Premier's Awards recognize outstanding college graduates

Archived Release

Premier's Awards recognize outstanding college graduates

Ministry of Colleges and Universities

KINGSTON, ON, Feb. 23 /CNW/ - Ontario is honouring some of the highly skilled college graduates who play a vital role in improving the province's economic prosperity and quality of life, Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Mary Anne Chambers announced today, as she presented the 2003 Premier's Awards.
The Premier's Awards are presented annually to college graduates who have excelled in their careers and made a significant contribution to society. Recipients receive a bronze medal and designate a $5,000 prize to the college of their choice for student bursaries.
"Today's recipients demonstrate the full benefits of a college education and the high quality of our graduates," Chambers said. "These students are not only high achievers in their fields, they are also deeply involved in their communities."
Awards are presented each year in the following areas: business; community services; creative arts and design; health sciences; and technology. A sixth award category honours a recent college graduate. The 2003 Premier's Award recipients are:

Business Rose Adams, Georgian College
Community Services Susan Taylor Schmaltz, Algonquin College
Creative Arts & Design Beverly D. Thomson, Seneca College
Health Sciences Dr. Heather Lee Kilty, Niagara College
Recent Graduate Suzanne Marie Demars, Sheridan College
Technology Donald Jan Dekker, Northern College

Eighty-seven college graduates, a record number, were nominated for this year's awards. Award recipients and nominees will be honoured tonight at the banquet of the Association of Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology's Annual Conference.
"All the nominees have extraordinary careers and provide important role models for younger students now making choices about their future education," said Chambers. "I congratulate each of them on this honour, and also extend congratulations to the colleges for their proven track record in providing high-quality education and training that equips students to excel in our fast-changing world".

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The Premier's Awards were established in 1992 to mark the 25th anniversary of Ontario(equal sign)s community colleges. Now in their twelfth year, the awards celebrate the value of college education and the important contribution college graduates make to Ontario's economic prosperity.
Awards are presented each year in the following areas: business; community services; creative arts and design; health sciences; and, technology. A sixth award honours a recent graduate. This year, a record 87 graduates were nominated for awards by the college they attended. All 24 colleges submitted nominations.

The 2003 Premier's Award recipients are:

Rose Adams overcame a difficult childhood to get where she is today. Growing up in foster homes, the Barrie lawyer financed her college education by cleaning houses and checking coats at a local bar. In 1991, she was crowned Miss Black Ontario and entered law school as a mature student. She now runs her own family law and real estate practice. Adams has taught business courses at Georgian College and Ontario Business College and volunteers for non-profit community groups such as the Out of the Cold program. She served on the board of Big Brothers and the Simcoe Literacy Network.

Susan Taylor Schmaltz is taking early childhood education to the poorest communities of Guatemala. After an impressive career as preschool educator, nursery school founder, teacher and clown, Schmaltz left Pembroke for Guatemala, where she has opened four preschools, training local women in ECE philosophy. With her husband, she also established a program delivering lunches to street dwellers and provided villagers with looms and sewing machines to start a weaving co-operative. Schmaltz is negotiating for funding to set up a preschool for 80 children being taught by one teacher in a room with a dirt floor, as well as for beds and blankets for a homeless shelter.

Beverly Thomson is the new co-host of CTV's Canada AM. The award-winning journalist, broadcaster, event personality and documentary star has always had a deep passion for news and current events. She publicly announced her battle with breast cancer and became an official spokesperson for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. She made a documentary called Where There is No Fear that follows her diagnosis, treatment and the impact it had on her life, family and career. Thomson also devotes time to the Seneca College Broadcast Communications Advisory Board, the Hospital for Sick Children, Children's Aid, Charles H. Best Diabetes Foundation and a number of other organizations.

As well as teaching undergraduate nurses as an assistant professor at Brock University, Dr. Heather Lee Kilty is a speaker, trainer and researcher in leadership, workplace health and palliative care. She runs her own business, Kilty Resource Associates, offering counselling, training and research services. Kilty is a social justice activist who has volunteered for many causes and helped to launch several social service organizations. In addition, she has run for regional and provincial office, hosted a series of cable TV shows and published a book called Influence, Choice and Drugs. In 1986, she adopted two girls from St. Vincent.

Donald Jan Dekker's career combines technology and education. He served as the Canadian Long-term Advisor and Director in a $25-million project to develop an international technical school in Copiapo, Chile. In Africa, he taught technical courses in Zambia, set up the Department of Mines in Botswana and developed the Zimbabwe School of Mines. A teaching master at Northern College for many years, he was the college's first academic Dean of Technology. Dekker also contributed to many major developments in the north. He received the Engineering Achievement Award and the Excellence in Education Award from the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists.

A survivor of domestic abuse and a single mother of three children, Suzanne Marie Demars is using her own experience to help others. She is the founder of Not My Child, which offers support and counselling services to families dealing with child sexual abuse. Demars co-ordinates a Red Cross sports abuse prevention program for Brampton hockey coaches and volunteers as an Abuse Prevention Educator in elementary schools. The recipient of many awards, Demars gained national recognition as one of Flare magazine's 2003 Volunteer Award winners.
For further information: Media Contacts: Linda Chiarvesio, Minister's Office, (416) 326-1609; Dave Ross, Communications Branch, (416) 325-2709