Niagara College Public Relations grad wins top national industry award

For the third time since 2020, a Niagara College Public Relations Graduate Certificate student was recognized by the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) national office for excellence in the field.

On June 11, Naomi Fox of St. Catharines received the CPRS Notified Student Award of Excellence from the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) at the National Conference in Mont Tremblant, Quebec.

“It feels surreal to be receiving this award,” said Fox, who accepted the award virtually. “I’m very proud to be the third winner the College has had since 2020… It’s amazing to have my hard work validated, and it feels like this is a catapult for my career.”

According to CPRS, the Notified Student Award of Excellence is awarded to the student who shows a clear understanding and application of the principles of PR theory, demonstrates professionalism leadership in scholastic activities and is committed to pursuing a career in PR. The student must also demonstrate an ability to contribute to the status and acceptance of the profession.

“On behalf of all of us at Niagara College, we’re thrilled to learn of Naomi’s achievement,” said Charles Kopun, Associate Dean of the School of Media. “It must be incredibly gratifying for her to receive national recognition, underscoring her unwavering commitment to the field of Public Relations.”

“This also marks the third time since 2020 that a Niagara College PR student has achieved such a prestigious honour, a testament to the exceptional talent of our students and the dedication of our faculty to student success,” said Kopun.

CPRS National President Clair Ryan said Fox has set “an admirable example” for aspiring PR professionals in Canada.
“Naomi’s recognition as this year’s winner of the CPRS-Notified Student Award highlights her dedication to the public relations field,” Ryan said. “Her academic excellence, mentorship to her peers, as well as her active engagement with CPRS Hamilton, reflect her passion for the PR profession.”

Fox joins NC PR alum Nicolas Mertens and Brenna McCutheon who were awarded the CPRS Notified Student Award of Excellence in 2021 and 2023, respectively.

“It’s a pleasure to recognize Naomi’s achievements with the CPRS Notified Student Award of Excellence,” said Lisa Davis, Vice-President, Marketing at Notified. “Her passion for public relations, commitment to mentorship, and demonstrated academic excellence are evident and admirable, and we’re proud to celebrate her as a next-generation storyteller.”

It was a big week for Fox, who graduated from NC’s graduate certificate program at Spring Convocation on June 12.

Fox also holds a Bachelor of Arts from Western University in Media, Information and Technoculture.

“I came to the PR program because I felt like I had lots of theoretical knowledge but lacked the practical knowledge needed to start my career,” said Fox. “I’m a big wine lover and got to collaborate with the NC Teaching Winery in planning a successful (and delicious) Wine Maker’s Dinner. I also got to meet inspiring industry professionals on a weekly basis which has been invaluable in growing my network.”

Fox also interned at Creative Guild in Hamilton with NC alum Mertens, Senior Social Media Strategist, and Creative Director Jeff Blay (Journalism 2011; Public Relations 2015).

“Nicolas Mertens has been an immense inspiration to me as a student and budding professional, and receiving the same award,” said Fox.

“In my internship, I got to collaborate with the amazing team and worked on brands like Arby’s Canada, Turtle Jacks Muskoka grill, and WOW 1 Day Painting. I wrote copy, shot and edited content for social media, wrote and pitched a press release, and landed coverage for the agency.”

Fox is currently interning with Toronto-based PR agency Kaiser & Partners. A testament to the many NC PR grads making their mark on the industry, Fox met fellow NC alum Ray McIlroy (Public Relations, 2008), Senior Vice-President of Kaiser & Partners through mock interviews as part of her NC program.

“I hope to continue working in the agency world, and my long-term goal is to work as a digital marketing consultant!”

In addition to guidance received through the CPRS Hamilton mentorship program, Fox credits her success to PR Program Coordinator Emily McInerney who nominated her for the award.

“Emily McInenery’s dedication to the program and her students has been critical to the success of my peers and myself. I now feel fully equipped and confident in starting my career as a PR practitioner.”

Niagara College has a full-time enrolment of more than 11,000 students from over 95 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is ranked Canada’s No.1 research college. Learn more at niagaracollege.ca.

Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer supports post-secondary learner mobility at Niagara College

Niagara College is one of 35 post-secondary institutions in Ontario receiving funding from the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) to support learner mobility projects. Funding will support the College’s My Path of Worthwhile Educational Re-Engagement (MPOWER) program that aids Indigenous students transitioning to post-secondary education.

Dr. Adrienne Galway, Executive Director of ONCAT was joined by Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities, and Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan, President and CEO of Humber College, to announce 39 new projects focused on supporting post-secondary learner mobility.

Over the next year, ONCAT is distributing over $2.8 million to various colleges, universities, and Indigenous Institutes in Ontario to support learner mobility projects. These projects aim to empower learners by recognizing previous education and professional experiences and facilitating smoother transitions between programs and institutions.

Seventy-five thousand dollars of this funding will support Niagara College’s MPOWER program that implements new strategies to facilitate a smooth transition to post-secondary education and create new pathway and transfer opportunities for Indigenous learners. The program also offers learners access to holistic and cultural Indigenous services, providing a safe and supportive learning environment for students.

“We are grateful to have received this funding from ONCAT to continue delivering the MPOWER program,” said Fiona Allan, Vice-President, Academic at Niagara College. “We know the impact education has on our communities. It builds confidence, hope and self-esteem in our students, and MPOWER has helped to demystify the college experience. We are truly excited to see this successful program continue.”

“Empowering learners with accessible pathways to navigate their educational journey is key to helping them achieve their professional and academic goals,” said Dr. Galway. “The increased funding will promote improved transitions between institutions and programs, helping learners get where they want to go.”

“The Ontario government is proud to support ONCAT’s important work to make it easier for learners of all backgrounds to pursue their educational goals,” said Minister Dunlop. “By facilitating smoother transitions and recognizing the wealth of knowledge gained through previous experience, we are fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment to advance student success in Ontario.”

In Fall of 2023, ONCAT initiated calls for projects for greater accessibility and impact within the post-secondary sector. This call was met with an unprecedented number of applications from post-secondary institutions, demonstrating a growing interest to support greater learner mobility, expand access to post-secondary opportunities and improve pathways to the labour market.

Established in 2011, the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer plays a pivotal role in supporting learner mobility, working to reduce barriers for students seeking to transfer among the province’s public colleges, universities, and Indigenous Institutes.

For more information, visit www.oncat.ca. ONCAT is funded by the Government of Ontario.

View ONCAT’s June 17 press release here.

Niagara College has a full-time enrolment of more than 11,000 students from over 95 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is ranked Canada’s No.1 research college. Learn more at niagaracollege.ca.

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Media inquiries, please contact:

Alyssa Milana
Cell: 905-329-0389
Communications Consultant (Acting)
[email protected]

NSERC announces $1.75 million renewal for Niagara College Technology Access Centre

Thanks to continued investment from the federal government, Niagara College’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC) will further provide its state-of-the-art services to advanced manufacturing and technology companies wishing to innovate, grow and compete in the global marketplace.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has awarded a $1.75 million renewal of Technology Access Centre (TAC) funding for WAMIC, part of the Research & Innovation division, for another five years, at $350,000 per year. The renewal grant is through NSERC’s College and Community Innovation (CCI) program.

The Honourable Yasir Naqvi, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and Ryan Turnbull, Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, announced funding of more than $30 million to colleges, CEGEPs and polytechnics across the country. The investment will allow these academic institutions to partner with local companies to provide them with unique technological or process solutions, laboratories and equipment, and highly trained students who are career ready.

“Whether it’s through discovery or applied research, these recipients have the potential to reveal unexpected findings and have a significant impact on our society and well-being,” said Professor Alejandro Adem, FRSC, President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), in a press release from the Government of Canada. “Today’s announcement provides funding for the full gamut of research impact, from the earliest stages of discovery to the final stages of bringing innovations to communities. It also provides support to inspire students in their most formative years, and to spur our research leaders to even greater success.”

Housed at colleges or CEGEPs across Canada, and supported by the Tech-Access Canada network, Canada’s 64 Technology Access Centres (TACS) provide access to specialized technology, equipment, and expertise to local industry – particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – with the goal of enhancing their productivity and innovation.

The WAMIC, located at Niagara College’s Welland Campus, has positioned itself as a leading-edge technology accelerator able to solve complex industry challenges. The team of experts in complex manufacturing technologies, Industrial Internet of Things, and precision measurement capabilities, alongside students, offer SMEs innovative solutions from concept to product or process improvement.

“This renewal ensures that our student research assistants, who work alongside our experts and industry partners, will continue to access and participate in trailblazing research and development at Niagara College – an opportunity that provides unparalleled career-ready advantages,” said Niagara College President, Sean Kennedy.

“This is exciting news, as it allows us to further our delivery of high-quality services to area SMEs, in order to enhance their global competitiveness,” said Marc Nantel, PhD, Vice-President, Research, Innovation and Strategic Enterprises at Niagara College. “We are able to better serve the innovation needs of these companies who may have had difficulty developing new products and services for lack of affordable research expertise, equipment, and facilities.”

This is the third five-year grant for WAMIC, which has served approximately 275 businesses with more than 400 technical services and 150 applied research projects through its first two TAC grants. More than 170 students – from the College’s programs in Mechanical Engineering Technologist, Mechanical Engineering Technician, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Programming – have gained hands-on research experience at the Centre to provide a wealth of innovative solutions to industry partners.

Thanks to the opportunities for such research project collaborations, Airbus, a global leader in aeronautics, space, and related services, has partnered with WAMIC on several recent technical services. Not only have they completed work to help them keep their business running efficiently, but they also reap the benefits from NC as WAMIC serves as a talent pipeline for them.

“For Airbus, it’s a capacity issue. We’re busy dealing with technical and manufacturing issues on a day-to-day basis, and these are the types of projects that can take a few weeks to complete,” said Brock Husak, Manufacturing Project Engineer, Airbus and a Niagara College, Research & Innovation alumnus. “By outsourcing projects like this, we can keep our focus on production as the tool/fixture is designed. I knew this was a perfect fit for WAMIC, so we called upon them to be our extra set of hands.”

“At WAMIC, the learning never stopped, and I think that was the main fun factor,” Husak added as he reflected on his time working with Research & Innovation. “It can be overwhelming at times, but I feel like the most learning happens through those overwhelming times.”

The Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre offers a suite of services using leading-edge technology, including equipment and software, as well as expert staff to support industry innovation and commercialization of new products and processes. Current service offerings include digital manufacturing, precision metrology, prototype design and development, and process improvement. 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 has a full-time enrolment of more than 11,000 students from over 95 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is ranked Canada’s No.1 research college. Learn more at niagaracollege.ca.

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Video:

Quick Facts

  • NC is home to two Technology Access Centres. The TAC at the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre at the Welland Campus was established in 2014 thanks to a grant from NSERC, with its first renewal granted in 2019. The Food & Beverage Innovation Centre TAC was established at the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake in 2016 and was renewed as a TAC for another five years in 2021, thanks to a grant from NSERC.
  • WAMIC has 7,000 square feet of dedicated lab space at the Welland Campus. Equipment highlights include 3D design software, a unique workshop with a small CNC mill, an electronics workshop, Faro scanners, a Creaform HandySCAN black, Fortus machines, FormLabs machines and more.
  • The research team at the WAMIC TAC works with faculty experts and students from several NC programs – including Mechanical Engineering Technologist, Mechanical Engineering Technician, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Programming.

Media inquiries, please contact:

Alyssa Milana
Communications Consultant (Acting)
Cell: 905-329-0389
[email protected]

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

Niagara College caps off final day of Spring 2024 convocation ceremonies

Niagara College celebrated its sixth and final day of Spring 2024 convocation ceremonies on June 15, honouring the achievements of over 650 new graduates from the School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker.

The College hosted a total of twelve convocation ceremonies throughout the week at the Welland Campus Simplii Financial Athletic Centre and via live stream, welcoming guests and viewers from around the world.

This week’s ceremonies saw a record number of 5,500 graduates join a proud community of more than 120,000 NC alumni.

Niagara College President Sean Kennedy addresses graduating students at June 15 convocation ceremony.

In his address to the Class of 2024, Niagara College President Sean Kennedy shared an inspiring message emphasizing the importance of connection and kindness.

“We are at our best when we are welcomed and connected, when we feel we can be our authentic selves, when we are open and curious to learn about others and the world around us, and when we harness our connections and deep relationships to do more together, to innovate, and make a difference in the lives of others,” said Kennedy.

He encouraged graduates to look ahead to their future careers in healthcare and remember to take an extra moment to be kind to patients and their families.

“You will be helping individuals who are at some of the toughest and most vulnerable times in their lives,” said Kennedy. “That kindness, both personally and professionally, is critical.”

Vice-President, Academic, Fiona Allan praised the dedication and perseverance demonstrated by the graduates throughout their academic journey, culminating in this memorable convocation ceremony.

“This ceremony marks the achievement of a goal, through much hard work and determination,” said Allan. “May you never forget or underestimate the magnitude of this accomplishment.”

Each convocation ceremony began with a special performance from local Indigenous-led women’s drum group, the Strong Water Singers.

Each convocation ceremony featured a special performance by the Strong Water Singers, a local Indigenous-led women’s drum group. Their songs set the tone for each ceremony, celebrating the contributions and achievements of the graduates, and welcoming them to the next phase of their life journey through the sound of the drum.

Throughout the week, thirteen graduating students were honoured with Dean’s Awards for earning the highest GPA within their respective schools of study.

Additionally, the prestigious Governor General’s Academic Medals were awarded to two graduating students who achieved the highest overall GPA in a degree and diploma program. Among them were NC alumna and employee Becky Sciliberto, who earned a 94% average in the Honours Bachelor of Business Administration – International Commerce and Global Development program, and healthcare professional Julianna Pennings, who achieved a 98% average in the Recreation Therapy program.

The College also welcomed two honorary guests to its convocation ceremonies: prominent Niagara business leader, Wendy Wing, the Senior Vice-President of Finance and Administration at Rankin Construction Inc. and Port Colborne Quarries Inc., and President of Rankin Renewable Power Inc., and notable NC alumnus and Indigenous Elder, Dave Labbé. Wing was presented with an Honorary Degree in Applied Studies – Business Administration for her significant business and community accomplishments. Labbé received a Distinguished Alumni Award for his transformative efforts in supporting the Indigenous community and his mentorship of NC students.

Niagara College’s Spring 2024 convocation ceremonies culminated in a celebration of academic achievement, community spirit, and the inspiring journeys of its graduates.

All Spring Convocation ceremonies were livestreamed and will remain on Niagara College’s convocation website for later viewing. Visit the convocation website at niagaracollege.ca/convocation.

Niagara College has a full-time enrolment of more than 11,000 students from over 95 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is ranked Canada’s No.1 research college. Learn more at niagaracollege.ca.

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Related media releases:

Media inquiries, please contact:
Alyssa Milana
Communications Consultant (Acting)
905-329-0389
[email protected]

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

Niagara College caps off final day of Spring 2024 convocation ceremonies

Niagara College celebrated its sixth and final day of Spring 2024 convocation ceremonies on June 15, honouring the achievements of over 650 new graduates from the School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker.

The College hosted a total of twelve convocation ceremonies throughout the week at the Welland Campus Simplii Financial Athletic Centre and via live stream, welcoming guests and viewers from around the world.

This week’s ceremonies saw a record number of 5,500 graduates join a proud community of more than 120,000 NC alumni.

Niagara College President Sean Kennedy addresses graduating students at June 15 convocation ceremony.

In his address to the Class of 2024, Niagara College President Sean Kennedy shared an inspiring message emphasizing the importance of connection and kindness.

“We are at our best when we are welcomed and connected, when we feel we can be our authentic selves, when we are open and curious to learn about others and the world around us, and when we harness our connections and deep relationships to do more together, to innovate, and make a difference in the lives of others,” said Kennedy.

He encouraged graduates to look ahead to their future careers in healthcare and remember to take an extra moment to be kind to patients and their families.

“You will be helping individuals who are at some of the toughest and most vulnerable times in their lives,” said Kennedy. “That kindness, both personally and professionally, is critical.”

Vice-President, Academic, Fiona Allan praised the dedication and perseverance demonstrated by the graduates throughout their academic journey, culminating in this memorable convocation ceremony.

“This ceremony marks the achievement of a goal, through much hard work and determination,” said Allan. “May you never forget or underestimate the magnitude of this accomplishment.”

Each convocation ceremony began with a special performance from local Indigenous-led women’s drum group, the Strong Water Singers.

Each convocation ceremony featured a special performance by the Strong Water Singers, a local Indigenous-led women’s drum group. Their songs set the tone for each ceremony, celebrating the contributions and achievements of the graduates, and welcoming them to the next phase of their life journey through the sound of the drum.

Throughout the week, thirteen graduating students were honoured with Dean’s Awards for earning the highest GPA within their respective schools of study.

Additionally, the prestigious Governor General’s Academic Medals were awarded to two graduating students who achieved the highest overall GPA in a degree and diploma program. Among them were NC alumna and employee Becky Sciliberto, who earned a 94% average in the Honours Bachelor of Business Administration – International Commerce and Global Development program, and healthcare professional Julianna Pennings, who achieved a 98% average in the Recreation Therapy program.

The College also welcomed two honorary guests to its convocation ceremonies: prominent Niagara business leader, Wendy Wing, the Senior Vice-President of Finance and Administration at Rankin Construction Inc. and Port Colborne Quarries Inc., and President of Rankin Renewable Power Inc., and notable NC alumnus and Indigenous Elder, Dave Labbé. Wing was presented with an Honorary Degree in Applied Studies – Business Administration for her significant business and community accomplishments. Labbé received a Distinguished Alumni Award for his transformative efforts in supporting the Indigenous community and his mentorship of NC students.

Niagara College’s Spring 2024 convocation ceremonies culminated in a celebration of academic achievement, community spirit, and the inspiring journeys of its graduates.

All Spring Convocation ceremonies were livestreamed and will remain on Niagara College’s convocation website for later viewing. Visit the convocation website at niagaracollege.ca/convocation.

Niagara College has a full-time enrolment of more than 11,000 students from over 95 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is ranked Canada’s No.1 research college. Learn more at niagaracollege.ca.

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Related media releases:

Media inquiries, please contact:
Alyssa Milana
Communications Consultant (Acting)
905-329-0389
[email protected]

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

In-demand health grads among those celebrated on day five of Niagara College’s Spring Convocation

Another 1,000 graduates crossed the stage on the fifth day of Niagara College’s Spring 2024 Convocation ceremonies. The June 14 ceremonies celebrated grads from the schools of Nursing and Personal Support Worker, Business and Management, Academic and Liberal Studies, and English Language Studies.

Among the graduates from the morning ceremony were more than 100 from the Practical Nursing program and over 80 from the Personal Support Worker program, who will go on to fill critical and much-needed healthcare roles in Niagara and beyond.

Amelia Godwin, Practical Nursing graduate and Dean’s Award winner for the School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker, has already started her career in health care in Niagara. Godwin, who achieved the highest GPA within her academic school, was recently hired by Niagara Health as an emergency room nurse in St. Catharines. Her story is one of struggle, triumph, and resilience.

Godwin left high school in her teens and didn’t earn her high school diploma until she was in her 20s. Today, as a mother of two daughters, a neurodivergent woman of colour, and a domestic abuse survivor, she is proud of her accomplishments.

“This graduation symbolizes my independence, sacrifice, and resiliency,” said Godwin. “For my children, this symbolizes a roof over their heads, food in their stomachs, and access to opportunities that I lacked growing up. This ceremony – for myself and for all who see it – represents that struggle does have an end, and that end is something to be fought for and celebrated.”

School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker Dean’s Academic Award winner Amelia Godwin (right) and Sinéad McElhone, Dean, Health Sciences.

During his address, NC President Sean Kennedy echoed the sentiment to reflect on and celebrate well-earned accomplishments.

“Life can be tough, and full of ups and downs. Being kind to ourselves and one another fills our cup and fuels our spirit, our energy, our determination,” said Kennedy. “Work hard and persevere through good days and bad ones, and – like we’re doing today through convocation, remember to take the time to reflect on your accomplishments and to thank and acknowledge those who helped you achieve them.”

Godwin is grateful to her network of supporters, including her grandmother, classmates and instructors for inspiring her to push through. “To me, this award boasts of the community I have made which, in turn, has made me. This award is for the people who supported me and at times carried me through the past two years,” she said.

With a bright future ahead, Godwin aspires to be an emergency medicine physician and has already started preparing to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) to fulfill her dream.

This September, NC will welcome its first cohort of students in the Honours Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree program. The new program will expand options for students in nursing education and help meet the demand for more registered nurses.

Two additional outstanding students were also recognized on June 14.

During the morning ceremony, Office Administration-Health Services program graduate Sarah Petrenko was presented with the Dean’s Award for the School of Business and Management. Petrenko returned to school after earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brock University and a diploma from the Ontario College of Health & Technology. Enrolling at NC was a way for Petrenko to combine her dream of working in health care with her talent for technology and administration. After completing her placement at Niagara Health, she was recently hired on by the hospital as a switchboard operator.

School of Business and Management Dean’s Academic Award winner Sarah Petrenko (right) and Evan DiValentino, Dean, School of Business and Environment.

In the afternoon, Joel Pruden, a General Arts and Science program graduate received the Dean’s Award for the School of Academic and Liberal Studies. Pruden, a father of three, completed his studies while working full-time and serving part-time with the Canadian Forces. He returned to the classroom to open up his options for career advancement and chose NC because of the flexibility it provided for him to complete his studies remotely.

Also among Friday’s graduates was Peyton Moroziuk, who unearthed a hidden love for horticulture while enrolled in the Community Integration Through Co-operative Education (CICE) program. Moroziuk will begin the Horticultural Technician program part-time in the fall. In the meantime, she is working at the flower shop where she completed a co-op placement during her program.

Dipal Patel, NC Student Administrative Council (NCSAC) President, offered congratulations on behalf of the College’s student government and encouraged the new graduates to savour their special day.

“Today is the day to celebrate what has brought you to your moment. This is a moment that some never experience and that some are lucky enough to experience more than once. Graduates, this moment is for you!” said Patel, who is a double NC graduate from the Exercise Science for Health and Performance (2022) and Autism and Behavioral Science (2023) programs.

NC’s Spring Convocation concludes on June 15 with two final ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., celebrating additional graduates from the School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker.

The ceremonies will be livestreamed from the Simplii Financial Athletic Centre at the Welland Campus via NC’s Convocation website. Ceremony livestreams from all six days, June 10-15, will remain on the website for later viewing.

Niagara College has a full-time enrolment of more than 11,000 students from over 95 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is ranked Canada’s No.1 research college. Learn more at niagaracollege.ca.

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 Related media releases:

June 5: Niagara College to celebrate largest-ever graduating class at Spring Convocation, June 10-15

June 7: Niagara College’s top grads to receive prestigious Governor General Academic Medals at Spring Convocation

June 10: Niagara College kicks off week of Spring Convocation ceremonies

June 11: Niagara College celebrates over 1,000 graduates at day two of Spring Convocation

June 12: Media, Trades and Technology grads cross the stage at Niagara College’s Spring Convocation

June 13: Governor General’s Silver Academic Medal winner recognized during day four of Spring Convocation ceremonies

Media inquiries, please contact:

Elyse Howarth
Communications Consultant
905-329-4910
[email protected]

Alyssa Milana
Communications Consultant (Acting)
905-329-0389
[email protected]

 

Governor General’s Silver Academic Medal winner recognized during day four of Spring Convocation ceremonies

Nearly 1,000 graduates from programs within the School of Business and Management were the latest to join Niagara College’s alumni community during the fourth day of Spring Convocation ceremonies inside the Simplii Financial Athletic Centre at the Welland Campus, June 13.

Among them was Becky Sciliberto, the recipient of the Governor General’s Silver Academic Medal, whose 94% average was the highest of all students studying in a degree program at Niagara College.

This is only the second year that an NC student was awarded a Governor General’s Academic Medal at the Silver level. Governor General’s Academic Medals are presented annually to the student graduating with the highest average from a high school, as well as from approved college or university programs.

Earlier in the week, Recreation Therapy graduate Julianna Pennings was presented with a Governor General’s Collegiate Bronze Medal in recognition of her outstanding academic achievement (98% average) in a diploma program.

Already a Niagara College alumna (Business Administration-Accounting, 2007), Sciliberto graduated from the Honours Bachelor of Business Administration in International Commerce and Global Development program. As she was writing her speech to her fellow graduates, she said she was inspired by an art piece by street artist and political activist Banksy that reads, ‘Be someone who makes you happy.’

“I realized that over my lifetime, that has always been my goal,” she said, as she offered three insights that have guided her.

“One, you will not always receive the validation and support you need from others. To succeed, persevering is a choice you make on your own every day. Two, we all have a unique path ahead; make sure you’re proud of the one you’re on. And three is simple: Be kind. Be kind to yourself, others and the planet. Generosity through kindness goes a long way and is proven to have a multiplying effect.”

It was a sentiment Niagara College President Sean Kennedy also shared in his address to the Class of 2024.

“I hope that you’ll always remember the power and importance of kindness,” Kennedy said. “Be kind to your family, your friends, your colleagues, your neighbours and to total strangers. Small acts of kindness can be a strong antidote to life’s struggles and challenges, to all of the bad news that we are so often surrounded by.

“Strive every day to make a difference in the lives of others through being kind. And, perhaps most importantly, remember to always be kind to yourself.”

NC’s Spring Convocation will continue on June 14 with two more ceremonies for the Schools of Nursing and Personal Support Worker, Academic and Liberal Studies, Business and Management, and English Language Studies.

On June 15, the week will conclude with two final Convocation ceremonies for the School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker.

This year’s graduating class marks Niagara College’s largest ever – 5,500 – warranting an extra day of Convocation ceremonies.

A full schedule and list of programs graduating within each School is available in the ‘Ceremony Schedule’ section of Niagara College’s Convocation website. All ceremonies will be livestreamed and available for later viewing.

For more information, visit niagaracollege.ca/convocation.

Niagara College has a full-time enrolment of more than 11,000 students from over 95 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is ranked Canada’s No.1 research college. Learn more at niagaracollege.ca.

Media, Trades and Technology grads cross the stage at Niagara College’s Spring Convocation

On the third of six days of Niagara College’s Spring Convocation, nearly 1,000 students from the Schools of Media, Trades and Technology crossed the stage – many going on to lucrative careers to help solve the skilled trades crisis.

“You’ve learned many lessons here at NC as you’ve trained for your careers in industries and sectors that are critical to our province and country’s future, and are driving our world forward and supporting our communities,” said President Sean Kennedy in his address to graduates. “In an increasingly digital world where AI is changing how we work and live, remember that nothing can replace the magic of human connection.”

A shining example to grads, Wendy Wing, Senior Vice-President of Finance and Administration at Rankin Construction, received an Honorary Degree in Applied Studies – Business Administration at the afternoon ceremony.

Wing, a prominent Niagara business leader with over 30 years of experience at Rankin Construction, and former Chair of NC’s Board of Governors, took to the stage to address graduates. She was joined in the audience by her parents, Tom and Beth Rankin, and other family members.

Wing described the award as an “incredible honour.”

“I am thrilled to accept this honour, but I know I wouldn’t be here without my family and our team at Rankin. I am also so grateful to Niagara College.”

Wing was granted an Honorary Degree in Applied Studies – Business Administration for her significant business and community accomplishments; her ongoing and steadfast support of Niagara College and our students; and for her generous sharing of knowledge and leadership.

“Wendy and her family are valued supporters and advocates of Niagara College, contributing to student success by funding scholarships and awards and by helping to expand and improve campus so that students have the best teaching, learning and gathering spaces,” said President Kennedy.

“I believe it’s a great time to be joining the workforce in beautiful Niagara. There are exciting projects on the horizon here,” said Wing, noting the various industry investments and construction projects to support our rapidly growing population.

Wing inspired graduates to leverage the resilience they developed as NC students to overcome challenges.

“You will hit potholes, detours, road closures, and construction crews that will force you to recalculate your route, but I can assure you that you will be speeding down the straightaways… and don’t be afraid of that journey – be brave!”

Dean’s Award Winners

Wednesday’s ceremonies also celebrated three outstanding graduates who earned the Dean’s Academic Awards, presented to students who achieved the highest GPA in their academic schools.

Jordan Dimarcantonio of Stoney Creek, who graduated from Computer Programming, received the Dean’s Award for the School of Media. Transferring to NC during his third year at university, Dimarcantonio sought practical experience to better prepare him for his career as an IT Systems Assistant with the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.

A graduate of the Carpentry and Renovation Technician Program, Manuel Felipe Perez Flores from Chile was the Dean’s Award Winner, School of Trades. A freelance architect in his home country, Flores was drawn to learn from Canadian carpenters and woodworkers at NC to improve his skill as a designer and contribute to Niagara’s economy as a skilled tradesperson. He completed his co-op as a Project Manager with Empire Communities and also volunteered for various projects including a custom display for NC’s signature fundraising Gala.

Blake Chambers of Stevensville graduated from the Computer Systems Technician – Network and Cloud Technologies program receiving the Dean’s Award from the School of Technology. Chambers will put his knowledge of enterprise-grade networking equipment and software to the test in pursuit of industry certification.

Grad spotlights: Bright futures

Graduates from NC’s Photography program had another reason to celebrate. Six graduating students were recognized in the Applied Arts 2024 Student Awards, an esteemed international photography competition.

Alanna Ransom of St. Catharines graduated with honours from the Mechanical Techniques-General Machining program. She already has the career of her dreams lined up as an apprentice at DM Precision, a CNC Machine Shop in Dunnville.

Anastasiia Slyvka from Kyiv, Ukraine graduated from the Computer Programming and Analysis (Co-op) Program with the hands-on experience she’ll need to succeed in a technology-driven world. During her program, Slyvka was a member of NC’s Women in Tech club. As a research assistant, Slyvka developed VR applications with SoilOptix where she has since transitioned into a full-time role as front-end developer.

Graduating students in the College’s Broadcasting – Radio, Television and Film Production program worked behind the scenes orchestrating the Convocation livestream before taking the stage and stepping into the spotlight.

Niagara College Spring 2024 Convocation Ceremonies

NC’s Spring Convocation will continue until June 15, celebrating a record number of 5,500 graduates across 12 ceremonies held at the Welland Campus in the Simplii Financial Athletic Centre.

To view the full schedule and list of programs graduating within each School, visit the ‘Ceremony Schedule’ section of Niagara College’s Convocation website. All ceremonies will be livestreamed and available for later viewing.

For more information, visit niagaracollege.ca/convocation.

Niagara College has a full-time enrolment of more than 11,000 students from over 95 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is ranked Canada’s No.1 research college. Learn more at niagaracollege.ca.

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Related media releases:

June 5: Niagara College to celebrate largest-ever graduating class at Spring Convocation, June 10-15

June 7: Niagara College’s top grads to receive prestigious Governor General Academic Medals at Spring Convocation

June 10: Niagara College kicks off week of Spring Convocation ceremonies

June 11: Niagara College celebrates over 1,000 graduates at day two of Spring Convocation

Media inquiries, please contact:

Jessica Torok
Communications Consultant
905-932-1520
[email protected]

Alyssa Milana
Communications Consultant (Acting)
905-329-0389
[email protected]

Niagara College celebrates over 1,000 graduates at day two of Spring Convocation

Niagara College continued its Spring 2024 Convocation ceremonies on Tuesday, June 11, celebrating over 1,000 new graduates as they culminated their academic journeys and became part of a proud community of more than 120,000 NC alumni.

Held at the Welland Campus Simplii Financial Athletic Centre, the morning ceremony celebrated graduates from the Schools of Culinary Arts and Environment and Horticulture, and the afternoon ceremony recognized graduates from the Schools of Hospitality and Tourism, and Wine, Beer and Spirits.

Dr. Chris McGrath, Vice President, Students, acknowledged the spirit of celebration in the air as the ceremonies joined family, friends, and loved ones to celebrate graduates, both at the Welland Campus and around the world via NC’s livestream.

“This ceremony marks the achievement of a goal through much hard work and determination,” said Dr. McGrath. “May you never forget or underestimate the magnitude of this accomplishment.”

In his address to graduates, President Sean Kennedy highlighted that the heart of today’s ceremony was about celebrating the unique dreams each graduate holds.

School of Culinary Arts Dean’s Academic Award winner Nicolas Campuzano Diago (right) and Craig Youdale, Dean, School of Culinary Arts.

“This ceremony is about your dreams,” said Kennedy. “The dream you’ve realized by joining our Niagara College alumni family, the dream you’re stepping into as you enter new careers or further educational pathways, and the dreams you’ve yet to imagine for your future.”

Tuesday’s ceremonies also celebrated four outstanding graduates who earned the Dean’s Academic Awards, presented to students who achieved the highest GPA in their academic schools.

Nicolas Campuzano Diago, who graduated from the Culinary Management program, received the Dean’s Award for the School of Culinary Arts. Campuzano Diago initially aspired to become a restaurant owner, however, his NC journey sparked a new desire to pursue a career in education and become a professor in the future. He is currently an Executive Chef at The Shore Restaurant and The Jordan Hotel in Jordan Station.

A graduate of the Landscape Technician program, Amanda Consoli earned the Dean’s Award for the School of Environment and Horticulture. Motivated by her personal aspiration to excel and set a positive example for her children, Consoli’s academic path was driven by her genuine passion for the program’s subject matter.

School of Environment and Horticulture Dean’s Academic Award winner Amanda Consoli (right) and Evan DiValentino, Dean, School of Environment and Horticulture.

“I feel very confident with the education I have received from NC, and that I am well-prepared to step into the industry and contribute to the beautification of the environment,” said Consoli. “I believe in continuous learning and bettering oneself, and I am excited to see what the future holds.”

Recognized for her academic performance in the Hospitality – Hotel and Restoration program, Alexandra Billeci received the Dean’s Award for the School of Hospitality and Tourism. Billeci credits her NC experience for transforming her life, describing it as one of the best decisions she has ever made. She particularly highlights the supportive environment and dedicated professors who motivated her to succeed. Equipped with both theoretical knowledge and practical skills, Billeci confidently embraced her new role as a Front of House Manager at a Hamilton brewery.

Justine Brown was also acknowledged for her academic performance in the Winery and Viticulture program, earning the Dean’s Award for the School of Wine, Beer and Spirits.

During the June 10 afternoon ceremony, the College bestowed a Distinguished Alumni Award to NC alumnus and Indigenous Elder, Dave Labbé. Additionally, Recreation Therapy program graduate Julianna Pennings was recognized with the Governor General’s Academic Medal for achieving the highest overall GPA for a diploma program. Pennings was also presented the Dean’s Award for the School of Community Services at the ceremony.

NC’s Spring 2024 Convocation celebrations will continue June 12 with a morning ceremony for programs within the Schools of Media and Trades, and an afternoon ceremony for programs within the Schools of Technology and Trades. Wendy Wing, Senior Vice-President of Finance and Administration at Rankin Construction Inc. and President of Rankin Renewable Power Inc., will join the afternoon ceremony as an honorary guest, where she will receive an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies – Business Administration.

Convocation celebrations will extend throughout the week, concluding on Saturday, June 15, with ceremonies held daily at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. NC alumna and employee Becky Sciliberto will be honoured at the morning ceremony on June 13 with the Governor General’s Academic Medal for her academic achievements in the Honours Bachelor of Business Administration – International Commerce and Global Development program.

All ceremony schedules and a list of programs graduating within each School can be viewed under the ‘Ceremony Schedule’ section of NC’s Convocation website. NC’s in-person Spring Convocation ceremonies will also be livestreamed via the Convocation website and ceremonies will remain on the website for later viewing.

Niagara College has a full-time enrolment of more than 11,000 students from over 95 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is ranked Canada’s No.1 research college. Learn more at niagaracollege.ca.

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Media inquiries, please contact:
Alyssa Milana
Communications Consultant (Acting)
905-329-0389
[email protected]

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

Niagara College kicks off week of Spring Convocation ceremonies

More than 800 graduates were ushered into Niagara College’s alumni community, June 10, as students from the Schools of Justice and Fitness, Allied Health and Community Services were presented with their diplomas on the first of six days of convocation ceremonies at the Welland Campus.

It was a day of reflection – to celebrate the triumphs and successes that culminate in convocation, and the struggles, the challenges and the determination needed to get there, said Niagara College President Sean Kennedy in his address to the Class of 2024.

“This ceremony is part of your individual story – your NC story – and a celebration of what you’ve accomplished and the excitement of possibilities and dreams that lie ahead,” Kennedy said. “This ceremony is about looking back on where you’ve come from. It’s about being present in this moment to feel the groundswell of pride from your supporters and champions, and to feel proud of yourself.

“This spirit of celebration is one I hope you will carry with you for the rest of your lives.”

A highlight of the day was the presentation of the first of two prestigious Governor General’s Academic medals, awarded to the graduating student who achieved the highest overall grade-point average from a diploma program.

For nearly 150 years, the Governor General’s Academic Medals have recognized the outstanding scholastic achievements of students in Canada. They are awarded at four distinct levels: Bronze at the secondary school level; Collegiate Bronze at the post-secondary, diploma level; Silver at the undergraduate level; and Gold at the graduate level.

This year’s Collegiate Bronze medal recipient was Julianna Pennings, a mature student who achieved a 98 percent average in the Recreation Therapy Program while balancing her studies, career and family life.

A former nurse, Pennings returned to school in Fall 2022 to follow a path that would combine her previous health care experience with her creative pursuits.

Addressing her fellow graduates during the afternoon ceremony, Pennings thanked them for their companionship, their kindness and their friendliness as she faced uncertainty while looking to start a new chapter in life.

“Your support has meant the world to me,” she said. “You have all become so much more than the unfamiliar faces I saw on day one. We have all worked so hard, celebrated each other’s wins, and experienced our own personal challenges and barriers to reach this moment of graduation. For that, I couldn’t be prouder of us.”

Pennings also received the Dean’s Award for the School of Community Services for scoring the highest GPA within her school of study. Paramedic graduate Cassenya Detmar and Community and Justice Services graduate Makayla Fairbanks were also presented with Dean’s Awards for finishing at the top of the class in the Schools of Allied Health and Justice and Fitness, respectively.

This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award was also presented during the afternoon ceremony to Dave Labbé, a member of the Innu from Northern Quebec, who was part of the inaugural class of students at Niagara College in 1967.

Labbé graduated from the Electronic Engineering Technology Program in 1971 and returned to the College as an Elder after his retirement, drawing on his own education to impart knowledge in a way that mirrors the unique learning he experienced as an NC student.

He recalled his early days at Niagara College when he was frustrated with his academic performance and wanted to leave. He met a physics professor told him why he shouldn’t quit and reminded him that greatness doesn’t come from within; it comes from the people who surround you and support you.

“You’ve got so many people – sitting beside you, behind you, people here in the room, people not here at all tonight because they couldn’t be. I’ve kept that with me and that’s been my way of looking at things: I’m never alone,” Labbé said after being presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award and a piece of specially crafted Indigenous beadwork. “This culmination is like a full circle for me. It’s brought me back to where I really need to be. Like the goose that forgot how to fly, hitching a ride to get home after 20 years. (He) ends up back where the egg was. This is where my egg was. This is where I actually got life.

“I envy you right now,” he continued. “You’re still sitting in a seat in an institution that brought you not only understanding of yourself, but enlightenment of the world. You people graduating now, you’re a part of my family. I see you that way. You’ve gone through a different kind of life. When you came here, you were a different person. I know none of you are the same person now, because that’s what happened to me…and I thank you for carrying on that tradition.”

Labbé’s remarks were followed by a performance by The Strong Water Singers entitled “The Longest Walk.” The local Indigenous-led women’s drum group also drummed as graduates entered the gymnasium at the start of both ceremonies.

Later in the week, NC will also bestow special honours to Wendy Wing, the Senior Vice-President of Finance and Administration at Rankin Construction Inc. and Port Colborne Quarries Inc., as well as President of Rankin Renewable Power Inc. Wing will be presented with an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies – Business Administration at the 3 p.m. ceremony on June 12, which celebrates new graduates from the College’s School of Technology and Trades.

By the time the College concludes its convocation week on June 15 – each ceremony honouring graduating students from different areas of study – NC will gain 5,500 new graduates.

In addition to the two held on June 10, convocation ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily from June 11 to June 15. All Spring Convocation ceremonies will be livestreamed from the Simplii Financial Athletic Centre at Welland Campus. To view the schedule and a list of programs graduating within each School – or to watch the livestream of any ceremony – visit NC’s Convocation website.

Niagara College has a full-time enrolment of more than 11,000 students from over 95 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is ranked Canada’ s No.1 research college. Learn more at niagaracollege.ca.

Related media releases:
June 5: Niagara College to celebrate largest-ever graduating class at Spring Convocation, June 10-15

June 7: Niagara College’s top grads to receive prestigious Governor General Academic Medals at Spring Convocation