis Production program cheer as after their names are called out during the livestream ceremony on the afternoon of June 19.

 

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Convocation 2020 media releases:

June 18: Critical skills for critical times: Niagara College celebrates 2020 Community and Health grads

June 17: Media, Trades and Technology graduates steal the spotlight on third day of Virtual Convocation

June 16: NC hosts second day of virtual convocation: Celebrating ‘lessons learned along the way’

June 15: Niagara College community unites to celebrate Class of 2020

June 12: Niagara College’s top graduate reaches for higher calling

June 10: Six-time Olympic medalist Clara Hughes to address Niagara College Class of 2020

 

Media inquiries, please contact:

 

Julie Greco

Communications Consultant, Niagara College

Cell: 905 328 2532

[email protected]

 

Michael Wales

Manager, Corporate Communications

Cell: 905-328-4101

[email protected]

Virtual convocation, real success: Niagara College caps of five days of ceremonies to celebrate Class of 2020

Five thousand dreams came true at Niagara College this week in the face of unprecedented challenges – and they were celebrated like never before.

June 19 marked the final day of Spring Virtual Convocation for NC’s Class of 2020. The College celebrated more than 5,000 new graduates in five days through a series of ceremonies livestreamed from its Welland Campus and into the homes of its graduates, their families and friends, and viewers from around the world.

The interactive virtual events served to mark the important milestone for a class of graduating students like no other before they embark on the next chapter of their lives. Like students from across the province, they completed their studies remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic and have not been able to return to campus since mid-March.

The new graduates heard messages of inspiration from across the College community and beyond.

NC president Sean Kennedy and senior VP Academic and Learner Services Steve Hudson kick off the final day of Spring 2020 Virtual Convocation ceremonies.

“Pursue the opportunities that lie ahead, challenge yourself and live a life of integrity,” said College president Sean Kennedy to the Class of 2020. “Know that there are countless people who envy the blank canvass that’s staring back at you today – a canvass you will paint over time as you create your own future. Make it a masterpiece.”

Guest speaker Clara Hughes – six-time Olympian and mental health advocate – received an Honorary Diploma in Health Studies from the College and delivered a gripping convocation address to the new graduates.

“This is your special, unusual, and powerful time to be present, to be grounded, to celebrate and to connect,” she said.

Guest speaker Clara Hughes receives her Honorary Diploma in Health Studies at home in Canmore, Alberta.

Hughes shared words of wisdom, which she learned from a revered leader in the Squamish First Nation before she competed in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games.

“He told me, ‘Clara, I know that you’re a competitor and I know that you’re in an individual sport and I know that this is the Olympic Games,’ but what he said was, ‘you cannot want this greatness for yourself unless you want it for every single person around you. You have to look at your competitors and want success for them and, only then, can you ask for it for you.’”

June 19 ceremonies

The final day of ceremonies celebrated 524 graduates from the School of Academic and Liberal Studies in the morning, and 298 from the School of Environment and Horticulture in the afternoon.

Lindy Brunarski

Horticultural Technician graduate Lindy Brunarski was announced as the Dean’s Award from the School of Environment and Horticulture Studies with a 97 percent GPA. As a working paramedic – and alumnae from NC’s Paramedic (2005) and Advanced Care Paramedic (2008) programs – Brunarski decided to return to the classroom to enhance her passion for gardening out of interest, rather than to pursue a new career.

The Welland resident has a 23-acre farm in Pelham with 19 flowerbeds, a forest to manage, and five acres of agricultural land she hopes to convert into a small nursery and market garden someday. She has already been applying her skills from the program to help her achieve her goals of transforming the property to create a public gathering space.

“I find that the mental reprieve that I need from my work as a paramedic is often found by being outside in nature or the garden beds,” she said. “I am now a proud ‘horticultural paramedic.’”

Faisal Alsafadi, 34, graduated from General Arts and Science during the morning ceremony with a 94 percent GPA, a Dean’s Award from the School of Academic and Liberal Studies, and his family and friends watching from Ontario and Saudi Arabia where he was born and raised.

Faisal Alsafadi

“I was looking forward to our formal graduation, as every student hopes, to share our accomplishment with family and friends,” he said. “But we are also part of a time in history that will make our virtual graduation a unique one that uses my passion in the IT field to its full advantage.”

Since immigrating to Canada in the fall of 2017, Alsafadi has been residing in St. Catharines and been as enhancing his education as well as being an active volunteer in the community. He enrolled in his current program with a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) under his belt, and previously completed two Occupation-specific Language Training courses, and the General Arts and Science Enhanced Language Training for Employment program at NC.

“The General Arts and Science program gave me the opportunity to advance my English skills and explore computer studies in the College,” he said. “Following other immigrants’ success stories of their struggles and eventual achievements since landing in Canada, inspires and motivates me to work hard to accomplish my dreams.”

Virtual Convocation 2020

Niagara College’s first-ever Virtual Convocation ceremonies, held from June 15 to June 19, have been drawing thousands of viewers from around the world – with 17,515 viewers from 63 countries on July 15, 11,732 viewers from 44 countries on July 16,  9,589 views from 42 countries on July 17, and 11,135 views from 78 countries on July 18.

The interactive live ceremonies offered graduates the chance to hear their names called out and see them appear on screen. They had an opportunity to connect with their classmates via Zoom parties held alongside the formal ceremonies, and could be seen smiling, waving and cheering intermittently during the livestream – many of them with their families and pets, as they participated from their homes. Social media posts using the #NCGrad2020 hashtag were also incorporated into the ceremony.

College president Sean Kennedy and senior vice president, Academic and Learner Services, Steve Hudson hosted all 10 ceremonies for the week on campus. The events also acknowledged Hudson’s final NC convocation prior to his retirement, after 20 years as a senior leader at the College.

Virtual Convocation featured numerous video well-wishes from across the College community – including members of faculty, staff and administrators; the College’s Board of Governors chair John Scott; and College Student Administrative Council president Tom Price.

Several members of the alumni community welcomed the new graduates in a video message – including president of RW&Co. Lora Tisi (1979), and Tim Hansing, CEO and co-founder of Red Planet Hotels (1987), Niagara EMS chief Kevin Smith (1992), TV host and reporter Amy Audibert (2012) who also voiced the opening video for the ceremony.

In addition, video greetings were played from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano, and Niagara regional chair Jim Bradley.

Each ceremony also included an Indigenous welcome from traditional knowledge keeper Karl Dockstader; music from piper Kelley Buckley; and a special video of the national anthem sung by College faculty Barbara Mantini, Giacomo Folinazzo and Paul Wintemute. Names were read by faculty members Franco Bieri and Carolyn Ambrose-Miller.

Two ceremonies took place each day, livestreamed from the College’s Welland Campus, thanks to faculty from the Broadcasting – Radio, Television and Film program, and College staff. The production was an applied learning experience for a group of 10 students from the program who assisted.

All Spring 2020 Virtual Convocation ceremonies may be viewed on the Virtual Convocation website at niagaracollege.ca/virtualconvocation/

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit niagaracollege.ca.

Top photo: A group of new graduates from the Commercial Cannabis Production program cheer as after their names are called out during the livestream ceremony on the afternoon of June 19.

 

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Convocation 2020 media releases:

June 18: Critical skills for critical times: Niagara College celebrates 2020 Community and Health grads

June 17: Media, Trades and Technology graduates steal the spotlight on third day of Virtual Convocation

June 16: NC hosts second day of virtual convocation: Celebrating ‘lessons learned along the way’

June 15: Niagara College community unites to celebrate Class of 2020

June 12: Niagara College’s top graduate reaches for higher calling

June 10: Six-time Olympic medalist Clara Hughes to address Niagara College Class of 2020

 

Media inquiries, please contact:

 

Julie Greco

Communications Consultant, Niagara College

Cell: 905 328 2532

[email protected]

 

Michael Wales

Manager, Corporate Communications

Cell: 905-328-4101

[email protected]

Critical skills for critical times: Niagara College celebrates 2020 Community and Health grads

“The opportunity to be the helper, and to be the helped, lies in each and every one of us.”

These inspiring words to Niagara College’s Class of 2020 came from six-time Olympic medalist and mental health advocate Clara Hughes, guest speaker for NC’s week of Virtual Convocation ceremonies and the recipient of an Honorary Diploma in Health Studies.

On June 17, her message resonated deeply as the College celebrated 1,185 new graduates – most from Community and Health Studies, who plan to dedicate their careers to helping others.

A screenshot of Clara Hughes addressing Niagara College’s Class of 2020 during a Virtual Convocation ceremony.

“Remember, it’s not about what you gain, what you earn, what you have, what title you have, what status you get to. It is about how you connect with others, how you give back, how you lift up,” said Hughes. “It’s about realizing that, although we may seem different, we are all the same.”

NC president Sean Kennedy spoke of the important role that many of the day’s graduates will have in their fields and communities. The College celebrated 610 new graduates from the School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker Studies during the morning ceremony; and 585 from the schools of Allied Health, Community Services; Nursing and Personal Support Worker Studies; and Academic, Liberal and Access Studies during the afternoon.

“In the face of Covid-19, the critical skills of many of our graduands, who are dedicating their careers to providing care for others, are as vital as ever,” he said. “Many are already working to make a difference in fields, such as practical nursing, personal support worker, social service worker, and more.”

Two new graduates, who were announced as recipients of special awards during the afternoon ceremony, are already living their dreams of helping those around them.

Kariann Gracey

Kariann Gracey, who graduated from the Social Service Worker program with a 97.67 percent GPA – the highest among all graduating students at the College – was awarded the prestigious Governor General’s Academic Medal as well as Dean’s Award from the School of Community Services. The lifelong St. Catharines resident’s outstanding academic achievement is driven by her passion for social work and her mission to advocate for society’s most vulnerable.

“I have been a helper since I was a child and I know that the disadvantaged should have more people fighting for them, supporting them,” said Gracey. “So, naturally, I went into social work.”

Since completing her studies, Gracey has been training in a job to support the safety and wellbeing of Niagara families and children. [View June 12 news release here.]

Dean’s Award winner from NC’s School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker Antonia Johnston graduated from Practical Nursing – Alternative Delivery with a 92.35 percent GPA. The 40-year-old Hamilton resident enrolled at NC as a second career student, hoping to pursue her goal of becoming a nurse, with an interest in mental health and cosmetic nursing – and she achieved both. Johnston has been working at St. Catharines General hospital on an acute mental health floor, as well as full-time as a cosmetic nurse at a clinic.

Antonia Johnston

“I am truly living my dream,” she said.

During her time at NC, Johnston worked as a personal support worker doing home care and as a peer tutor for several semesters. A highlight of her NC experience was travelling on a nursing mission trip to Ecuador through NC’s Be World Ready program.

“I feel so blessed to have been able to do that and plan to do it again,” she said.

Welcoming grads to alumni community

The new graduates were welcomed into a network of more than 95,000 NC alumni from around the world. Several alumni who have been working in the health fields were featured in a video played during the ceremonies.

“Being on the front lines, you’re with people at their most vulnerable. It commands your compassion, strength and perseverance,” said Kevin Smith, chief of Niagara Emergency Medical Services who graduated from Ambulance and Emergency Care in 1992.

“Every day I wake up, I’m reminded of just how important nursing is. I wake up and know that I’m making a difference,” said Agatha Peach, who graduated from Practical Nursing in 2019 and works as a practical nurse at Greater Niagara General Hospital.

“Caring for people when they need it most is a privilege. Especially when they can’t see their families right now. We become their family,” said Carlie Everitt, who graduated from the Personal Support Worker program in 2014 and now works for the March of Dimes.

“Dental health is important but equally as important is giving back and volunteering in my community. That’s the real important work we do,” said Susanne Hutchings, founder/owner of Dental Hygiene Team who graduated from NC’s Dental Hygiene program in 1984.

2020 Virtual Convocation ceremonies

Virtual Ceremonies are broadcast live from the Welland Campus.

More than 5,000 students will graduate from Niagara College during its Virtual Spring Convocation Ceremonies, which began on June 15 and will continue twice a day – at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. – up to and including June 19.

The 10 live, interactive ceremonies offer graduates a chance to connect with their classmates via Zoom parties held alongside the formal ceremonies, as well as an opportunity to smile and cheer on-screen during the live broadcast after graduate names are called out from their program areas.

Numerous video well wishes from faculty, staff, administrators and alumni are played during the ceremonies, as well as greetings from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano, and Niagara regional chair Jim Bradley.

The virtual ceremonies have been drawing thousands of viewers from around the world – with 17,515 viewers from 63 countries on July 15, 11,732 viewers from 44 countries on July 16, and 9,589 views from 42 countries on July 17.

Visit the College’s Virtual Convocation site to view the schedule or to access the livestream ceremonies at niagaracollege.ca/virtualconvocation/.

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit niagaracollege.ca.

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Convocation 2020 media releases:

June 17: Media, Trades and Technology graduates steal the spotlight on third day of Virtual Convocation

June 16: NC hosts second day of virtual convocation: Celebrating ‘lessons learned along the way’

June 15: Niagara College community unites to celebrate Class of 2020

June 12: Niagara College’s top graduate reaches for higher calling

June 10: Six-time Olympic medalist Clara Hughes to address Niagara College Class of 2020

 

Media inquiries, please contact:

 

Julie Greco

Communications Consultant, Niagara College

Cell: 905 328 2532

[email protected]

 

Michael Wales

Manager, Corporate Communications

Cell: 905-328-4101

[email protected]

Media, Trades and Technology graduates steal the spotlight on third day of Virtual Convocation

“Find your passion follow it.”

As Niagara College celebrated its Day Three of its Virtual Convocation ceremonies on June 17, president Sean Kennedy encouraged the Class of 2020 to find something they love to do, and strive to do it better each day.

College president Sean Kennedy addresses the Class of 2020 on the morning of June 17 from the Welland Campus via livestream.

“Your life will be fuller, richer and more meaningful if you immerse yourself in activities that spark your creativity, give you energy, keep you active, and bring you joy,” he said.

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Some of the graduating students were already well on their way to heeding that advice.

Three new Dean’s Award winners were announced as the College celebrated 540 new graduates from the schools of Technology, Trades, and Academic and Liberal Studies in the morning ceremony; and 322 from its schools of Media, Academic and Liberal Studies, and English Language Studies in the afternoon.

Building a future

Olivia VanDenBelt

A passion for the trades drew Olivia VanDenBelt, who lives in the Delaware area near London, Ont., to the Carpentry & Renovation Technician program straight after high school, where she first began to explore her interest in a Grade 10 class. At the afternoon ceremony, she capped off her two years of study at NC as the Dean’s Award winner for the School of Trades, with a 95 percent grade-point average.

“I’ve always loved building things and working with my hands. It’s amazing to see your capabilities and what you’re able to build,” she said. “I enjoy starting with simple materials and creating something beautiful. I also like solving the design challenges that come up along the way.”

VanDenBelt valued learning the tricks of the trade firsthand from the expertise of program faculty. She also had an opportunity to work as a student technician in the on-campus construction shop, where she prepared materials and supplies for labs, kept the shop and tools clean, and built items to be used by other programs.

“I was fortunate that my job and studies were so complementary to each other. Working in the shop had very flexible hours, so I was always able to balance my school work and job,” she said. “I learned a lot of things while working in the shop that helped with my school work.”

During her time at NC, VanDenBelt also enjoyed participating in events such as open houses to promote women in trades.

“I was able to share my experiences being a female in my program and working in the trades, as well as suggestions regarding how to support and promote women in the School of Trades at Niagara College,” she said.

VanDenBelt further enhanced her toolkit of skills through a summer co-op position with a renovations company, which builds custom cabinetry, in London. She hammered away at learning to build nearly every part of the cabinets – from drawer boxes, and basis to doors, shelves, kicks and end gables. Since completing the program, she also nailed down a job opportunity at the company as an on-site carpenter apprentice.

“For me, graduating means starting a new chapter in my life,” she said, noting that she aims to register as a general carpenter apprentice and gain her Red Seal. “I’m looking forward to building my career and seeing where it takes me.”

Powered up for success

Nico San Pedro

The afternoon ceremony also announced Renewable Energies Technician graduate Nico San Pedro as the Dean’s Award recipient from the School of Technology. The 25-year-old from the Philippines, who currently lives in Welland, enrolled at NC with a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology and as a former draftsman in his home country.

“I wanted to get involved with the people who provide the world economy various sustainable energy options and ways to utilize energy in a more efficient manner,” said San Pedro, who graduated with a GPA of 95 percent at the afternoon ceremony. “I gained an in-depth knowledge on energy transformation, conservation and generation. I’ve also learned various skills in researching, report writing and project management, which are essential in my chosen career field.”

During his time at NC, San Pedro was active in various co-curricular programs as a peer mentor, peer tutor and a volunteer at several college events – all while juggling a part-time job during his two-year college journey.

“I felt a sense of fulfilment that is beyond my expectations. All I did is to stay on track with my goal, which is to learn things in the renewable energies field,” he said. “What inspires me to study well is the continuous support of my dear family, friends and peers who believed and trusted in my capabilities.”

While he noted that it is unfortunate to graduate without being able to thank and say goodbye to his classmates and professors, he valued the experience of virtual convocation, which he planned to watch with his friends and family.

“Graduation is graduation. It is a hard-earned privilege to celebrate the countless efforts, challenging struggles, established friendships along the way in pursuing one’s lifelong dream,” he said. “Besides, the College’s sincere and well-thought alternatives have made the graduation of batch 2020 more meaningful and an unforgettable experience through virtual convocation ceremony.”

Making headlines

Lindsay Smith

The afternoon ceremony announced Journalism graduate Lindsay Smith as the School of Media’s Dean’s Award winner. The St. Catharines resident achieved 97.65% in the program.

“When I decided to study Journalism at Niagara College, I was hoping to receive a practical education that would give me options for future career paths, and that’s exactly what happened,” said Smith. “I had the chance to learn from supportive, experienced professors who truly wanted their students to succeed, and they inspired and motivated me to my best work.”

For Smith, it was a full and busy two years while she balanced classes and schoolwork with parenting.

“But it was absolutely worth it. Receiving the Dean’s Award feels like a recognition of the time and effort I invested,” she said. “I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I know this program has prepared me for lots of possibilities, and I’m excited to take these skills into my next chapter.”

First class honours

Broadcasting students behind the scenes at Virtual Convocation.

The afternoon ceremony on June 17 also marked the first graduating cohorts from Bachelor of Arts Honours – Game Design and Bachelor of Science Honours – Game Programming. The dual credential programs enable students to complete a four-year degree from Brock University as well a three-year advanced diploma in Game Development from NC in a total of four years.

Virtual Convocation at NC

More than 5,000 students will graduate from Niagara College during its Virtual Spring Convocation Ceremonies, which began on June 15 and will continue twice a day – at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. – up to and including June 19.

The ceremonies feature guest speaker Clara Hughes, six-time Olympic medalist and mental health advocate, who addresses the Class of 2020 via video message. Hughes has also been awarded an Honorary Diploma in Health Studies.

Numerous video well wishes from faculty, staff, administrators and alumni are played during the ceremonies, as well as greetings from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano, and Niagara regional chair Jim Bradley.

The 10 interactive live ceremonies offer graduates a chance to connect with their classmates via Zoom parties held alongside the formal ceremonies, as well as an opportunity to smile and cheer on-screen during the live broadcast after graduate names are called out from their program areas.

The virtual ceremonies have been drawing thousands of viewers from around the world – with 17,515 viewers from 63 countries on July 15, and 11,732 viewers from 44 countries on July 16.

The ceremonies are proving to be applied learning in action for current students from the School of Media’s Broadcasting – Radio, Television and Film program. A group of 10 students have been working on the live broadcasts on-site at the Welland Campus, with program faculty and College staff.

Visit the College’s Virtual Convocation site to view the schedule or to access the livestream ceremonies at niagaracollege.ca/virtualconvocation/.

Graduates from the School of Technology participate in a Zoom party for their program area on the morning of June 17.

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit niagaracollege.ca.

 

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Convocation 2020 media releases:

 

June 16: NC hosts second day of virtual convocation: Celebrating ‘lessons learned along the way’

June 15: Niagara College community unites to celebrate Class of 2020

June 12: Niagara College’s top graduate reaches for higher calling

June 10: Six-time Olympic medalist Clara Hughes to address Niagara College Class of 2020

 

Media inquiries, please contact:

 

Julie Greco

Communications Consultant, Niagara College

Cell: 905 328 2532

[email protected]

 

Michael Wales

Manager, Corporate Communications

Cell: 905-328-4101

[email protected]

NC hosts second day of virtual convocation: Celebrating ‘lessons learned along the way’

The celebration of achievement and lessons learned shared centre stage as Niagara College hosted its second day of Virtual Spring Convocation on June 16.

Guest speaker Clara Hughes, six-time Olympic medalist and mental health advocate, encouraged the Class of 2020 to take time and reflect on both as they celebrate their special milestone.

“Though we’re all spread around Canada and around the world right now in the global health pandemic, I hope that one thing doesn’t change for you, and that one thing is celebration. I hope you take time to be present in this beautiful moment you’ve worked so hard for and truly celebrate with your friends, your family, and with yourself,” said Hughes, who received an Honorary Diploma in Health Studies.

“When I look back at all of the decades in sport, all of the races I competed in, I don’t so much look at the successes … the things that stand out are the lessons learned along the way. And those lessons, sometimes they came from the most unexpected teachers.”

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College president Sean Kennedy shared several lessons he has learned with the graduating students. He spoke about the importance of being your own person, embracing lifelong learning, building relationships and embracing challenge.

College president Sean Kennedy addresses the Class of 2020 from the Welland Campus during the livestream broadcast on June 16.

“Always remember that the bigger the challenge, the more your skills, creativity and determination will be tested,” he said. “These challenges may leave you exhausted and uncertain. All of them will be opportunities for growth, and the seeds of good memories and stories down the road.”

Almost 500 new graduates were celebrated from the School of Justice and Fitness Studies, and School of Allied Health during the afternoon ceremony, where two students were honoured with Dean’s Awards.

Paramedic grad and Dean's Award recipient Philip Borowski is currently working in Niagara and Toronto.

Philip Borowski, the Dean’s Award recipient from the School of Allied Health, has been working as a paramedic for Niagara Emergency Medical Services and Toronto Paramedic Services, since completing his studies. The Toronto resident views his decision to become a paramedic after retiring from his soccer career as one of the most rewarding decisions he has ever made. Prior to entering the Paramedic program, he completed the College’s Pre-Health Sciences one-year certificate program in 2018.

“Being in the Paramedic program at NC has been an absolutely fantastic time for me. I have an amazing group of friends that were all hired with me at Niagara EMS, and have been a constant source of inspiration and motivation,” said Borowski. “I am forever grateful for the guidance I’ve received from my professors, and glad to have been taught by each and every one of them.”

Police Foundations graduate and Dean's Award winner Emmanuel Scott dreams of becoming a police constable.

Police Foundations student Emmanuel Scott, who received the Dean’s Award from the School of Justice and Fitness Studies, views graduation as one step closer to pursuing his dream of becoming a police constable.

“I’ve always known that I needed to be in a profession where I can help people,” said Scott, 37. “From opening doors at the store to stopping collisions at the roadside, I’m always doing what I can to provide assistance.”

Scott enrolled in the program after years of working in numerous retail and sales positions. While his move to Niagara meant being temporarily apart from his wife who was operating a business in Northern Ontario, it was an emotional decision they considered necessary for the betterment of their futures.

“We had nightly FaceTime calls over dinner and often prepared the same meals,” said Scott, who currently lives in Niagara-on-the-Lake and has been working extra shifts as a security guard since COVID-19 hit. “I suppose you could say it even prepared us for the current pandemic.”

During the morning ceremony, the College celebrated 380 new graduates from its Canadian Food and Wine Institute who have learned in unique learning environments including Canada’s commercial Teaching Winery, Teaching Brewery and Teaching Distillery – all located at its Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Winery and Viticulture Technician grad Sydney Neumann received the Dean's Award on the morning of June 16.

The College’s reputation in the winemaking industry is what drew graduating student and Dean’s Award winner Sydney Neumann of Thornbury, Ont., to the Winery and Viticulture Technician program. Neumann, 23, noted that the best part of the program was her direct involvement in the on-site vineyard, winery and labs – as well as her off-site co-op experience at Stratus Vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

“I think this is a learning opportunity that can be hard to find but is essential to the enhancement of student learning,” she said. “The teaching staff at NC are infectiously passionate for both wine and the passing down of knowledge. They helped inspire that same passion within myself and are dedicated to the pursuits of their students.”

More than 5,000 students will graduate from Niagara College during its Virtual Spring Convocation week, which began on June 15 and will continue twice a day – at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. – up to and including June 19. The interactive live ceremonies offer graduates a chance to connect with their classmates via Zoom parties held alongside the ceremonies, as well as an opportunity to smile and cheer on-screen during the live broadcast after graduate names are called out from their program areas.

Numerous video well wishes from faculty, staff, administrators and alumni are played during the ceremonies, as well as greetings from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano, and Niagara regional chair Jim Bradley.

The first day of the virtual ceremonies drew more than 17,500 livestream views from 63 countries around the world.

Visit the College’s Virtual Convocation site to view the schedule or to access the livestream ceremonies sat niagaracollege.ca/virtualconvocation/.

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit niagaracollege.ca.

Top photo: College president Sean Kennedy and senior VP Steve Hudson join a Zoom party during the livestream ceremony for Culinary Management (Co-op) students on the morning of June 16.

Convocation 2020 media releases:

June 15: Niagara College community unites to celebrate Class of 2020

June 12: Niagara College’s top graduate reaches for higher calling

June 10: Six-time Olympic medalist Clara Hughes to address Niagara College Class of 2020

 

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Media inquiries, please contact:

 

Julie Greco

Communications Consultant, Niagara College

Cell: 905 328 2532

[email protected]

 

Michael Wales

Manager, Corporate Communications

Cell: 905-328-4101

[email protected]

Niagara College community unites to celebrate Class of 2020

June 15 was a day of many firsts at Niagara College – the first day of its first-ever Virtual Convocation ceremonies, to celebrate its first class of graduates who completed their studies remotely at a time in history like no other. But for 1,270 students who marked the special milestone from their homes, it was the first day of the rest of their lives.

While they may not have been able to gather in person, the Niagara College community joined together online and in droves, from Niagara and around the world, to celebrate its graduating class of 2020. The College kicked off Day One of Virtual Convocation with more than 10,000 viewers from more than 25 countries around the world, who watched the livestream from the College website and via social media – for the morning ceremony alone.

The morning ceremony honoured 696 new graduates from the School of Business and Management, while the afternoon ceremony celebrated 574 graduates from the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Sport, and School of Business and Management.

The ceremonies acknowledged that the new graduates not only faced the challenge of completing their studies remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic but are embarking on the next chapter of their lives in a changed world.

College president Sean Kennedy called convocation a “snapshot in time.” He encouraged the new graduates to embrace lifelong learning and understand that experience can be the best teacher.

“Don’t be afraid to confront yourself and your beliefs, and be willing to change. The Black Lives Matter movement asks exactly this of each of us, to pause and examine ourselves and our social systems, to stand in solidarity against racism and injustice, and to be spurred to action to make real change,” said Kennedy. “We must grow and push society forward; that is the essence of lifelong learning – both individually and collectively.”

Kennedy also encouraged the Class of 2020 to embrace as opportunities for growth.

“There is one thing we’ve all learned over the past few months: it’s the importance of being nimble, flexible and resilient. Know that you will encounter many challenges over the course of your life,” he said. “Unexpected hurdles will appear – some big, some small – and it will be up to you to adapt and to succeed in the face of adversity. Stay positive and remember to keep a sense of humour.”

GClara Hughes receives her Honorary Diploma.

Six-time Olympian and mental health advocate Clara Hughes, the special guest speaker for NC’s Spring Convocation Ceremonies, addressed graduates by video from Canmore, Alberta. Hughes noted that while she went to the University of Calgary for 10 years, her time was spent training to earn Olympic hardware, rather than an academic credential.

“To say that I’m humbled to receive this honorary diploma in Health Studies from Niagara College is an understatement and I thank you,” she said.

As part of the formal program live-streamed from the Welland Campus, the ceremonies featured name call-outs for each individual graduate. It also incorporated numerous well-wishes from across the College community – from NC faculty, staff and administrators; the College’s Board of Governors chair John Scott; College Student Administrative Council president Tom Price; and several members of its alumni community.

Business Sales and Marketing students greet viewers from their Zoom party during the live morning ceremony.

Video messages also addressed graduates from well beyond the College – including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano, and Niagara regional chair Jim Bradley.

Social media provided an interactive and immersive experience like never before. The College hosted Zoom parties for separate program areas simultaneously during the ceremonies to connect the new graduates with their classmates and faculty.

Graduates also appeared onscreen as the broadcast intermittently featured live captures from the Zoom parties – waving and cheering, holding up signs, or together with their families as they marked their special milestone from their homes.

Known as the highlight of the academic year, convocation celebrated student achievement. The School of Business Management honoured Business- Accounting graduate Guiseppina Marino with a Dean’s Award. The 38-year-old enrolled at NC to pursue her dreams of becoming an accountant after 15 years of experience in the catering industry in Italy.

Marino noted that she was grateful for being able to complete her studies remotely during COVID-19 and for the opportunity to attend virtual convocation.

“I feel excited … my family has the opportunity to watch it from the safety of their home in Italy,” said Marino, who currently lives in St. Catharines. “I feel really grateful and lucky for how it went, and satisfied about graduating at this unprecedented time in history. College and students have demonstrated that wanting is power, and that with everyone’s effort, nothing is impossible!”

Sport Management graduate Wesley Abraham – who was named the Dean’s Award from the School of Hospitality and Tourism at the afternoon ceremony – noted that his pursuit of a career in sport business is now put on hold due to COVID-19. However, he valued the hands-on experience he gained at the College – including an internship working with the Welland Jackfish baseball organization for the 2019 season.

“I do feel that my time and diploma from Niagara College has given me a stable foundation with which to pursue my ultimate goal,” said Abraham, who is originally from Mississauga and currently resides in St. Catharines.

Day One of NC’s Spring Convocation Ceremonies also marked the first graduating cohort of the College’s Honours Bachelor of Business Administration – Human Resources program.

More than 5,000 students will graduate from Niagara College during its Virtual Spring Convocation Ceremonies, which will continue twice a day – at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. – up to and including June 19.

Visit the College’s Virtual Convocation site to view the schedule or to access the livestream ceremonies niagaracollege.ca/virtualconvocation/.

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit niagaracollege.ca.

 

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Convocation 2020 media releases:

June 12: Niagara College’s top graduate reaches for higher calling

June 10: Six-time Olympic medalist Clara Hughes to address Niagara College Class of 2020

 

Media inquiries, please contact:

Julie Greco

Communications Consultant, Niagara College

Cell: 905 328 2532

[email protected]

 

Michael Wales

Manager, Corporate Communications

Cell: 905-328-4101

[email protected]