Happy Holidays

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Holiday Greetings from Dan Patterson

Dan Patterson

As the holiday season approaches, I’d like to extend warm wishes on behalf of all of us at Niagara College, and look back on an exciting year.

2017 represented a very special milestone for NC, as we joined colleges province-wide in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Ontario’s college system. For us, it was a time to reflect on our first half-century, celebrate our growth and evolution into one of Canada’s most unique learning environments, and look ahead to a bright and promising future.

Among the highlights of the year was an opportunity to host Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who visited our Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus in late summer. The prime minister visited our Wine Visitor + Education Centre where he met students and staff and learned about the wine-making process with students and recent graduates from our wine programs.

We continue to transform our campuses through a $65 million Campus Redevelopment project aimed at modernizing our learning environments, enhancing our students’ experience and expanding our capacity for applied research.

It was a year marked by special achievements and recognition – locally, provincially, nationally and beyond. Our students distinguished themselves academically and in competitions and our faculty and staff were recognized as educators and professionals for their accomplishments. Our student athletes also continued to excel on the courts and fields of play and in the classroom.

As we pursue our strategic direction of becoming a more globally and culturally engaged college, we continued to bring the world to Niagara College, and take Niagara College to the world, through growing international enrolments, new global partnerships and initiatives, and opportunities for our students, faculty and staff to participate in study/work abroad opportunities.

As in previous years, our students contributed significantly to key agencies in Niagara via community-based learning projects that support the development of hands-on skills and knowledge while enhancing the lives of others. These projects included the annual Many Hands project, a partnership with Habitat for Humanity and others.

Through spring and fall Convocation ceremonies, more than 5,500 graduates joined our alumni community, which now stands at more than 80,000. Our graduates continue to contribute to industry, business and their communities, and we were very pleased to nominate six distinguished graduates for the prestigious Premier’s Awards in 2017.

Our reputation as a pre-emptive college continued to grow with the launch of our Commercial Cannabis Production (Graduate Certificate) program, which made headlines around the world. The program will help to meet the demand for skilled and knowledgeable workers required by licenced producers in the cannabis industry, and it follows other unique programs NC has developed to anticipate current and future needs in business and industry, including Commercial Beekeeping, Culinary Innovation and Food Technology, Renewable Energies and more.

Once again we were recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 colleges for research, which capped off an exciting year for our Research and Innovation Division, which is one of the key ways that we support economic development in Niagara and beyond.

It was also another year of progress in the area of sustainability, marked by our status as the first postsecondary institution to achieve Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary status.

Beyond our numerous successes, our reflections on 2017 would not be complete without acknowledging the challenges we have experienced this fall during the faculty strike. Moving forward in 2018 our college will discuss issues raised during labour negotiations and work together to make Niagara College even better. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to our faculty and staff for the work that has been done, over the past five weeks in particular, to support our students in their completion of their fall semester. Our unwavering, collective dedication to our students which, I believe, unifies us as a College, is among our greatest strengths.

The spirit of giving has become intricately woven into the fabric of our college community and at no time is it more prevalent than during the holiday season. Whether it’s through student projects, our fundraising campaign for the United Way, our involvement in the annual Spirit of Christmas dinner or other community events, I’m immensely proud of our efforts to contribute to Niagara and enhance the lives of those around us.

I invite you to visit our unique learning enterprises as the holiday season approaches, or even incorporating a bit of Niagara College into your holiday entertaining or gift-giving – whether it’s student-grown poinsettias, NC beer and wine, student-baked holiday treats or gift certificates for our spa – and supporting student learning at the same time.

Please accept my warmest wishes for a joyous holiday season filled with the comfort of family and friends, and a new year that brings health and happiness.

Dan Patterson signature

Dan Patterson, PhD, President

Celebrating five decades of success

People standing in the shape of the number 50 taken from a drone
Staff, students, alumni, retirees and community guests gather on the front lawn at the Welland Campus to mark Niagara College’s 50th anniversary.

Rising from its humble beginnings of 400 students to more than 10,000 strong, Niagara College had much to celebrate as it marked 50 years this fall. (Watch our 50th Anniversary Video)

On October 4, students, staff and faculty joined retirees, alumni and the community to mark the historic milestone at the Welland Campus – where the College first opened its doors in 1967.

Larry Cote, former faculty from the School of Business who taught on the very first day of classes, addressed the crowd on behalf of the College’s Retirees Association, and reflected on how much has changed.

“We started in a portable steel building in the middle of a cow pasture on a dirt road in the outskirts of Welland,” he said. “Clearly, the growth in the physical facilities and the technologies we see here today are beyond what early employees could hardly ever imagine.”

While the College has evolved in many ways, president Dan Patterson noted that it has remained steadfast in its commitment to students.

“The heart of our success is about teaching and learning, and about focusing on putting students first,” said Patterson.

Patterson also noted how the College has =been intricately woven into the fabric of the Niagara region, with economic development central to its focus, and how the College’s pre-emptive, innovative programs support all sectors of the region’s economy. He also spoke of how it has grown into a global college with an increasing international enrolment as well as new projects and partnerships around the world.

Welland mayor Frank Campion applauded the College for its vital role in the city’s economic development, anchoring its ability to attract development and industry. “As a community we should never forget the implications of having Niagara College here. It’s very transformative for us,” said Campion.

The event featured Colleges Ontario’s Amazing 50 mobile trailer which toured college campuses across the province this year, showcasing the history of Ontario colleges over the past five decades. In honour the College’s anniversary, the City of Welland officially declared the week of October 2-6 Niagara College Week. On October 3, the Niagara College flag was also raised at Niagara Region headquarters to mark the occasion.

In fall 2016, the College kicked off its anniversary year with an address change at the Welland Campus bearing the college name: 100 Niagara College Blvd. A 50-year anniversary website was unveiled, including an archive of college yearbooks, scrapbooks and newspaper clippings dating back to 1967. A 50th anniversary gala dinner, hosted by the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute, was held at the NOTL Campus in May. A special anniversary feature was also published in the 2017 edition of the College’s Encore magazine.

The City of Welland displayed a floral tribute to the College’s 50-year anniversary at the corner of Prince Charles Drive and Colbeck Drive during the summer.

Visit niagaracollege.ca/50years.

Thank you to all who have been a part of Niagara College’s 50th anniversary celebrations!

Prime Minister Trudeau visits NOTL Campus

Program graduate and student demonstrate wine making process to Prime Minister Trudeau
NC Winery and Viticulture Technician graduate Di Yao, and Winery and Viticulture Technician student Kalem Magny, demonstrate winemaking processes to prime minister Justin Trudeau and St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle.

The College’s Wine Visitor + Education Centre was in the national spotlight in August, with the arrival of a prominent visitor: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

On the morning of August 26, the prime minister toured the Teaching Winery and vineyards where he met with students, staff and recent graduates of the College’s Winery and Viticulture Technician program, and learned about the winemaking process.

President Dan Patterson, left, NC winemaker Gavin Robertson, and prime minister Justin Trudeau survey Niagara College’s teaching vineyard.
President Dan Patterson, left, NC winemaker Gavin Robertson, and prime minister Justin Trudeau survey Niagara College’s teaching vineyard.

“I’m envious that this is work for you,” the prime minister said of his surroundings in the teaching vineyard. “Who wouldn’t want their daily commute to include a vineyard like this?” As a teacher and a prime minister, Trudeau said that he’s visited postsecondary institutions across the country.

“I’m always impressed by colleges’ and universities’ innovative spirit.” Kalem Magny and Di Yao – a current student and recent graduate of the Winery and Viticulture Technician program, respectively – were among those who were excited to meet the prime minister and showcase skills they have learned at the College.

“What really makes Niagara College’s Winery and Viticulture Technician program unique is the hands-on nature of the program,” said Magny, of Fenwick. “It was great to show the Prime Minister what I’m learning and describe a key part of the winemaking process.”

“I was thrilled to meet the prime minister and demonstrate the applied learning that takes place in the Niagara College Teaching Winery,” said Yao, originally of Fuzhou Province, China.

This was the second time a sitting prime minister has visited the College – but the first at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus. Stephen Harper visited the Welland Campus in 2009.

The Wine Visitor + Education Centre has welcomed several dignitaries over the years including Prince Charles and Sophie the Countess of Wessex in 2012.

Campus Redevelopment roundup: New state-of-the-art facilities take shape

Workers pour nearly 200 tonnes (14 trucks) of concrete to create the floor of the new 6,000-square- foot gym at the Fitness Centre and Agri-food Research Complex at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus.
Workers pour nearly 200 tonnes (14 trucks) of concrete to create the floor of the new 6,000-square- foot gym at the Fitness Centre and Agri-food Research Complex at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus.

The smell of concrete is in the air as our $65-million Campus Redevelopment continues to progress.

The latter half of 2017 saw some significant milestones for major projects at both campuses. Students, faculty and staff have been exceptionally patient in their accommodation of ongoing construction, and are being rewarded with new state-of-of-the-art research facilities, gymnasiums, learning spaces and more. Here are a couple recent highlights:

This past September, the Welland Campus saw a marked decrease in bad hair days as Hairstyling students moved into their new salon in the renovated Pavilion building. The new salon features two modern-salon style labs that share a hair washing area, a third lab where students practice on mannequins, and a collaborative learning area / lounge. Relocating the program to the Welland Campus has also connected students with new clientele and brought a new learning enterprise to the campus.

Also at the Welland Campus, the brand new Green Automotive Lab is firing on all cylinders, having been completed this past summer. The Lab houses the latest in green automotive technologies, including electric vehicle charging stations, alternate fuel technology, diagnostic equipment, green technology simulators and electric and hybrid vehicles.

The Welland Campus also received a visit from Provincial Finance Minister Charles Sousa as the ribbon was cut on the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre. The Centre provides students with more than 15,000 square feet of lab space for hands-on applied learning, and will also support local manufacturers by providing access to leading-edge equipment and state-of-the-art research facilities as well as the expertise and business services of faculty and students.

In the vein of VIP visits, the College also hosted a visit from Federal Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan, who toured both campuses, speaking to faculty, staff and students and experiencing the learning enterprises, research projects, and innovative facilities that set Niagara College apart. One of those facilities that is rapidly taking shape is the 60,000-square-foot, four-storey Fitness and Agri-food Research Complex at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, funded in part by Canada’s Strategic Investment Fund. This past fall, concrete was poured to form the three floors of the building that, when finished, will include a fitness centre, studio and gymnasium, classrooms, student entrepreneurship space and more. Look for work to finish on the new complex in the summer of 2018.

In anticipation of the first batch of Artisan Distilling students arriving in Fall 2018 as part of NC’s new program, work also began on a 2,500-square-foot addition to the Wine Visitor + Education Centre that will house the program. The new building will give students access to the latest technologies available for small batch fermentation and distillation processes.

NC’s campus redevelopment project has been underway since 2015, and aims to wrap up in 2019. Work at both the Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake campuses is designed to modernize the college’s learning environments, enhance the experience we offer students and expand our capacity for applied research.

Our distinguished students...

Beekeeping student’s honey creates buzz at Royal Winter Fair

Student Angela Rosenkranz holds up a ribbon
Commercial Beekeeping student Angela Rosenkranz holds up her ribbon from the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair's Honey competition. She won second place in the Cut Comb category for honey she produced from her own apiary, Benchaven.

Angela Rosenkranz may be new to the beekeeping industry, but you wouldn’t know it from the ribbon she was awarded at this year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

“Without the NC Commercial Beekeeping program, none of this would have happened,” said Rosenkranz, who recently placed second in the Cut Comb Honey category at the Royal’s Honey and Beeswax Competition (Amateur). “A year ago, I would not have dreamed of this.”

The Beamsville resident noted that she had never worked with honey bees or bees of any kind prior to enrolling in the program, which she began in January. As a student, Rosenkranz began to keep two bee hives in her own yard to get a feel for the industry before investing in additional hives. With the encouragement of her professor Mylee Nordin, she entered two frames of her own honey into the Royal’s Amateur Honey competition this fall under the name ‘Benchaven.’ Winners were announced in late October.

In addition to Rosenkranz’s success, Niagara College placed fifth in the Royal’s professional Honey and Beeswax competition, in the Liquid Honey White Ontario and Provinces East category. The first of its kind in Eastern Canada, NC’s one-year hands-on Commercial Beekeeping Graduate Certificate program launched in January 2017. It was designed to meet the growing demand for commercial beekeepers across the country – an estimated 3,610 are needed by 2023, according to Statistics Canada.

Greenhouse Tech student sows seeds for success

Student Lorysa Crewe proudly holds up a letter notifying her that she has been selected to receive a Proven Winners Scholarship
Student Lorysa Crewe proudly holds up a letter notifying her that she has been selected to receive a Proven Winners Scholarship.

Greenhouse Technician student Lorysa Crewe has been recognized for her flourishing talent in the horticulture industry.

Crewe was selected this fall for a Proven Winners Technical or Second-Year Postsecondary Institution Scholarship. Open to applicants from across North America, the scholarship program aims to support the future of the horticulture industry and young people interested in pursuing careers in the field.

Applicants were required to be from Horticultural Science or a related field and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. They were required to submit a 750-word essay about what they wish to accomplish in horticulture as well as a reference letter from a professor.

Crewe, who is originally from Newmarket but currently resides in Niagara Falls, was selected among 60 applicants for the scholarship. She was among five students chosen for the $2,000 scholarship in her category – the only winner from Ontario.

“I really think this will help me in pursuing my career goals,” she said. “The fact that they selected my essay was super encouraging and makes be believe I will have a good future and chance at success in my chosen field.”

NC Rec Therapy student, program gain accolades from Therapeutic Recreation Ontario

Group standing holding plaque
Recreation Therapy student Megan Duquette receives the TRO’s 2017 Adrienne Gilbert Student Award of Excellence.

The College’s Recreational Therapy program and one of its students shared the limelight as winners of awards presented by Therapeutic Recreation Ontario.

The program received a 2017 Organizational Award during the TRO Conference Awards Ceremony in May, in recognition of its contributions to therapeutic recreation by promoting the field’s education and delivering innovative programming.

Megan Duquette, who is now a graduate of the program, won the TRO’s Adrienne Gilbert Student Award of Excellence for her involvement in the industry.

“I was pleasantly surprised when I won,” said Duquette, who resides in Mississauga. “I feel my involvement in the activities offered at Niagara College and my reference letter from my placement were contributing factors.”

As a student, Duquette completed her final placement at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences in the Central Recreation department. This led to her employment as a recreation therapist in their Forensic Rehabilitation Unit after graduation. She also works as a casual therapeutic recreation assistant at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

Student shows strength at Invictus Games

Jason Pulver shaking the hand of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Invictus Games
Jason Pulver meets Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Invictus Games.

Perseverance to continue playing sports won’t be prevented by an injury for Bachelor of Business Administration – Human Resources student Jason Pulver.

Pulver was selected to represent and compete for Team Canada at the 2017 Invictus Games which was held in Toronto in September.

A long-time resident of Niagara Falls, Pulver graduated from NC’s Police Foundations program in 2003. He served as a military police corporal from 2005 to 2010 at Canadian Forces Base Borden, CFB Esquimalt and CFB Kingston. An ankle injury and post-traumatic stress disorder led him to retire from the Forces. This month, he returned to Niagara College to pursue his new career aspirations in human resources.

At the Invictus Games, Pulver competed in shot put, discus and wheelchair basketball. For Pulver, the latter was reminiscent of his days playing basketball for the NC team.

“I played basketball at Niagara College when I was able-bodied. Now, not even an injury can stop me from playing the game I love; I just play in a wheelchair now,” said Pulver. “In some strange way my basketball career is coming full circle through Niagara College.”

Competing in the Games was a first for Pulver. He became inspired by the courage of the 2016 Invictus Games and decided to apply. He began training in track and field, and wheelchair basketball when he found out he was part of the team in November 2016.

Pulver was among 550 competitors from 17 nations who participated in the Toronto Invictus Games.

X marks the spot for International Commerce student

Student Nicholas Conlon and his team stand holding certificates
Nicholas Conlon (right) and his X-Culture teammates receive awards for Best X-Culture Team at a symposium in Washington D.C. at the end of October.

An NC student proved to be among the best of the best at an international business student symposium in Washington, D.C.

The X-Culture Symposium, co-organized by the Academy of International business U.S.A. Southeast Division, was held Oct. 26 to 29 at The University of the District of Columbia. Participants were selected through a competitive process, and Nicholas Conlon — a fourth-year Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (International Commerce and Global Development student at NC — was among 50 students from 21 countries chosen to take part out of 40,000 X-Culture participants.

At the symposium, Conlon and his team, which included students from Italy and Kenya, won an award for Best X-Culture Team in the Perkins International Consulting Competition. They placed first in the competition, tasked with building a consulting proposal for the company.

“I feel that this experience was a one-of-a-kind opportunity to work with a global team from vastly different cultures,” said Conlon, who is from St. Catharines.

Conlon became involved in X-Culture through his International Marketing Strategies class. Each semester, students in the class join students from around the world, working in global virtual teams of six. They spend a semester solving real-life business challenges presented by real companies. The best students are invited to participate in the annual symposium.

Conlon continues the College’s success with X-Culture. In addition to NC professor Khara who won a Best X-Culture Instructor Award in 2016, a third-year student, Gwendolyn Kitiwano (Bachelor of Business Administration – International Commerce and Global Development) won top honours from X-Culture for Best Report in 2015 as part of an international team.

Teaching Brewery taps into another win at U.S. Beer Championship

NC Brewmaster students join competition judges at the U.S. Open Beer Championship in Oxford, Mississippi
NC Brewmaster students join competition judges at the U.S. Open Beer Championship in Oxford, Mississippi.

It was a year of continued victory for staff and students at the NC Teaching Brewery who picked up a pair of medals at the 2017 U.S. Beer Championship in Oxford, Mississippi.

The Teaching Brewery earned two bronze medals at the U.S. Open in July: one for its Beer 101 Bitter (Bitter category) and another for its Beer 101 Strong. This marked two years in a row and three years out of four that Beer 101 Strong earned bronze at the U.S. Open. It was the ninth award in five years for Beer101 Bitter – created in 2012 (as Butler’s Bitter) to celebrate the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

More than 6,000 beers representing more than 100 different styles from breweries from around the world were submitted into this year’s competition to be considered by judges from England, Canada and the United States.

“The fact that brews win in multiple years shows that the students are learning how to brew consistent high quality beers,” said NC brewmaster and professor Jon Downing. “Different groups of students or classes have brewed every single one of our entries.”

“It is reassuring that the beers we are making are not only providing us with valuable knowledge and experience, but the final product is at a comparable level of quality to great craft breweries across North America and the world,” said Mike Lyons, a student in the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program.

A beer developed by NC’s Research & Innovation division was also named a winner at the competition. MADD Virgin Craft Brewed Lager (Hill Street Beverage, Canada) won gold in the non-alcoholic category.

CFWI students reach for the stars

 Student Nathaniel Labatte stands with NC president Dan Patterson and CFWI associate dean Gary Torraville
Student Nathaniel Labatte stands with NC president Dan Patterson and CFWI associate dean Gary Torraville at the Niagara Wine Festival RBC Reception. Leanne Breukelman was unable to attend the event to receive her award.

Two NC students were announced as Rising Star award winners at the Niagara Wine Festival.

Culinary Management student Leanne Breukelman, and Winery and Viticulture Technician student Nathaniel Labatte were inaugural recipients of the RBC Niagara Rising Star Bursary Awards, each receiving a $1,000 bursary to continue their education.

Labatte and Breukelman were nominated by CWFI dean Craig Youdale for the Wine and Culinary Rising Star Awards, respectively. Presented at the festival’s RBC Reception in September, the awards recognize top individuals currently pursuing their education in the wine and culinary arts. Each award acknowledges rising stars in their respective fields who embody the future of Niagara’s internationally recognized wine and culinary industries—one of the top employers in the region.

“I feel proud to be recognized for all the hard work I have put into the last year and to know that I stood out among the crowd,” Labatte said. “I am really enjoying the program and feel this award only further compounds my own desire to pursue a career in the wine industry.”

Prodigy Icewine crowned at Royal Wine Competition

Bottle of icewine
NC Teaching Winery’s 2013 Dean’s List Prodigy Icewine shines among the Royal Wine Competition’s 2017 winners.

The NC Teaching Winery’s 2013 Dean’s List Prodigy Icewine garnered a Best in Show Dessert Wine at the 95th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Wine Competition.

Highlighting the best in Ontario VQA wines, the competition was held in November at Exhibition Place in Toronto.

NC winemaker Gavin Robertson noted that while all wines at the NC Teaching Winery are made in collaboration with students, the Icewine harvest offers students a unique learning experience like no other.

“Nothing says ‘applied education’ like waking up in the middle of the night to join your classmates in a frigid, snowy vineyard, under floodlights, to pick and press grapes, and we do a great job at rousing extra faculty, administrators and friends with the students as well,” said Robertson. “We engage our wine students in the Icewine making process all the way from grape to glass.” The 2013 Dean’s List Prodigy Icewine also won a Double Gold at the 2017 All Canadian Wine Championships.

Teaching Winery wins four medals at the All Canadian Wine Championships

Bottles of wine produced by students

National success continued this summer at NC’s Teaching Winery with four new medals from the 37th annual All Canadian Wine Championships.

The College’s Teaching Winery received a double gold for its 2013 Prodigy Icewine, a gold for its 2012 Balance Brut Sparkling Wine, a silver for its 2012 Meritage, and a bronze for its 2013 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay. Known as the oldest and one of the largest wine competitions in Canada, this year’s ACWC was held June 5-8 in Prince Edward County.

NC winemaker Gavin Robertson noted that alongside the College’s winemaking team, students are exposed to different styles of winemaking.

“Medals from the ACWC represent their success and suggest a bright future for Ontario winemaking,” he said.

NC’s ‘cider house’ rules at U.S. Open Cider Championships

Winning can of Cider 101 on fireworks background

It was back-to-back gold medals for NC’s hard cider at the third annual United States Open Cider Championships.

Last month, the Teaching Winery’s Cider 101 was announced as a gold medal winner in the competition’s New World Cider category. The win follows Cider 101’s gold in the same category last year.

“This category [New World Cider] is the most popular category in the competition,” said Dow Scoggins, director of the U.S. Open Cider Championship.

The blind tasting competition drew over 200 entries from cideries and breweries across the United States and the United Kingdom.

Since the College’s award-winning Teaching Winery introduced cider two years ago, Cider 101 is proving the apple doesn’t fall from the vine after gaining several accolades at the U.S. Open as well as a bronze at the 2016 Ontario Cider Awards.

Celebrating athletic excellence

It’s been an outstanding start to the 2017-18 year for the Niagara College Knights with student-athletes excelling both in the classroom and on the field of play.


November 4 saw the Knights hand out a record 42 CCAA national Scholar Awards at the fifth annual Scholar Awards brunch held at the Holiday Inn in St. Catharines. Scholar award recipients earn the accolade by achieving honours standing at their respective institutions. All nine Knights’ teams had at least one recipient this year, and better than one in three student-athletes have earned an 80 per cent academic average or higher.


Our Knights golf team won the Division 2 gold medal at the OCAA Championships in Sault St. Marie. While our men’s and women’s soccer programs enjoyed their strongest seasons to date. Both teams qualified for the OCAA Playoffs, with the men advancing to the Bronze Medal match. Numerous student-athletes on both teams earned year-end accolades. Carlos Williams, Andrew Currie, Samuel Robson, and Jordi Amores were all named men’s soccer all-stars, with Currie picking up defensive player of the year. On the women’s side, rookie standouts Alexis Hebert and Michelle Maecker were named goalkeeper of the year and rookie of the year, respectively.

Our fall/winter teams are also off to outstanding starts. All four teams are currently ranked in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association top-10: Women’s Volleyball –third, Women’s Basketball – sixth, Men’s Basketball – sixth, Men’s Volleyball – seventh.

We are looking forward to watching our Knights compete in the second half of the season. We are also looking forward to hosting the 2018 OCAA Men’s Basketball Championship right here at the Welland Campus Athletic Centre from March 1-3.

Our distinguished faculty and staff...

Lindsay Prioriello receives the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal
Lindsay Prioriello receives the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal at the Ontario Association of Paramedics Conference in Ottawa on September 28. Lieutenant-General Richard Rohmer, on behalf of the Governor General, presented awards to Niagara EMS paramedics.

Paramedic prof awarded with Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal

Lindsay Prioriello, a professor in the Paramedic program, received a high honour at the Ontario Association of Paramedics Conference: the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal.

She received the medal for her work with Niagara Emergency Medical Services where she been employed as a paramedic for 27 years.

“I am extremely honoured and humbled to receive such recognition,” she said. “I have never expected any thanks or gratitude for doing my job, but it did feel amazing to stand among 107 fellow medics and peers from all across Ontario and be honoured.”

After graduating from NC’s Ambulance and Emergency Care Program in 1991, she began working for the Niagara Emergency Medical Services one year later. She joined NC as a part-time faculty member for the paramedic program in 2000 soon after becoming an advanced care paramedic. In 2013, Prioriello became part of the college’s full-time faculty.

“We are fortunate that Lindsay shares her exemplary knowledge, expertise and dedication with the students in the classroom every day,” said Carolyn Triemstra, dean of Community and Health Studies. “As an active advanced care paramedic with Niagara EMS, Lindsay continues to provide top quality service to the residents of Niagara, while preparing the medics of tomorrow.”

The Emergency Medical Services Exemplary Service Medal is given to paramedics who have served for the last 20 years in meritorious manner, characterized by the highest standards of good, conduct, industry and efficiency. Prioriello joins a prestigious group of 1,900 recipients.

Prioriello was among five paramedics from Niagara who were recognized with an Emergency Services Exemplary Service medal at the conference.

NC winemaker wins prestigious national scholarship

The world awaits Niagara College winemaker Gavin Robertson.

In August, the Teaching Winery’s head winemaker, vineyard coordinator, instructor and NC graduate was announced a recipient of the prestigious Nuffield Canada Scholarship. He will have the opportunity to travel to the world’s most renowned wine, seeking resolutions for the challenges facing the Canadian wine industry.

Robertson will spend 10 weeks abroad to learn about alternative practices and viticulture training programs from traditionalists in Europe as well as ‘New World’ techniques from Australia, South America, South Africa and the United States. Once his travels are complete, Robertson will submit a report on his findings which will then turned over to a committee. Once approved he will receive the title of Nuffield Scholar.

“I’m grateful for the support that I’ve received from the administration and my colleagues at the Teaching Winery, the Canadian Food and Wine Institute, Research and innovation, and NC at large, who have provided encouragement and strategic guidance in the initial stages of this project, and who understood the value of what Nuffield provides to agriculture in Canada,” he said. “My highest hope is that this spirit of collaboration, investigation and innovation will help drive a more agile, robust and progressive Canadian viticulture industry in decades to come.”

Robertson was awarded $15,000 for the scholarship. He was one of three recipients that the Nuffield Canada selects each year. Nuffield Canada is part of the Nuffield Farming Trust, an endowment program recognized worldwide and provides those working farming, food, horticultural and rural studies the opportunity to further explore their topics of interest on a grander scale.

They put the ‘NC’ in excellence

Awards of Excellence winners pose with their awards
President Dan Patterson stands with the College's 2017 Award of Excellence recipients (from left) Peter 'Dutch' VandenBerg, Monique Morin, and Joanne Bakker.

Three NC employees were honoured with 2017 Awards of Excellence in recognition of their outstanding achievements and contributions to higher learning.

Presented annually at the College’s Niagara Day event at the end of August, the awards not only celebrate achievements of faculty, support staff and administrative employees, but honour recipients with a highly coveted prize: a dedicated parking spot on campus.

This year’s honorees include: Peter ‘Dutch’ VandenBerg, coordinator and second-year Television Production professor, Broadcasting, Radio, TV and Film – School of Media (Faculty); Monique Morin, career consultant, Career Services/ Student Services (Support Staff); and Joanne Bakker, associate dean, Workforce Development (Administrative).

Congratulations to our 2017 Award of Excellence recipients!

NC International: Bringing the world to Niagara, and taking Niagara to the world

For NC’s International Division, 2017 was a year of continued growth.

This was prevalent in our increasing international enrolments, new partnerships and initiatives around the world, as well as our study/work abroad opportunities for students and staff that provide global experience, support inter-cultural competencies and create graduates who are truly ‘world ready.’

This fall, our international enrolment surpassed 3,000 students from 87 countries, who are studying in 108 programs across the College. Through customized training activities, the International division has also brought students from Denmark, South Korea, Spain, Japan, Italy and China to NC’s Canadian campuses for short-term English training and cultural immersion.

As NC’s reputation continues to grow worldwide, we continue to develop partnerships and initiatives that leverage our expertise in the development and delivery of programs. Current projects include development projects with Global Affairs Canada, and Colleges and Institutes Canada aimed at capacity building at colleges in Jamaica, Bolivia and Peru, along with major projects in Vietnam sponsored by AgriTeam Canada.

We continue to develop skills and employability among young women and men in Saudi Arabia via our operations within the Colleges of Excellence program. Through operations in Taif, Makkah, Al Ahsa and Al Majma’ah, we are currently training 2,600 students, including 1,100 men and 1,500 women.

Our Be World Ready program continues to grow and thrive, as we provide opportunities for students and staff to gain cultural experience and competency in the classroom, on campus and around the world.These activities include international field studies, international work-integrated learning experiences, summer programs, exchanges and on-campus intercultural experiences and events.

Community Care chosen as Many Hands recipient

It’s the season of giving and, in that spirit, the College’s Many Hands Project has selected Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold as its 21st annual recipient.

NC students will support Community Care with fundraising, marketing and public awareness. During the spring, Event Management students will plan, manage and host a fundraising event to help the agency.

“We’re extremely pleased to have been identified as the recipient of the Many Hands Project this year. It further solidifies the strong partnership the agency has with Niagara College,” said Community Care executive director Betty-Lou Souter. “We look forward to working with the College on this exciting venture. We are confident it will make a difference to the people served by the agency.”

Agencies that benefit from the Many Hands Project, selected by the project committee, must be not-for-profit, provide community-based services in Niagara, and must be willing to commit agencies resources to the project.

Celebrating success: Fall Convocation

Graduands assemble before convocation ceremony
They enter the gym as students, but will exit as graduates.

Student success was in the spotlight as the College celebrated Fall Convocation in October.

Hundreds of the 967 graduates from 39 programs crossed the stage to receive their degrees, diplomas or certificates at the ceremony, held at the Welland Campus.

The College conferred an honorary diploma in Health Studies to prominent Niagara medical leader, Dr. Amanda Bell, who delivered the convocation address. Dr. Bell encouraged the new graduates to take risks, steer their career in new directions and help others along the way.

College president Dan Patterson spoke of the vital role the new college graduates will have in their chosen fields and in the world around them, noting the many industry professionals, both here in Niagara and far beyond, who got their start at NC.

The new fall graduates joined more than 4,600 who graduated from the College’s Spring Convocation ceremonies in June as part of NC’s Class of 2017 and an alumni community of more than 80,000 strong.

Meet NC’s 2017 Premier’s Award nominees

Six distinguished members of our alumni community were selected as NC nominees for the 2017 Premier’s Awards.

Presented annually by Colleges Ontario, the prestigious awards are given to Ontario college graduates who have made outstanding contributions to their community and industry. The Premier’s Awards were launched in 1992 and are presented in six different categories: Business, Creative Arts and Design, Community Services, Health, Recent Graduate, and Technology.

This year’s NC nominees included:


Rob Beyer

Rob Beyer, Executive chairman of Villgro Kenya

(Class of 1984, Computer Programmer)

Creative Arts & Design

David McIlvride

David McIlvride, Gemini award-winning director

(Class of 1978, Broadcasting: Radio, TV and Film)

Community Services

Rose DiMarco

Rose DiMarco, Chief superintendent and regional commander of the Central Region OPP

(Class of 1985, Law and Security Administration)


Derek Christensen

Derek Christensen, Regional educator of mental health and addiction services at Niagara Health

(Class of 1991, Nursing)

Recent Graduate

Ben Laurence

Ben Laurence, Structural technical designer for Blue Origin

(Class of 2013, Mechanical Engineering Technology)


Blake Merritt

Blake Merritt, Vice-president of IT infrastructure and cloud computing at Meridian Credit Union

(Class of 1985, Computer Programming)

“There is no sector of our economy or part of our community that isn’t touched by the outstanding contributions of college graduates,” said NC president Dan Patterson. “We’re extremely proud of the accomplishments of our grads, and are pleased to nominate these distinguished Niagara College alumni for provincial recognition.”

The nominees were celebrated and winners were announced at a gala event in November, which was part of Colleges Ontario’s Higher Education Summit in Toronto.

Past Premier’s Award winners from Niagara College have included: Royal Canadian Navy Capt. Rebecca Patterson (Nursing, 1987); David Pratt (Greenhouse Technician, 2007); Jerry Howell (Computer Engineering Technology, 1988); Jordan Harris (Winery and Viticulture Technician, 2004); Heather Kilty (Social Welfare Worker, 1969); and Carol Alaimo (Journalism-Print, 1984).

NC unveils Canada’s first Commercial Cannabis Production program for 2018

Horticulture students in the greenhouse
NC’s Commercial Cannabis Production graduate certificate program will produce graduates who are skilled and knowledgeable greenhouse and controlled environment technicians who are also trained in all of the procedures, requirements, regulations and standards of the commercial cannabis industry. Shown in the NC Greenhouse are Al Unwin, associate dean, School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies, and Denzil Rose, a Greenhouse Technician student.

The trailblazing NC made headlines around the world in September with the announcement of a new program that would become another Canadian first: its Commercial Cannabis Production program.

Launched in response to a need for skilled graduates who are knowledgeable in the complex regulations and requirements of an emerging industry, the program will produce graduates to work in the licensed production of cannabis, which is used as a therapeutic drug (Marijuana); fiber (Hemp) and as a source for seed oil (Hempseed).

“Driven by legislative changes in Canada and abroad, there is a growing labour market need, and education will be a key component of the success of this emerging industry,” said Al Unwin, associate dean, School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies. “This program will produce graduates who are skilled and knowledgeable greenhouse and controlled environment technicians who are also trained in all of the procedures, requirements, regulations and standards for this industry.”

“There is a tremendous demand for knowledgeable, skilled workers in this highly technical industry,” said Roger Ferrreira, CEO of Beleave, Inc., in Hamilton. “Niagara College having the vision to fill this knowledge gap is commendable.”

The one-year graduate certificate program to be launched fall 2018 will be located at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, which is home to the College’s other agri-business programs, facilities and research projects.

The announcement of the first postsecondary Commercial Cannabis Production program in Canada received nation-wide and international media attention. Between September 19 – when the new program was announced – and the morning of September 20, the College was featured in more than 130 international articles, and more than 125 national articles. The College’s news also took social media by storm; it was among the top trending topics on Twitter on Sept. 19.

NC earns top-10 spot among research colleges in Canada

Student research assistant Brock Husak uses 3D scanning technology
Student research assistant Brock Husak uses 3D scanning technology as part of an industry partner project, in the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre

For the third year in a row, Niagara College has earned its title as one of the best research colleges in the country, according to a national study released this fall.

Canada top 50 research colleges logo

The College ranked seventh in Re$earch Infosource’s Canada’s Top 50 Research Colleges report. NC once again placed highly in the categories of the number of partnerships, as well as the number of projects completed. In both cases, we ranked third in the country on each list, with 109 partnerships, and 118 projects completed. As we help local companies innovate, we are enhancing our students’ education by providing valuable real-world research opportunities.

This top 10 ranking caps off an exciting year for the College’s Research & Innovation division. The ribbon was cut on the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, a 15,000-square-foot facility at the Welland Campus that includes specialized labs and office space for staff, researchers and student scientists. An exciting addition to the Centre was a new Fortus 900mc 3D printer, the first of its kind in Canada.

At the Agriculture and Environmental Technologies Innovation Centre, NC’s Mike Duncan, PhD, was awarded a second five-year mandate as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Industrial Research Chair for Colleges (IRCC) in Precision Agriculture — a $1-million grant. Duncan is recognized as a world leader in precision agriculture, and leads a team within Research & Innovation division composed of computer programing and GIS students, researchers and recent graduates.

Agriculture as a tech industry has been an increasing focus at the College. We received a $700,000 grant from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) – Colleges Applied Research & Development Fund (CARDF) to advance current projects in agriculture technologies. To read about the other exciting things happening at Research & Innovation at Niagara College, visit ncinnovation.ca

Audubon International ‘green’ lights certification for NOTL Campus

Niagara College achieved another national first this fall, becoming the first postsecondary institution in Canada to be recognized as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

Audubon International Certified

The Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus acquired the designation through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, an Audubon International program. It is the eighth property in Canada and the 37th in the world to be certified in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.

The College was commended for projects it has undertaken to enhance its wildlife habitat, achieve sensitive maintenance practices and inform people about its commitment to environmental quality. To reach certification, a property must demonstrate a high degree of environmental quality in a number of areas including: environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, water quality and conservation, resource management, and outreach and education.

The final step for certification was a visit by Jessica Latus, director of Sustainable Community Programs at Audubon International, who was given a tour of the campus earlier this fall. Latus praised the work of faculty and students in creating an environment that is both conducive to learning while simultaneously offering habitat to wildlife.