Ontario Recognizes Outstanding College Graduates

TORONTO - Ontario's Government for the People is honouring eight college graduates for the contributions they have made in their field that are helping to grow the economy and improving lives.

The annual Premier's Awards for College Graduates recognizes college graduates across seven categories who have made outstanding social and economic contributions to society.

"Ontario's colleges are producing talented graduates with the knowledge, skills and experience to support our growing economy, and our government is committed to helping skilled workers and apprentices find employment," said Premier Doug Ford. "I'm honoured to recognize just a few of these talented and innovative leaders with a Premier's Award for the impact of their work here at home and around the world."

The 2018 award recipients are:
• Don Gosen, Conestoga College, for apprenticeship
• Neil Hetherington, Seneca College, for business
• Colleen Hele-Cardinal, Sault College and Elder Little Brown Bear/Ernest Matton, Canadore College, for community services
• Helen Lebeau, Sheridan College, for creative arts and design
• Allan Cole, Humber College, for health sciences
• Jad Saliba, Mohawk College, for technology and
• Allie Libertini, Conestoga College, for success as a recent graduate.

In addition, Gail Smyth, former Executive Director of Skills Ontario, is being recognized with the Minister's Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to promoting excellence in the college system, and for her years of work encouraging students to pursue a skilled trade. Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Merrilee Fullerton was in attendance to hand out the prestigious award.

"Throughout her career, Gail Smyth has been tireless in her commitment and dedication to students," said Minister Fullerton. "She has promoted excellence in the college system and has encouraged countless students to pursue exciting careers in the skilled trades. I'm delighted with the opportunity to recognize Gail for her lifetime of inspiring leadership."

Quick Facts
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 2017-18, almost 86 per cent of Ontario college graduates were employed within six months of graduating. More than 92 per cent of employers were satisfied or very satisfied with the graduates they hired.