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Ontario Honours Outstanding College Graduates

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Ontario Honours Outstanding College Graduates

Province Celebrates 50th Anniversary of College System

Ministry of Colleges and Universities

Ontario is honouring six college graduates for the significant contributions they've made close to home and around the world.

The Premier's Awards for College Graduates recognizes college graduates across six categories who have made significant social and economic contributions to society. On the 25th anniversary of these awards, it is more important than ever to recognize the talented and innovative leaders who are graduating from Ontario's colleges, and whose outstanding contributions are supporting the economy and improving lives.

The 2017 award recipients are:

  • Andrew Bowerbank, Humber College, for technology
  • Natasha Falle, George Brown College, for community services
  • Stephanie Gorin, Sheridan College, for creative arts and design
  • Patrick Hickey, St. Lawrence College, for health sciences
  • Brent Lessard, Durham College, for success as a recent graduate
  • Duane Parnham, Fleming College, for business

In addition, Cathie Auger, former Vice-President of Student Services for Fanshawe College, is being recognized with the Minister's Lifetime Achievement Award for her significant contributions to the college, and for her tireless dedication to the success and well-being of students.

Supporting a college system that prepares students to succeed in today's highly skilled workforce is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

Quick Facts

  • This year, the province is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Ontario’s Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology.
  • The Premier’s Awards for College Graduates were launched in 1992 to mark the 25th anniversary of Ontario’s college system. The province partners with Colleges Ontario to administer the awards.
  • Award recipients are chosen from nominations submitted by Ontario’s 24 public colleges. The recipients must demonstrate outstanding achievement related to their college experience and have made a significant contribution to their communities.
  • In 2016-2017, 83 per cent of Ontario college graduates were employed within six months of graduating.
  • In the 50 years since its creation, Ontario’s college system has provided high-quality education and training to nearly two million students.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ontario’s colleges, it is wonderful to see how many graduates have gone on to amazing success in their careers. Our colleges offer students the real-world skills, experience and role models they need to excel — role models like the Premier’s Award winners. I want to congratulate the winners for their outstanding contributions to Ontario’s economic growth and vitality — and to improving people’s lives here and around the world.”

Kathleen Wynne

Premier of Ontario

“For nearly four decades, Cathie Auger has exemplified the best that Ontario’s college system has to offer. As the driving force behind many high-profile initiatives at Fanshawe College and across the entire college sector, Cathie’s unwavering focus on student wellness has helped prepare countless college students for success in the classroom and beyond.”

Deb Matthews

Deputy Premier, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Digital Government

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