Niagara Health System president inspires new Niagara College graduates

Convocation speaker Dr. Suzanne Johnston, president of the Niagara Health System, addresses the crowd at Niagara College’s fall convocation ceremony, held at the Welland Campus on Oct. 30.

“Gratitude + genius = happiness.”

President of the Niagara Health System Dr. Suzanne Johnston shared this simple but significant equation with Niagara College’s Class of 2015 as they gathered for fall convocation on Oct. 30.

As the convocation speaker and recipient of an honorary diploma in Health Sciences during the ceremony, Johnston shared how she believes everyone can become “masters of happiness” in their lives. In addition to gratitude – which she noted as an essential ingredient of true happiness – she quoted Outliers author Malcolm Gladwell by saying that those considered successful ‘geniuses’ are people who have had spent 10,000 hours or more refining their skills.

“We all have the ability through hard work, through concentrating on and practicing what we are good at, to develop our personal genius. It is within our power to do so,” she said.

Building on Aristotle’s theory that true happiness means doing what one is best suited for, Johnston said, “Each individual can have happy life by refining and working on whatever comes most naturally.”

In addition to inspiring the new graduates, Johnston also applauded their achievements. “I’m very proud of all of you for your accomplishments,” she said. “And I’m very proud of what Niagara College is accomplishing as one of Canada’s premiere and best known – I think – recognized academic institutions.”

College president Dan Patterson also addressed the graduates during the ceremony, highlighting the importance of their role in the community.
“It is you who will help drive our economy and future prosperity because it is college graduates who make our communities work, and in no place is that more evident than right here in Niagara,” said Patterson. “If you look at all of the major sectors of the economy, you will see college graduates succeeding and leading.”

Almost 800 new graduates of Niagara College received diplomas or certificates during the afternoon ceremony held at the Welland Campus. The ceremony honoured graduates from several program areas including the schools of Academic and Liberal Studies; Allied Health Studies; Business and Management Studies; Part-Time Studies; English Language Studies; Environmental and Horticultural Studies; Food and Wine Sciences; Hospitality, Tourism and Sport; Justice and Fitness Studies; Nursing and Personal Support Worker Studies; and Trades.

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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