NC grad and decorated naval officer wins prestigious Premier’s Award

Royal Canadian Navy Capt. Rebecca Patterson a decorated officer who graduated from Niagara College’s Nursing program in 1987 was honoured last night with a prestigious Premier’s Award. Awarded in six categories the Premier’s Awards recognize the outstanding accomplishments of Ontario college graduates.

Patterson commands all military medical units from Northern Ontario to British Columbia and the Arctic and ensures clinical/operations support to the Navy Air Force and Army in those regions. She oversaw the care for Canadian Forces’ ill and injured during conflicts in the Persian Gulf Croatia Bosnia and Rwanda. While also supporting the Whistler Olympics she served as national senior medical planner for military combat operations in Afghanistan. She led the multinational team that designed a military medical education system for Afghanistan and spearheaded the modernization of the Physician’s Assistant program to achieve Canadian Medical Association accreditation. Patterson received the Premier’s Award in the Health Sciences category.

“Capt. Patterson is an outstanding example of the significant contributions that college graduates make – not just here in Ontario but around the world” said Niagara College president Dan Patterson. “We’re tremendously proud of Rebecca’s success.”

“I feel very honoured to have been nominated by Niagara College for the Premier’s Award and extremely humbled to have been selected from amongst such an outstanding field of fellow nominees” said Rebecca Patterson. “I have been deeply privileged to have spent my career striving to deliver the best health care possible to those Canadian men and women who willingly put themselves in harm’s way to protect Canada at home and abroad. My ability to contribute to military healthcare and the Canadian Armed Forces started with Niagara College. Niagara College provided me with the top-notch nursing skills and professional development that I needed to pursue both my personal career goals and desire to serve my country.”

Since the Premier’s Awards were launched in 1992 Patterson is the sixth winner to be named from Niagara College. Previous Premier’s Awards winners from Niagara College are:

• David Pratt (Greenhouse Technician 2007) who won the Premier’s Award in the Recent Graduate category in 2012;

• Jerry Howell (Computer Engineering Technology 1988) who won the Premier’s Award in the Technology category in 2011;

• Jordan Harris (Winery & Viticulture Technician 2004) who won the Premier’s Award in the Recent Graduate category in 2008;

• Heather Kilty (Social Welfare Worker 1969) who won the Premier’s Award in the Health Sciences category in 2003; and

• Carol Alaimo (Journalism-Print 1984) who won the Premier’s Award in the Creative Arts & Design category in 1995.

In addition to Patterson Niagara College’s 2014 Premier’s Award nominees included:

• Tara Colineri (Hotel and Restaurant Management 1999) vice president Pinewood Homes;

• Dave Maciulis (Horticulture Technician 1991) founder Natural Landscape Group;

• Wendelyn Johnson (Law and Security Administration 1986) partnerships and resource development with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada;

• Kevin Rempel (Event Management 2009) medalist at the 2014 Paralympics motivational speaker RBC Olympic Ambassador; and

• John Zambakkides (Electrical Engineering Technology 1971) President Z3 Controls Inc.

The Premier’s Awards were presented on Monday November 24 as part of the 2014 Higher Education Summit in Toronto.

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 Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences advanced technology media applied health and community safety supported by unique learning enterprises in food wine beer horticulture and esthetics.  For more information visit


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