Ontario Government Recognizes Exceptional Achievements Of College Graduates

    Six Ontarians To Receive Honorary Awards

    TORONTO, Feb. 8 /CNW/ - Six college graduates are being honoured with a
Premier's Award for exceptional achievement and contributions to their
communities, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities John Milloy
announced today.
    "Our government knows that our future economic prosperity rests with
today's graduates," said Milloy. "This year's recipients show the depth of
knowledge and talent that our colleges are developing in Ontario's students.
We can all be proud of these individuals - I know their contributions to our
province will make a difference for generations to come."

    Each year, awards are presented in six categories. The 2007 Premier's
Award recipients are:

    -   Business                   Elio Pacheco, George Brown College
    -   Community Services         Kay Blair, Humber College
    -   Creative Arts & Design     Bonnie Stern, George Brown College
    -   Health Sciences            Abdul Abdulrahman, Algonquin College
    -   Technology                 Peter Rowntree, Canadore College
    -   Recent Graduate            Christopher Rowland, Centennial College

    Ninety college graduates were nominated for the 2007 Premier's Award. 
Recipients and nominees will be honoured on February 11, 2008 at the annual
Colleges Ontario Conference in London, Ontario.
    "It is extremely encouraging to see such outstanding individuals who have
been educated in our college system," said Milloy. "Our government takes pride
in our commitment to improve Ontario's college system. By giving our students
the education and skills they need to thrive, we are helping to ensure our
province's future prosperity."

    Created in 1992 to mark the 25th anniversary of Ontario's Colleges of
Applied Arts and Technology, the Premier's Awards are presented annually to
college graduates who have excelled in their careers and made a significant
contribution to society. Recipients receive a bronze medal and $5,000 to
designate to their college for student bursaries.

    Disponible en français




    Elio Pacheco, George Brown College
    When Elio Pacheco was promoted to head Evian North America in January
2007, his mandate was to turn around the sagging fortunes of the world-famous
brand. After only a few months, Canadian sales grew six per cent and U.S.
sales were predicted to soon follow. In addition, Pacheco launched an
ambitious marketing strategy, focusing on water's unprocessed purity, and
communicating the company's long-standing environmental responsibility. With
people with MBAs and business degrees working for him, Pacheco has risen to
the top with a college diploma. "People who work for me are sometimes
surprised to learn of my educational background," he says. But Pacheco
believes his college training gives him educational skills he sees lacking in

    Community Services
    Kay Blair, Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
    Kay Blair heads of one of Toronto's leading non-profit community agencies
helping people who need it most. Blair took the reins of the Community
MicroSkills Development Centre in 1988 and has led it through times of
enormous challenges and growth. She is a champion of services for women,
immigrants and young people, and under her leadership MicroSkills helps them
get shelter, training and jobs. Blair consults for governments, educational
institutions and social agencies about racism and violence against women. She
graduated from the two-year Community Worker Program at Humber College in 1985
and is currently a doctoral candidate at OISE.

    Creative Arts and Design
    Bonnie Stern, George Brown College
    For almost 35 years, Bonnie Stern has been helping make cooking fun for
Canadians through her best selling cookbooks, national television shows and
weekly newspaper columns. One of Canada's best-known food experts, she is the
owner of the Bonnie Stern School of Cooking and Cookware Shop in Toronto,
which has earned an international reputation for excellence and attracted many
of the world's best chefs as guests. Stern, who has a degree in English
Literature, originally planned to become a librarian before she enrolled at
George Brown. She also channels her love of food and cooking into activities
that benefit the community, including raising funds for the Heart and Stroke
Foundation and the Hospital for Sick Children.

    Health Sciences
    Abdul Abdulrahman, Algonquin College
    Abdul Abdulrahman is an active advocate for the integration of
foreign-trained medical professionals into Canada's healthcare system. As an
immigrant to Canada almost a decade ago, Abdulrahman's Somalian medical
credentials were not recognized. To qualify for work in healthcare,
Abdulrahman enrolled in the Respiratory Therapy Program at Algonquin College.
He is now in his second year as a resident anaesthesiologist at the University
of Toronto after competing against 1,600 other foreign-trained physicians for
a spot. He was a driving force behind the establishment of the ACE IT program
at Algonquin, which helps other foreign-trained healthcare professionals
transition to the workforce.

    Peter Rowntree, Canadore College
    The safety of air passengers is the top priority for Peter Rowntree.
Since joining the Transportation Safety Board in 1997, Peter has been involved
in the investigation of Canada's major air disasters, the most highly
publicized of which was the 1998 Swissair 111 tragedy off the coast of Peggy's
Cove, Nova Scotia that claimed 229 lives. Peter volunteered to coordinate and
assist in the investigation, hailed as the most complex in Canadian aviation
history, and selflessly spent the following two years in recovery efforts,
away from his wife and family. Peter is also an active community volunteer,
and has donated his time and services to the Canadian Armed Forces Primary
Reserve, the Iqaluit Volunteer Fire Department, Community Living
Newmarket/Aurora District, and the National Ovarian Cancer Association.

    Recent Graduate
    Christopher Rowland, Centennial College
    Christopher Rowland is the founder and CEO of Equitrans Global Logistics,
a Toronto-based freight forwarding company that operates across North America
and beyond. It is ranked 10th in Profit magazine's top emerging growth
companies in Canada for 2007, having experienced revenue growth of 907 per
cent in the three short years since inception. Chris credits his success to
Centennial College's Business Administration program, which he took
concurrently as he started his business venture. Among his proud
accomplishments, Equitrans was called upon by the U.S. government to help
distribute temporary housing throughout the Gulf region after the devastation
of hurricane Katrina.

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Annette Phillips, Minister's Office, (416)
473-4649; Kevin Dove, Communications Branch, (416) 325-2746; Public Inquiries:
(416) 325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514, TTY: 1-800-263-2892

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