Premier's Awards recognize exceptional college graduates for their contribution to Ontario's Social and Economic Growth

Archived Release

Premier's Awards recognize exceptional college graduates for their contribution to Ontario's Social and Economic Growth

Ministry of Colleges and Universities

TORONTO, Feb. 19 /CNW/ - The Ontario Government will recognize excellence in college graduates by presenting the 2000 Premier's Awards, Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Dianne Cunningham announced today.
The Premier's Awards are presented to college graduates who have excelled in their careers and made a significant contribution to society.
"Today's recipients demonstrate the exceptional quality of students that are graduating from our colleges," Cunningham said. "These students are not only high achievers in their fields, they are also deeply involved in their communities."

Five awards are presented each year - one in each of: creative arts and design; community services; business; health sciences; and, technology. The 2000 winners are:

Applied Arts: Creative Arts
Paul Rowan, George Brown College

Applied Arts: Community Services
Betty Bedard-Bidwell, Fanshawe College

Business
Paul Vessey, Durham College

Health Sciences
Hazel McDonald, St. Clair College

Technology
Kirk Mandy, Algonquin College

Seventy-seven college graduates were nominated for this year's awards. Award recipients and nominees will be honoured tonight at the annual banquet of the Association of Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology's Annual Conference.
"All of the college graduates nominated have extraordinary careers and provide important role models for younger students now making choices about their future education," said Cunningham. "I congratulate each of them on this honour and also extend congratulations to the colleges for their track record in providing education and training that equips students to excel in our fast- changing world."
The Premier's Awards recognize the important economic and social contribution of college graduates to Ontario. Recipients receive a bronze medal and designate a $5000 prize to the college of their choice for student bursaries.
This year, 145,000 students are enrolled in Ontario's community college system. More than 650,000 Ontarians have graduated from college since the system was created almost 35 years ago.
The 2000 Premier's Awards will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on February 19, 2001 at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto.

Backgrounder

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2000 PREMIER'S AWARDS RECIPIENTS

The Premier's Awards are presented to college graduates who have excelled in their careers and made a significant contribution to society. Five awards are presented each year - one in each of: applied arts: creative arts and design; applied arts: community services; business; health sciences; and, technology. The 2000 winners are:

Applied Arts: Creative Arts
Paul Rowan: George Brown College

Paul Rowan is co-owner, vice-president and creative director of Umbra Ltd., an innovative housewares company with an international reputation for outstanding design, function and affordability. In 2000, Umbra received an Honourable Mention from the City of Toronto Architecture and Urban Design for its world headquarters and in 1999 the Silver Award from the Industrial Design Excellence Awards for its Oh! Chair. Paul's mesh garbage can design is part of the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Umbra is also committed to community causes, giving donations to causes such as breast cancer research, seriously ill children's wishes and the prevention of violence against women and children.

Applied Arts: Community Services
Betty Bedard-Bidwell: Fanshawe College

Betty Bedard-Bidwell is a well-known practitioner and trainer of art and play therapy who works with children and youth who have been victims of abuse or who face physical and developmental challenges. Betty founded Betamarsh Inc., an integrated series of programs and residences to meet the needs of these clients. She spearheaded the writing of Hand in Hand: A Practical Application of Art and Play Therapy, and is working on two more books. For over 15 years Betty has supported the Huron County Child Abuse and Prevention Committee. What she describes as her best piece of work is a program for adolescent girls aged 12 to 15 called Declaration of Pride, a practical way to raise self-esteem and awareness among girls. Betty has earned numerous accolades for her community service, including the Monica Herbert Award from the Canadian Play Therapy Association.

Business
Paul Vessey: Durham College

Paul Vessey is Chief Operating Officer at Visa USA. Based in San Francisco, California, he is responsible for the general management of marketing, product development, emerging technologies, risk, systems and operations. Starting at the Toronto Dominion Bank in 1974 in the advanced management training program, Paul progressed through the ranks at a number of elite financial institutions, including American Express Canada and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC). In his most senior role at CIBC, Paul served as Senior Executive VP for card products, payment and insurance. He completed the Graduate Advance Management Program through Harvard University's Graduate School of Management in 1999. Paul has held key posts on the boards of various financial companies and most recently, he joined the board of Prologic Corporation, a global provider of financial services software.

Health Sciences
Hazel McDonald: St. Clair College

Hazel McDonald is a Certified Emergency Room Nurse with the Chatham Health Alliance at the Public General Hospital in Chatham Kent, Ontario. She is also the founder of Community Partners in Progress for International Development, a non-profit organization with a mandate to relieve poverty by assisting deprived populations in Canada and abroad. Community Partners focuses on health, education and sustainable livelihood. Hazel is the executive director and has traveled for the last 13 years, at her own expense, to monitor and support projects in Latin America and Africa. She also works to engage local youth in global and community development issues through high school peace and justice programs, and involves them in projects in Honduras and at home. Hazel was recognized by both the Ontario and Honduras governments for her work in Honduras after Hurricane Mitch. She also received the 1994 Service to Mankind Award from the Tartan Sertoma Club and the YMCA Peace and Humanitarian Award.

Technology
Kirk Mandy: Algonquin College

Kirk Mandy is President and Chief Executive Officer of Mitel Corporation, a telecommunications product designer, manufacturer and marketer, and one of Canada's leading merchant semiconductor operations. Committed to the advancement of technology, Kirk shares his expertise with a number of national and regional boards, including the Strategic Microelectronics Corporation, Canadian Advanced Technology Association (CATA) and the Ottawa Partnership (TOP). In 1997, he received the CATA Alliance Private Sector Leadership Award in recognition of outstanding technological innovation and corporate leadership that has significantly expanded the frontiers of Canada's advanced technology industry. Kirk credits his Algonquin training for offering him an opportunity to break into the high-technology industry.

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For more information visit www.edu.gov.on.ca
For further information: Dave Ross, Communications Branch (416) 325-2709; Kerry Kincaid, Minister's Office (416) 326-1625