Niagara College is celebrating Spring Convocation with a roster of distinguished guest speakers. Find out who they are for each of our ceremonies below.
Day 1: Tuesday, June 20, 3 p.m. ceremony:
Patrick J. Whalen, Director Niagara Global Tourism Institute
Guest speaker and recipient of an Honorary Diploma in Tourism Management
A serial entrepreneur who has started more than 20 businesses in a variety of industries, Patrick J. Whalen is the director of the Niagara Global Tourism Institute; managing partner of Capstone Scientific, LLC; and executive vice president of the Canadian American Border Trade Alliance.
Whalen served as the chief operating officer of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC), Inc. for nearly eight years until November 2015. In addition to managing day-to-day operations, he was the unofficial ‘entrepreneur-in-residence’ who worked to foster collaboration and job creation on the campus and throughout the bi-national region.
Among the businesses Whalen has started is Fulfillment Systems International (FSI), a technology driven logistics services provider. FSI grew from a one-person startup in 1985 to a firm with annual sales of $20 million and more than 200 employees in five locations in Canada, Europe, and the U.S.A. before being sold to UPS in 2000. It is now part of UPS Supply Chain Solutions.
He currently sits on the board of directors of the Association of University Research Parks, World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara, Canadian / American Border Trade Alliance, Western New York Public Broadcasting WNED / WBFO, New Buffalo Capital LP, Health Sciences Charter School, the Richardson Center Corporation, and the Council of the Great Lakes Region.
Whalen was the secretary of the Direct Marketing Industry Working Group in Washington, D.C., and has served on the boards of the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, Rotary Club of Buffalo (twice), the American Red Cross Buffalo Chapter, Binational Tourism Alliance, Centre for Entrepreneurial Leadership Alumni Association (twice), Continental1, Kaleida Health Foundation, and Buffalo
Niagara WorldConnect. He was also co-chair of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership
Logistics Council, and conceptualized and co-founded Come-to America which seeks to utilize the Buffalo Niagara region’s logistics assets to attract international companies. His most recent endeavor is co-founding the Binational Research and Innovation Corridor which utilizes the assets in Western New York, and the Hamilton and Niagara regions in Southern Ontario.
A Rotarian since 1986, Whalen was an organizer of the new Rotary club on the BNMC, and served on its board of directors during the club’s inaugural year.
Whalen is a graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Management’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and attended Canisius College.
Day 2: Wednesday, June 21, 10 a.m. ceremony:
Deborah Newman: Former Deputy Minister, Ontario Public Service and Distinguished Visiting Professor, Ryerson University
Guest speaker and recipient of an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies
Deborah Newman held the position of deputy minister in the Ontario Public Service from 2005 to 2015, serving as deputy minister for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities; deputy minister of Correctional Services; and deputy minister of Community Safety.
Newman’s career in the public service encompasses more than 35 years in direct service, policy development, management and executive roles in Ontario and Alberta. She has worked extensively in the justice sector as well as the advanced education sector.
The Women’s Executive Network has twice honoured Newman with a
Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 award. She has also received Diversity Journal’s CEO Leadership in Action award for her leadership of diversity initiatives.
Since she left the public service in spring 2015, Newman has served on an expert panel mandated to provide recommendations to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to strengthen residential services for children and youth. She has also conducted work in the advanced education sector.
She served as an independent director on The Scarborough Hospital Board of Directors, and on the board of Springboard, a non-profit agency.
Newman is a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University,
in both the Department of Criminology and Master’s in Public
Wednesday, June 20, 3 p.m. ceremony:
John Ferguson, CEO and President, Purolator Courier
Guest speaker and recipient of an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies
John Ferguson is president and CEO of Purolator Inc. The leading international shipping solutions provider operates the largest network in Canada with 145 terminals, 1100 shipping centres and agents, and more than 4,000 vehicles on the road every day. Purolator is committed to contributing to the communities it serves and where its more than 10,000 employees live, work and play.
Prior to joining Purolator, Ferguson held varied and successively senior positions in the transportation, logistics and supply chain management industry over the course of his more than 25-year career; most recently, in key organizations such as SCI Logistics and Schneider Logistics.
As the president and CEO at SCI Logistics, he led the significant expansion and growth of the organization into a leader in supply chain management, e-commerce fulfilment and ‘white glove’ transportation services. Prior to SCI, Ferguson served as vice president and general manager at Schneider Logistics based in Georgia, U.S.A. He began his career at PBB Global Logistics, where he held several senior roles and served on the executive team.
Ferguson serves on the board of directors of SCI Logistics, Innovapost, and International Warehouse Logistics Association. He is also an active member in Young Presidents’ Organization and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. He has previously held board of director positions with the Ontario Trucking Association, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters association, the national board for Boy Scouts of Canada, and the Niagara College Foundation.
Day 4: Thursday, June 22 10 a.m. ceremony:
Sean Conway, Visiting Professor, Ryerson University; Public Policy Advisor, Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP
Thursday, June 22, 3 p.m. ceremony:
Derek McNally, Executive Vice President Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive Niagara Health
Guest speaker and recipient of an Honorary Diploma in Health Studies
A registered nurse, Derek McNally is the executive vice president, Clinical Services, and chief nursing executive at Niagara Health. He provides professional leadership to nurses and regulated health professionals across the organization as well as operational leadership for the Clinical Services portfolio.
McNally has had a leadership role in health-care research, education, and administration for more than 30 years in both academic health sciences centers and large community hospitals. Prior to starting at Niagara Health in February 2014, McNally was the executive vice president, Clinical Services, at Markham Stouffville Hospital. He has held progressive leadership positions at Trillium Health Centre, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, Credit Valley Hospital, and The Hospital for Sick Children.
McNally received his diploma in Nursing from the Glasgow College of Nursing and Midwifery in Glasgow, Scotland in 1980, and earned his Master of Management in the International Masters in Health Leadership program at McGill University. He is also a member of the Canadian College of Health Leaders.
He participates actively in the education of future health-care executives in his role as a preceptor to residents of McMaster University’s Masters in Health Administration and Business Administration programs, and leads and participates in a number of regional initiatives associated with the planning of clinical services within the Hamilton, Niagara Haldimand Brant region.
He is proud to be a strong and vocal advocate for extraordinary patient care.
Day 4: Friday, June 23, 10 a.m. ceremony:
Murray Brewster, Journalist, CBC News
Guest speaker and recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award
Murray Brewster is an Ottawa-based correspondent for CBC News, where he is the senior parliamentary defence and foreign policy writer.
Previously, he was senior defence writer at The Canadian Press for more than a decade. He has filed most recently from Iraq and Ukraine, and spent 15 months in Afghanistan during the five-year Kandahar combat mission, travelling with troops and unilaterally throughout the country.
His book, The Savage War: The Untold Battles of Afghanistan, was published in 2011 by John Wiley and Sons, and he was the lead writer on the documentary Kandahar Journals, which aired on CBC Documentary Channel and was released in the United States during the fall of 2015.
Last fall, he also contributed to a book on former prime minister Stephen Harper’s policy legacy entitled The Harper Factor, published by McGill-Queen’s University Press.
Brewster has won 12 regional and national Radio and Television News
Director Awards, two Atlantic Journalism Awards, and the Ross Munro (2010) Award for war corresponding. He appeared as a finalist twice in the Michener Awards for public service in journalism (1989 and 2014), and was a finalist in the National Newspaper Awards (2010) for beat reporting.
Brewster grew up in Welland and graduated from Niagara College’s Broadcasting: Radio, TV and Film program in 1985.