Community and health take centre stage on day three of Spring Convocation

Jane Rufrano, CEO/CFO of Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre, receives an honorary diploma in Health Studies from NC president Dan Patterson.

Graduating students who will soon face the challenge of taking healthcare to the next level gained advice from one of Niagara’s most prominent healthcare leaders, Jane Rufrano.

Rufrano, who is the CEO/CFO of Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre in St. Catharines, delivered the convocation address to the College’s School of Allied Health Studies, and School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker Studies on the morning of June 23. Reflecting on the changes she has witnessed during her four decades in the field – from a time when they did not use computers, to the present day when iPads are common at a patients’ bedsides, she noted that upcoming changes during the next five years will be ‘fast and furious.”

“One small change in technology can have a huge impact on the patient experience,” she said. “Get ahead of the competition by figuring out what the healthcare landscape will look like in five to 10 years. Don’t look at other experts or trends to see where you should be – look to where those experts and trends need to be in the future.”

When it comes to patient care, Rufrano encouraged the new graduates to combine innovation with compassion and heart. “Sometimes that comforting hand on the shoulder, holding a patient’s hand, or just listening to the patient is the most important part of the treatment and what gives us the courage to carry on,” she said. “Don’t lose that human touch.”

Rufrano received an honorary diploma in Health Studies.

Madabhee podium

Patrick Wedaseh Madahbee, Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation delivers the convocation address at the afternoon ceremony.

Convocation continued at an afternoon ceremony for the School of Community Services where guest speaker Patrick Wedaseh Madahbee, Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation, received an honorary diploma in Community Studies. Madahbee, who has dedicated his life to the service of Indigenous communities, spoke about the importance of community service.

“You will likely be part of many communities in your lifetime. It is important that you try to contribute to make lives better in whatever field you have chosen,” he said.

Madahbee also spoke of the importance of working to effect positive change for Ontario’s Indigenous communities, specifically. “There is a great deal of need in our communities and a great many inequities which need to be righted,” he said. “The first step, as you have found out here, is education.”

Sarah Greig podium

The Governor General’s Academic Medal recipient Sarah Greig speaks at her convocation ceremony.


During the ceremony, Social Service Worker graduate Sarah Greig was honoured with the prestigious Governor General’s Academic Medal for achieving the highest grade-point average at the College – 98.78%. The Welland resident, who became a mother as a teenager, noted that her life experiences contributed to her desire to help others.

“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 two ceremonies on June 23 celebrated a combined total of 1,188 new graduates, marking day three of NC’s Spring Convocation Ceremonies.


Spring Convocation 2016

From June 21 to 24, more than 4,570 students will graduate at NC Spring Convocation Ceremonies.

Convocation kicked off at NC on June 21 with guest speaker David Penny, who received a Distinguished Alumni Award. On June 22, Ontario Provincial Police superintendent Mike McDonell received an honorary diploma in Justice Studies, and designer/entrepreneur Shannon Passero received an honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies.

Convocation will conclude on the morning of June 24 with Paul Charette, chair of the Board of Directors (and former CEO) at Bird Construction, who will receive an honorary diploma in Technology Studies (10 a.m.).


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About NC

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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