Niagara College kicks off Spring Convocation Ceremonies

Guest speaker Patrick Whalen addresses the crowd of new graduates from the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Sport, and the Canadian Food and Wine Institute as NC celebrates day one of Spring Convocation on June 20.

“Where are we going to work when we grow up?”

That was the question once asked by Patrick Whalen’s daughter that changed his life forever, leading him to his vocation: to create jobs for his community.

As Niagara College ushered in the first day of its 2017 Spring Convocation Ceremonies on June 20, new graduates and their guests heard inspiring words of wisdom from the “serial entrepreneur” who has launched more than 20 businesses and is currently the director of the Niagara Global Tourism Institute in Niagara Falls, NY.

Whalen, who addressed a crowd of more than 760 new graduates from the College’s School of Hospitality, Tourism and Sport, told them to simply remember “VIC,” which stands for Vocation, Innovation and Collaboration.

“The world is changing. Even industries we once thought would never change, like education and tourism will not be immune to change,” he said. “Find your passion, innovate, and involve others to find solutions.”

Whalen received an Honorary Diploma in Tourism Management during the ceremony.

College president Dan Patterson told the new graduates that their Niagara College education is a wise investment that will serve as a passport to a world of promise and possibility.

“During your time with us, you have developed skills and knowledge and real world experience that only an applied education can provide. This will set you apart and give you a distinct advantage as you begin or continue on your career path,” he said.

“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 relevant than right here in Niagara.”

This year’s convocation ceremonies have a special significance as the College celebrates its 50th anniversary. More than 4,600 students will graduate from the College, during four days of ceremonies from June 20 to June 23.

Upcoming ceremonies will include a roster of distinguished speakers:

  • Deborah Newman, distinguished visiting professor, Ryerson University, and former deputy minister, Ontario Public Service, who will receive an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies (June 21, 10 a.m.);
  • John Ferguson, CEO and president of Purolator Courier, will receive an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies (June 21, 3 p.m.);
  • Sean Conway, visiting professor, Ryerson University, former Ontario minister of education, who will receive an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies (June 22, 10 a.m.)
  • Derek McNally, executive vice president of Clinical Services, and a chief nursing executive at Niagara Health System, who will receive an Honorary Diploma in Health Studies (June 22, 3 p.m.); and
  • Murray Brewster, CBC News, senior parliamentary defence and foreign policy writer, who is originally from Welland and graduated from NC in 1985, will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award (June 23, 10 a.m.).

On Wednesday, June 21, Police Foundations – Advanced Standing student Paige MacPherson will be awarded the prestigious Governor General’s Academic Medal for achieving a 97.86% grade point average – the highest at the College. View media release here.

Niagara College’s convocation ceremonies are streamed live at:

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 Convocation media release: 50th anniversary sees record graduating class for Spring Convocation


Photo: Guest speaker Patrick Whalen (left) receives an Honorary Diploma in Tourism Management from NC president Dan Patterson.

Note to editors: Convocation takes place at the Welland Campus and free parking is available Lots A and C.


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