Thousands help UOIT celebrate historic graduating class

    Degrees conferred on first-ever class of four-year undergraduate
    and graduate students; three honorary doctorates

    OSHAWA, ON, June 1 /CNW/ - Thousands of guests helped mark postsecondary
history today, as the province's first new university in 40 years, the
University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), held convocation
ceremonies for its first-ever class of four-year undergraduate and graduate
    With graduates' family members and friends, university officials, other
academic leaders, politicians and community leaders in attendance, UOIT
Chancellor Lyn McLeod conferred Bachelor's and Master's degrees upon 658
students and bestowed three honorary doctorates during two ceremonies at
Oshawa's General Motors Centre. Less than four years after UOIT began classes,
the centre was alive with excitement for the graduation of these
next-generation professionals and the promise they hold as the global leaders
of tomorrow.
    "It is with great honour that I confer degrees upon this historic class,"
said McLeod. "These students will forever hold a special place in UOIT history
as the university's pioneers. At UOIT our goal is to inspire and encourage our
students to their greatest potential and so it is with great pride that we
celebrate this important accomplishment in their lives, graduation day. Just
as these graduates grew academically and personally during their time here, so
too did UOIT. We've quickly established a tremendous reputation and our future
looks exceedingly bright."
    It was in the early 1990s when prominent Durham Region leaders began
working to realize the vision of a student-focused institution dedicated to
great teaching, groundbreaking research and the use of leading-edge learning
technology. By preparing students for critically needed, knowledge-intensive
careers, the new university aimed to ensure bright futures for its graduates
while generating economic growth for Durham Region, Northumberland County and
all of Ontario.
    Start-up funds were announced by the provincial government on May 9, 2001
and Bill 109 - the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Act -
officially passed on June 27, 2002, making UOIT a postsecondary reality for
the province of Ontario.
    The first class of 947 students began studies on September 4, 2003 on a
campus shared with Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario. In the months and years
since, UOIT has rapidly built a national reputation for its high-tech learning
environment that includes a laptop with industry-specific software for every
student, a commitment to research excellence that has resulted in millions of
dollars in grants and bursaries, and a globally experienced faculty that
collectively speak more than 20 languages and hold degrees from over 20
    "This is a historic day for our graduates, for everyone at UOIT and for
postsecondary education," said Dr. Ronald Bordessa, president of UOIT. "These
graduates possess an aptitude for critical thinking, hands-on research
experience and a high-tech skill set that is already putting them in demand by
today's leading businesses and industries. UOIT's unique mission also ensures
they are graduating as competent thinkers and doers, aware of the importance
of both of these two life disciplines."

    Today's graduates will go on to careers in the nuclear and health-care
industries, engineering, and several innovative fields including science,
education, criminology and justice, business and commerce, and information
technology security among many others. The following is a list of degrees
conferred and the number of UOIT class of 2007 graduates:

       Degree                                                    Graduates

       Bachelor of Arts (Honours)                                       91
       Bachelor of Commerce (Honours)                                  142
       Bachelor of Education                                           201
       Bachelor of Engineering                                          42
       Bachelor of Engineering and Management, Nuclear Engineering       1
       Bachelor of Engineering, Nuclear Engineering                     36
       Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Honours)                        104
       Bachelor of Science (Honours)                                    33
       Master of Information Technology Security                         8
       Total                                                           658

    In addition to conferring Master's and Bachelor's degrees, the ceremonies
also saw the conferral of three honorary degrees which recognize individuals
who have made outstanding contributions in their chosen field of academic
eminence, to greater society or in areas relevant to the mission of UOIT,
Durham Region and Northumberland County. The morning ceremony saw an honorary
Doctor of Science bestowed upon Dr. David Scott, while the afternoon ceremony
honoured Bob Baun and James O'Donnell with honorary Doctors of Laws.
    Founding director of the Institute for Integrated Energy Systems at the
University of Victoria, Dr. Scott has made numerous important contributions to
the study of hydrogen. He is the author of an influential report, Hydrogen:
National Mission for Canada, and serves as a consultant to the federal
government, major U.S. laboratories and multinational consulting firms. He is
currently vice-president for the Americas of the International Association for
Hydrogen Energy and was recognized by that body with the prestigious Jules
Verne Award in 2006.
    A National Hockey League legend, successful businessman and great
philanthropist, Baun has positively impacted countless lives throughout his
career, selflessly helping others achieve their dreams and supporting
organizations that make a difference in the community and around the world. He
has assisted many different charities over the years, notably those that
benefit individuals with disabilities. In Durham Region, residents are
particularly grateful for his many efforts to provide scholarships and
bursaries for postsecondary students.
    O'Donnell's pioneering spirit, professional achievement and deep devotion
to enriching the lives of others have made him a model and inspiration to
others. Along with founding the multibillion-dollar Mackenzie Financial
Corporation, he is currently chair of the O'Donnell Capital Group. In 2002 he
was presented with the prestigious Canadian Investment Funds Career
Achievement Award. O'Donnell has made substantial contributions to amateur
sports, children's causes and a variety of other philanthropic initiatives
throughout his career.

    About UOIT

    As an innovative university, UOIT delivers a leading-edge learning
environment that uniquely combines academic knowledge, research opportunities,
hands-on skills and a vibrant student life. UOIT's 4,300 students are taught
by professors who are experts in their fields from around the world. As
Ontario's first laptop-based university, the university offers more than 30
challenging undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of
Business and Information Technology, Criminology, Justice and Policy Studies,
Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, and Sciences. UOIT's commitment to
research excellence has resulted in millions of dollars in grants and awards,
including five Canada Research Chairs. To find out more, visit or
call 905.721.8668.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Tony Doyle or Allison Rosnak, Communications
and Marketing, (905) 721-8668 ext. 2209 or ext. 2513,,

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