Georgian College’s Board of Governors celebrated an exceptional group of employees, alumni and community partners during an award ceremony May 2. Every year the board hosts the Awards of Distinction, honouring those who’ve made an outstanding contribution to the college.
This year’s impressive group of recipients went above and beyond to inspire excellence and create meaningful learning experiences for students.
“The board of governors was impressed by and equally proud of the contributions of this year’s recipients,” said Ali Khonsari, board chair. “They achieved incredible outcomes and demonstrated notable creativity and resiliency during yet another difficult year. We’re very grateful for all they continue to do in support of Georgian, our students and the communities we serve.”
Two organizations received a Community Partner Award.
The first was presented to Magna International Inc. Magna’s partnership with the college is longstanding and multi-faceted. Since 2010, they’ve placed more than 130 Georgian co‐op students and hired over 200 graduates. Magna supports students financially through annual awards and scholarships, and ensures Georgian’s curriculum remains industry-relevant by participating on the college’s program advisory committees. In 2020, the company announced a $1-million investment in Georgian supporting applied research and the development of a new leading-edge mechatronics lab.
The second award was presented to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), which has consistently supported student learning over the years. Georgian acknowledged the notable leadership demonstrated by Dr. Charles Gardner and his dedicated team throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SMDHU team has been instrumental in ensuring the college’s protocols and campus environment optimizes the safety of students and employees. The health unit’s guidance and support were critical for Georgian to provide the in-person learning students require to graduate. The health unit was also a key partner in the delivery of Georgian’s community immunization clinics, which served more than 1,000 community members.
“We’re deeply appreciative of the ongoing support of our community partners and were pleased to recognize both Magna and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit for the countless ways they contribute to the ongoing success of both our students and the college as a whole,” said Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, Georgian’s president and CEO. “Together, we’re providing innovative learning experiences and fostering future generations of highly skilled workers, leaders and compassionate citizens in central Ontario and beyond.”
Distinguished Alumni Awards were presented to two graduates who’ve made a significant contribution in their field while serving as a college ambassador. The first was awarded to Arjun Batra, founder and CEO of Doon School.
Batra has dedicated countless hours to supporting Georgian since graduating from the mechanical engineering technology – automotive manufacturing program in 2007. He was the first international student turned Georgian alumnus to be appointed chair of the Alumni Association executive council in 2020. He has been a valued co-op employer, has hired Georgian grads, and has worked to make life in Canada easier for newcomers and international students.
Bradley Bowden, program development facilitator at All Sports All People, also received the alumni award. Bowden is a graduate of Georgian’s art and design fundamentals (2009) and graphic design (2013) programs. He’s one of a few Paralympic athletes to win gold in both the summer and winter games. A force for Team Canada in para ice hockey, he captured gold in Torino in 2006 and played wheelchair basketball in Athens in 2004, where Canada won gold.
Bowden combines his Georgian-acquired skills with his passion for supporting youth in sports, helping to make programs available for children with physical and developmental impairments. He’s received numerous accolades and gives back in many ways, sharing his experiences and inspiring others to pursue their dreams.
Four Georgian employees also received awards. Nicole Norris was recognized with the Employee Entrepreneurial Award for launching several changemaking initiatives. Joanne Foxton, Jennifer Shelswell and Mac Greaves all received Awards of Excellence for their superior achievements supporting teaching and learning.