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2015 Premier's Awards for Ontario College Graduates

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2015 Premier's Awards for Ontario College Graduates

Ministry of Colleges and Universities

Each year, Ontario presents awards in six categories to acknowledge the social and economic contribution that college graduates make to the province and throughout the world. The awards were launched in 1992 to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the province's Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology. Ontario partners with Colleges Ontario to administer the awards.

Chosen from nominations submitted by Ontario's 24 colleges, the award recipients have demonstrated outstanding career success related to their college experience and have made a significant contribution to their community. 

The 2015 recipients of the Premier's Awards are:

Business - Marc Caira, Seneca College; graduated in 1977

Marc Caira is the vice-chair of Restaurant Brands International, the third-largest fast food provider in the world. Mr. Caira's career in global food services spans over 40 years, during which he led the transformation of some of the biggest brands in the global food services marketplace. He has held senior executive roles at Tim Hortons Inc, Nestle and Parmalat North America. Mr. Caira attributes much of his career success to his time at Seneca College, where he studied marketing administration while working part-time.

Community Services - Debbie Low, Durham College; graduated in 1985

As CEO of the Canadian Sport Institute of Ontario, Debbie Low has contributed greatly to the lives of athletes living with a disability. A respected leader in in the sports industry, Ms. Low has been involved in nine sets of Canada Games, maintains board and committee member positions for various not-for-profit organizations in sport and was most recently selected as an official torch bearer for the Pan Am Games. She credits the practical skills and mentorship she gained at Durham College for her success in the sports industry.

Creative Arts & Design - Jonathan Klassen, Sheridan College, graduated in 2005

Since launching his career five years ago, Jonathan Klassen has received high acclaim for his work as a children's author and illustrator. His books have been translated into 22 languages, and over a million copies have been sold worldwide. Mr. Klassen was awarded the American Caldecott Medal and the British Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration in "This is Not My Hat". His first illustrated book, "Cats' Night Out", won the Canadian Governor General's Award in 2010.

Health Sciences - Marianne Walker, Conestoga College; graduated in 1977

In leadership roles spanning more than 30 years, including her current role as president and CEO of Guelph General Hospital, Marianne Walker has worked to dramatically refocus health care on the patient. She has led several regional and province-wide initiatives that have greatly improved patient outcomes after a stroke, and her eldercare strategy is recognized as one of the best in the province. Ms. Walker is also helping to improve health care quality and patient safety in other countries, including Brazil and Ecuador as a surveyor with Accreditation Canada.

Recent Graduate - Benjamin Valliquette Kissell, George Brown College; graduated in 2013

While in college, Benjamin Kissell oversaw the construction of over 100 homes as director of the Habitat Campus Coalition. Since graduating, he has played a key role in several high-profile construction projects, including the internationally acclaimed Aga Khan museum. Mr. Valliquette Kissell works as Project Manager for the Gillam Group and serves as chairman of CIOB Novus Canada. He has received national and international recognition for his work in construction and his contributions to the community. He also manages a child literacy project in the Philippines with his wife, Naly.

Technology - Jack Collins, St. Lawrence College; graduated in 1974

As chief capital officer of Metrolinx, Jack Collins leads one of Canada's largest transit infrastructure systems. With 35 years of experience in transit construction and project management Mr. Collins' work has received acclaim in Canada and the United States, where he has implemented various large-scale transportation projects. Mr. Collins also serves on the board for the Ontario Construction Careers Alliance to support young people as they begin their careers in civil construction.

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