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November 22, 2016

Province Recognizes Contributions to Social and Economic Well-Being of Communities

November 22, 2016 – Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development

Ontario is honouring six college graduates for their work to improve the social and economic well-being of those in their communities and around the world. 

Each year, Ontario recognizes outstanding college graduates in six categories who have made exceptional and lasting contributions to society, through the Premier’s Awards for College Graduates. Recognizing exceptional leadership is a key component in developing Ontario’s highly skilled workforce, which is crucial to the future success of Ontario’s economy.

The 2016 award recipients are:

  • Aylan Couchie, Georgian College, for success as a recent graduate
  • Kelly Crawford, Canadore College, for community services
  • Chris Gower, Fanshawe College, for technology
  • Dianne Martin, Georgian College, for health sciences
  • Ron Suter, Humber College, for business
  • Farzana Wahidy, Loyalist College, for creative arts and design.

In addition, Maureen Piercy, former president and CEO of Loyalist College, received a Lifetime Achievement Award for demonstrating exceptional leadership and promoting excellence in Ontario’s college system.   

Investing in an innovative college system that provides students with the skills and training they need to succeed is part of the government’s plan to create jobs, grow the economy and help people in their everyday lives.


“Ontario’s colleges have produced graduates who have gone on to achieve amazing success in their careers. Many of these graduates have created jobs, made lasting contributions in their communities and helped to attract new investments. The recipients of this year’s Premier Awards are examples of our college students’ incredible potential.”

– Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

“For more than 30 years, Maureen Piercy has been a passionate postsecondary education leader and a tireless advocate for Loyalist College’s students, staff and the entire college system. Through her vision to expand facilities at the college, she helped deliver modern equipment and training opportunities to students in southeastern Ontario, which will help them be successful in their careers.” 

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

Quick Facts

  • The awards were launched in 1992 to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Ontario’s Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology. Ontario partners with Colleges Ontario to administer the awards, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary next year.
  • Award recipients are chosen from nominations submitted by Ontario’s 24 colleges. The recipients must demonstrate outstanding career success related to their college experience and have made a significant contribution to their communities.
  • In 2015-2016, about 84 per cent of Ontario college graduates found work within six months of graduating.
  • About 220,000 students are enrolled full time at Ontario’s 24 publicly funded colleges.
  • Loyalist College has campuses in Belleville and Bancroft, with more than 65 full time programs, as well as part-time learning, distance and continuing education.

Learn More

Media Contacts

Allison Buchan-Terrell
Minister’s Office

Tanya Blazina
Communications Branch

Public Inquiries

Public Inquiries (toll-free)