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Award-winning journalist Murray Brewster returns to alma mater for Spring Convocation

“I envy you. Because you are at the beginning of the adventure.”

Those were the words of award-winning journalist Murray Brewster as he addressed more than 900 new graduates from Niagara College’s schools of Media, Trades and Technology on June 23.

For Brewster, it was the first return to his alma mater since he graduated from the College’s Broadcasting: Radio, Television and Film program in 1985. Since then, the Welland native – who grew up just a few blocks away from campus – built a successful career in broadcasting and print journalism which has taken him all over the world, including 15 months in Afghanistan travelling with troops during the five-year Kandahar combat mission. That experience was the subject of his book, The Savage War: The Untold Battles of Afghanistan, (2011), and he was the lead writer on the documentary Kandahar Journals.

After more than a decade at The Canadian Press, Brewster moved on to his current position at CBC News in Ottawa last year, where he is a senior parliamentary defence and foreign policy writer. Here, he has come to appreciate the insight of his new, younger colleagues in the newsroom.

Brewster told the young graduates, as they enter their careers, not to assume that experienced, well-travelled journalists like himself have all the answers.

“There is so much I can learn from you. And there is so much you can teach me – and my generation,” he said.

Brewster encouraged the new graduates to not give into the anger, the cynicism, the intolerance and ugliness that is prevalent in the world.

“If there is one thing my generation has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt is that the greater our knowledge has become, the more our ignorance has shown itself,” he said. “Just hold onto the person you are today. Don’t let go of the optimism and passion that brought you to this moment.”

He told them that “people will judge you more for the content of your character than the content of your resume.” He advised them to never be afraid to speak their minds or stand up for what is right, oppose for the sake of opposing, or find fault in someone else’s argument without offering an alternative.

“Remember, civility is not a sign of weakness.”

His major pearl of wisdom to the graduates: “Don’t feed the trolls,” he said, referring to those who intentionally cause disruption and argument on social media.

Brewster told the young graduates that his generation is depending on them to do the right thing, fix their mistakes, and not make too many of their own. He said he looked forward to hearing their insight and seeing the world through their eyes.

“I look forward to you proving that respect for diversity is truly a strength and not a political slogan,” he said. “I look forward to you creating a world where strength is paired with wisdom.

“In other words: I look forward to you not feeding the trolls.”

Brewster received a Distinguished Alumni Award during the ceremony.

The event capped off 2017 Spring Convocation Ceremonies at Niagara College which celebrated more than 4,600 new graduates – a record number—from June 20 to 23 at the Welland Campus.

Previous ceremonies

The ceremonies kicked off on June 20 with speaker, Patrick Whalen, director of The Global Tourism Institute at Niagara University, who received an Honorary Diploma in Tourism Management. On June 21, former deputy minister and Deborah Newman, distinguished visiting professor, Ryerson University addressed graduates at the morning ceremony; and John Ferguson, CEO and president of Purolator Courier addressed graduates in the afternoon . Both of the day’s guest speakers received an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies.

On June 22, the College welcomed former Ontario minister of education Sean Conway, visiting professor at Ryerson University, who received an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies at the morning ceremony. Derek McNally, executive vice president of Clinical Services, as well as a chief nursing executive at Niagara Health System, received an honorary diploma in Health Studies at the afternoon ceremony.

Currently celebrating its 50th year as a College of Applied Arts and Technology, NC is a leader in applied education and a key contributor to the economies of Niagara and Ontario. A regional college with global reach, NC offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs.

View previous Spring Convocation releases:




Media inquiries, please contact:


Susan McConnell

Media advisor

905-641-2252 x 4330

Cell: 905-933-6259

Meet NC’s 2017 Spring Convocation speakers

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
Policy program.

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

Guest speaker and recipient of an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies
Sean Conway is currently a visiting professor at Ryerson University in Toronto.
He also serves as a public policy advisor for the national law firm Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP.
In 2015, he was appointed chair of the Premier’s Expert Panel on ] The Highly Skilled Workforce which reported to the Ontario Government in 2016. From 1975 to 2003, Conway served as a Liberal MPP for the Ottawa Valley. He was minister of education in the government of premier David Peterson (1985-1990).
Upon leaving the legislature, Conway received the Churchill Society’s Award for Excellence in the Cause of Parliamentary Democracy. Conway received his BA from Wilfrid Laurier University and his MA in history from Queen’s University.


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.


NC Broadcasting students enjoy winners’ spotlight at national conference of educators

Students from Niagara College’s Broadcasting: Radio, Television and Film program were centre-stage on May 26 at the annual Broadcast Educators Association of Canada (BEAC) awards ceremony in Toronto.

Winning in the documentary long category was 8 Weeks by students Dianne Cabansay (director), Taylor Murray, Maika Boettcher (producers); winning in the drama or comedy long category was The Debriefing by Harrison Bond (director), Krystal Kwasniak, Jumaani Davison (producers); and, winning in the radio on-air performance category was Julie Vanderlip.

BEAC honoured outstanding work by students and recent graduates, judging more than 150 entries from colleges and universities across Canada.

“Once again, the overall quality of the audio and video production continues to amaze the judges,” said judging coordinator Paul Papadopoulos.

“Making a good movie – either a documentary or drama – does not happen by accident; it’s a balance between technical skill, storytelling craft and creativity,” said NC’s professor of film production, Luke Hutton. “Winning the BEAC award for best drama and documentary is not only an honour for the students, but serves as testament that Niagara College is teaching the next generation of filmmakers the right things to help kick-start their careers.”

NC president Dan Patterson added his praise. “The awards are a testament to hard work by both the students and the faculty and staff; we are very proud of the quality of their work,” he said.

The students were pleased with BEAC’s decision to honour their work.

From 8 Weeks:

“I’m humbled to receive a national award for our documentary,” said Cabansay. “We would not have been able to do it without the help of our production crew, who put so much time and effort in. Of course, we would not have been able to do this without the story of my good friend, Steve Wang; his experience with the whole refugee claim as a gay man from China is impactful in many ways, so the crew and I are glad that his story is being recognized by others.”

“I’m thrilled about the recognition of this project which our team worked hard on,” said Murray. “I hope that the film continues its success as we continue to promote it.”

“It’s quite surreal to think that we have won a national award for our work,” said Boettcher. “However, it wasn’t difficult wanting to make Steven’s incredible story a documentary that we can all be proud of.”

From The Debriefing:

“I would like to thank the very talented cast and crew for their incredible hard work,” said Bond. “There was a great deal of dedication put towards this film.”

“Working on The Debriefing was an incredible experience to cap off my final year of film school,” said Davison. “I was able to use what I’d been taught to help create a project I can be really proud of, with a team of people I am equally proud of.”

“This award means a lot to the whole crew,” said Kwasniak. “We all worked diligently to make sure the film was a success. Thank you to everyone that helped in making this incredible film.”

From Julie Vanderlip, recipient of the Radio On-Air Performance:

“I am grateful for this opportunity, to say the least,” said Vanderlip. “I’m aware of how lucky I am for my mentors, as they are the ones who helped to shape me into who I am today.”

“The BEAC award is hopefully the first step in the students’ journeys to becoming the next generation of creative leaders in the expanding Canadian film and television industry,” added Hutton.

BEAC is dedicated to professional development of faculty and administrators in radio, television, broadcast journalism and new media programs in colleges and universities in Canada.

Currently celebrating its 50th year as a College of Applied Arts and Technology, NC is a leader in applied education and a key contributor to the economies of Niagara and Ontario. A regional college with global reach, NC offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs.


Media inquiries, please contact:

Susan McConnell
Media advisor
905-641-2252 x 4330
Cell: 905-933-6259

College operations during Mid-Term Break Feb. 27-March 3

Please note the following hours for College operations during the Mid-Term Break, Feb. 27-March 3 :

  • Reduced transit schedules will be in effect for Reading Week. Visit
  • SAC Offices will be open regular hours.
  • Rise and Shine breakfast program will not be operating during the Mid-Term Break.
  • The Core and The Shack Welland Campus will be closed for construction during the Mid-Term Break
  • The Shack NOTL Campus will be open 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • The Armoury (NOTL Campus) kitchen and bar will be open 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Cafeteria hours will be adjusted during the Mid-Term Break:
    • Welland Campus dining hall will be open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • Tim Hortons Welland Campus (Secord) will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (breakfast program open)
    • Subway Welland Campus will be open 11 a.m .to 3 p.m.
    • NOTL Campus dining hall will be closed.
    • Tim Hortons NOTL Campus will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (breakfast program all day)
    • Subway NOTL Campus will be closed
    • Niagara Falls cafeteria services will be open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • NC Libraries will be open regular hours on the weekends before, after and during the Mid-Term Break:
    Monday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
    Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Saturday and Sunday 1 5 p.m.
  • Bookstores will be open regular hours, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • In Student Services, Health Wellness and Accessibility Services will be open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (no p.m. hours).
  • Test centres will be open Monday to Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • The Centre for Student Engagement, Career Services and Academic Advising offices will be open regular hours during Reading Week, 8:30 a.m. to 4: 30 p.m.
  • NC Athletics (Welland and NOTL campuses) will be open regular hours Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fitness classes will run only at 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. each day. It will be closed Saturday and Sunday (weekends before and after).
  • NC Winery and Brewery retail stores (NOTL Campus) will be open regular hours daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Benchmark restaurant (NOTL Campus) will be closed Tuesday for a private event, and open Wednesday to Saturday for lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Friday and Saturday for dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Bench To Go (NOTL Campus) will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Niagara College Employment and Training Solutions, 1 St. Paul St., St. Catharines, will maintain regular hours.

Knights Curling captures OCAA silver

The Niagara College women’s curling program captured a silver medal at the 2017 OCAA Curling Championship, hosted by Sault College in Sault St. Marie, on Sunday, February 19.

The Knights defeated the top-seeded Fleming knights in the semi-finals by before losing a tight 6-4 battle to the Humber Hawks in the Gold Medal game.

In addition to the silver medal, St. Catharines native Emma Caldwell was named an OCAA Second Team All-Star, while head coach Jordan thin was named OCAA Curling Coach of the year. This marks the second consecutive year Thin has earned the accolade.

The second place finish gives Niagara College intercollegiate athletics its first OCAA women’s curling medal since the 2012-13 season when they captured gold. The medal also gives the Knights five OCAA medals so far in 2016-17. The Niagara Knights women’s curling team consists of Lorelle Weavers (Burlington), Renee Boyce (St. Catharines), Courtney Smith (St. Catharines), and Emma Caldwell (St. Catharines).

The four-day event saw the Knights finish round robin play with a record of 4-2. In round robin play, the Niagara side secured victories over Mohawk (6-3), Fleming (8-5), Fanshawe (5-2), and Seneca (5-3). The team was beaten by St. Clair (7-5) and Humber (7-1).

The Knights advanced the medal round as the number four seed and faced the 5-1 Fleming Knights in the semi-final. The tight battle saw the two teams tied 3-3 after five ends. The turning point proved to be the sixth frame, when the Knights stole a pair, to go up 5-3. Fleming would take two points of their own in the seventh, but in the process gave Niagara the hammer for the eighth and final end. Niagara made no mistake, scoring two points to secure the 7-5 victory while advancing to the gold medal match.

The Knights faced the Humber Hawks in the championship game. In the round robin, the Hawks cruised to a lopsided 7-1 victory, in a performance that Knights Curling head coach Jordan Thin simply chalked up to “flat game” by his team.

The gold medal match proved to be much tighter. The two teams traded single points in the early stages. Niagara led a 2-1 after three ends. With the hammer in the fourth, the Hawks managed to score the elusive first two-point end. The Knights tied the game up in the fifth, but the Hawks once again scored a deuce in the sixth end to lead 5-3.
With the Hawks doubling down on clean and defensive play, Niagara managed to score a single point in the seventh end giving the Hawks a 5-4 lead heading into the final frame. The Hawks played clean, picked up a single point, and captured the hard fought 6-4 victory.

With the silver medal performance, the Knights now advance to the CCAA National Curling Championship being hosted from March 21-24 by the University of Alberta-Augustana in Camrose, Alberta.

Niagara College achieves educational green silver star

Ontario’s colleges are playing a leading role in Canada’s efforts to tackle climate change, says a newly released report.

The report ‘Moving to Net Zero: Colleges Leading the Way’, highlights the 24 colleges’ achievements in everything from leading-edge research that promotes energy efficiency to the development of programs that prepare increasing numbers of graduates for careers in areas such as renewable energy and sustainable building construction.

“Doing our part to improve the health of the planet is a priority at Niagara College,” said president Dan Patterson. “We are firmly committed to the global effort to fight climate change.”

The report documents achievements in five areas: research, community leadership, college programs, transportation and campus upgrades. The examples in the report confirm that all 24 colleges are playing an active part in the effort to reduce the province’s carbon footprint.

Niagara College recently attained its Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) silver star. Some notable accomplishments that led to this rating, said NC’s sustainability advisor Taryn Wilkinson are:

  • Completing an inventory of over 2,500 NC academic courses to ensure that almost 10 per cent of courses offered are connected to sustainability;
  • The installation of two aquaponic systems in the NC greenhouse contributing to the food network being developed on campus;
  • Community partnerships included the General Motors Global Rivers Environmental Education Network, and with the Walker Environmental Group;
  • Utilizing the campus as a living laboratory for student learning and applied research; and,
  • Ensuring over 30 per cent of the programs and faculty involved in research include sustainability.

In addition, NC was recently presented the 2016 Most Engaged Member award from the Niagara Sustainability Initiative.

The findings in the ‘Leading the Way’ report include:

  • Throughout the province, colleges offer more than 300 programs that prepare graduates to work in sectors that directly impact emissions reductions, conservation and renewable energy.
  • In 2015-16, more than 20,000 students were enrolled in programs that prepare them for careers that address climate change. That represents an increase of more than 20 per cent over the past five years.
  • Millions of dollars have been invested in retrofit programs and other upgrades at campuses across the province. The retrofitting projects have included weatherization initiatives, energy and greenhouse gas audits, the installation of wind turbines and solar panels, and the integration of new designs that include green roofs and pollinator gardens.

“While we’re proud of our successes, we also know there is more to do,” said Wilkinson. “We will continue to work to reduce emissions and to produce the workforce that Ontario needs to make the transition to a net-zero economy.

“Having the College sector pull together on green initiatives demonstrates how we can make significant contributions to the greening of the province,” she added.


The full report is available here.



Media contact:
Susan McConnell

Media Relations, Niagara College,

905-641-2252 x 4330

Niagara College uncorks victory at the All Canadian Wine Championships

The Niagara College Teaching Winery has harvested national success with three new award-winning wines.

The Teaching Winery, located at the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, won three medals at the 36th annual All Canadian Wine Championships (ACWC). Its 2015 Balance Semi-Dry Riesling captured gold in the Riesling Off Dry category. It also won two bronze medals – for its 2015 Balance Viognier (in the Viognier category), and for its 2014 Les Marmitons Gastronomy Pinot Noir (Pinot Noir Under $25 category).

The oldest and one of the largest competitions for Canadian wineries, winning an award at the ACWC is a significant achievement, said competition director Bev Carnahan. She noted that the Pinot Noir and Riesling categories are always difficult to win and this year was no exception – with 38 entries for Pinot Noir Under $25, and 35 entries for Riesling Off Dry. Viognier is also increasingly competitive each year, she said, with 23 entries this year.

“Like skimming cream off the top, we only award medals to the very best,” said Carnahan.

The news was applauded at the NC Teaching Winery, the first and only commercial teaching winery in Canada. The 2016 ACWC awards were the first awards ever received for the three wines which are all new releases at the Teaching Winery, said winemaker Gavin Robertson. He noted that it was particularly rewarding for him to see the 2015 Balance Semi-Dry Riesling win gold.

“The grape, as it grows in Ontario particularly, is close to my heart,” said Robertson. “It’s just so versatile with food and is always vibrant and fresh and, in the right vintage, can also age well.”

The 2015 Balance Viognier was the first of its kind for the NC Teaching Winery, since the grape is uncommon in Ontario – most famously vinified in Northern Rhone region of France. The Teaching Winery experimented with the batch, fermenting some in older French oak barrels, and some in stainless steel, then aging the wine on its yeast lees for a few months to build structure and weight.

“I was happy with the final blend and it’s nice to see that it played well with the awards panel at the ACWC,” said Robertson.

The 2014 Les Marmitons Gastronomy Pinot Noir was one of two wines produced from a recent collaboration between the Teaching Winery and Les Marmitons – an international gastronomic and social club for those who share an interest in fine food, wine and the culinary arts. Along with 2014 Les Marmitons: Gastronomy Chardonnay, proceeds from sales of both wines help to support student learning.

“These wines are emblematic of the deep roots NC shares with the regional community, which is so closely tied to the agricultural products that grow so well in this part of Ontario, including grapes,” said Robertson.

Judging for the 2016 ACWC took place June 7-9 in Prince Edward County. The competition drew a record number of 1,356 entries this year from 237 wineries, meaderies and cideries. Entries were critiqued by a panel of 19 judges and 502 awards were granted – 127 from Ontario. For information visit

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Continuing Education 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, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit
Media inquiries, please contact:

Michael Wales
Senior Communications Officer
Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7773
Cell: 905.328.4101

Julie Greco
Communications Specialist
Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7368
Cell: 905.328.2532

Information for students and applicants: Potential Canada Post mail disruption

Canada Post has issued a notice that postal services may be suspended on Friday, July 8 if it is unable to reach a new contract agreement with its workers.

Students and applicants should not send documents via Canada Post for the duration of the mail service disruption.

Where possible, Niagara College can fulfill document requests electronically or by other means. In cases where there is an urgent request for a hard copy of a diploma or transcript, courier service can be arranged.

Niagara College will also work with the Ontario Colleges Application Service (OCAS) and other educational institutions to accommodate the transfer of documents during a mail service disruption.

For information on the application process, please visit

Should you have any concerns with how the potential mail disruption might affect you, please feel free to contact the appropriate service area: for any concerns with your application to Niagara College; for any concerns with OSAP, bursaries, or other financial assistance; for records and registration requests including transcripts, diplomas, or other student records.

Additional phone contact information can be found here.

NC’s top grad inspired by life experiences


Inspired by her young son and her own childhood, where she saw first-hand the power of social work, Sarah Danielle Greig graduates from Niagara College’s Social Service Worker program on June 23 at the head of the class.

With a 98.78% grade-point average, Greig is this year’s recipient of the Governor General’s Academic Medal, presented to the student with the highest overall academic average.

A Welland resident, Greig was born in Toronto and spent four years as a child living in South Africa, where her parents worked in an orphanage with an on-site hospice, sparking an interest in humanities and community development that eventually led her to pursue social service work as a career.

“My passion started in South Africa and maybe even before,” she said. “My mother worked at community development agencies and brought me to events where I would see the impact of her work. My interest started very young.”
Her own life experience has also contributed to her desire to help others. After becoming pregnant as a teen, she lived in Hannah House, a maternity home for young mothers in Niagara Falls, before returning to Brampton, ON, to complete high school. She was drawn to Niagara College by the hands-on nature of its Social Service Worker program, which she feels has prepared her well for her new career.

Over the summer she will work part-time as a crisis pregnancy options support worker at Elisha House in Welland, while preparing her young son for kindergarten in September. In the fall she will pursue a full-time position, and she is especially interested in the aboriginal community and community development.

To achieve such a high academic standing while raising a young son is a significant accomplishment, and Greig credits her professors and family for helping her to realize her goals.

“It’s such an honour and privilege to receive this award,” she said. “It’s taken a lot of hard work and dedication, but I cannot say that I did it all on my own. This accomplishment would not have been possible without the people in my life that have equipped me and assisted me along with way.”

The Governor General’s Academic Medal was established by Lord Dufferin, Canada’s third Governor General after Confederation to encourage academic excellence across the nation. They are awarded to the student graduating with the highest average from a high school, approved college or university program. Greig will receive the award during the Thursday, June 23, 3 pm ceremony.

Niagara College’s largest-ever graduating class will receive diplomas, certificates and degrees during Spring Convocation Ceremonies June 21-24 at the Welland Campus. Learn more here:


Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Continuing Education 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, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit



Media inquiries, please contact:
Michael Wales
Senior Communications Officer
Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7773
Cell: 905.328.4101
Julie Greco
Communications Specialist
Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7368
Cell: 905.328.2532