Premier's Awards for Ontario College Graduates
Each year, Ontario presents awards in six categories to acknowledge the social and economic contribution college graduates make to the province and throughout the world.
Business - Chameli Naraine, Conestoga College; graduated in 1983
Chameli Naraine's 27-year career as a business leader working for Fortune 500 companies included her appointment as president and CEO of Symcor, one of Canada's leading financial processing services providers. She is also the founder of the Naraine Global Fund, a philanthropic organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and children around the world through the promotion of literacy, life skills and good health.
Community Services - Jo Gomes, Seneca College; graduated in 1987
Over the course of her 23-year career, Jo Gomes has held several positions in the social service field, including volunteer co-ordinator, group facilitator, crisis referral worker, health counsellor, employment counsellor and relief worker. Gomes is currently a professor with Seneca's social service worker program. She has also volunteered with various organizations, including the Centre for Housing and Accommodations, the Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression Committee for Yellow Brick House and Pride York.
Creative Arts and Design - Roger Mooking, George Brown College; graduated in 2001
With three television shows running on food networks around the world, an award-winning cookbook, and until recently, chef and co-owner of two Top 10 Toronto restaurants, Roger Mooking is one of Canada's premier chefs. After graduating from George Brown, he achieved success as a chef and co-owner of two award-winning Toronto restaurants, Kultura and Nyood. Mooking is currently focused on his TV career, as host of Everyday Exotic, Heat Seekers and Man Fire Food.
Health Sciences - Bonnie Kearns, Lambton College; graduated in 1984
After a distinguished nursing career, Bonnie Kearns has become one of Canada's leading disaster response workers. In 2011, she was awarded the Order of the Red Cross, the Canadian Red Cross' highest distinction. As part of the Red Cross Mobile Emergency Response Unit, Kearns was deployed to Haiti during a cholera outbreak in 2010. She also staffed a first aid station following 9/11 and spent six months in Afghanistan mentoring Afghan nurses and students. Kearns has also been featured in Zoomer magazine as one of Canada's top 45 over 45.
Technology - Dale George, Georgian College; graduated in 1985
From designing the "little yellow" plastic slide that can be found in backyards across North America, to developing the first high-altitude wind turbine and his aviation work with lighter-than-air airships with NASA, Dale George has remained a trailblazer in his field. He is currently chief technology officer at Buoyant Aircraft Systems International. He continues to use his aviation design expertise to develop the world's first all metal cargo buoyant aircraft capable of carrying materials and supplies to Northern Canada.
Recent Graduate - David Pratt, Niagara College; Greenhouse Technician Program; graduated in 2007
David Pratt's success as head grower at Sundrop Farms in South Australia has helped the world's deserts come alive. By using the sun's warmth to remove salt from seawater, Sundrop discovered a cost-effective method to produce food, while saving millions of litres of fresh water and millions of barrels of oil. Pratt has developed a sustainable greenhouse growing system that enables the technology to be used in coastal arid areas around the world.