Niagara College celebrates day one of Spring 2014 Convocation


Mike Watt executive vice president Walker Environmental Group (right) receives Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies from Niagara College president Dan Patterson (left).

Niagara College kicked off its first day of 2014 Spring Convocation Ceremonies on June 17 with more than 800 new graduates in the spotlight.

The morning ceremony celebrated new graduates from the College’s School of Business and Management Studies while the afternoon ceremony celebrated those from the College’s School of Hospitality and Tourism and Administrative Studies.

“Your Niagara College education is a very wise investment and it will serve as your passport to a world of promise and possibility” said College president Dan Patterson to the graduates. “We now live in a world where a postsecondary credential is a necessity. During your time with us you have developed skills and knowledge through the hands-on learning and real-world experience that only an applied education can provide.”

Executive vice president of Walker Environmental Group Inc. Mike Watt who was the convocation speaker for the morning ceremony said he was extremely optimistic for this generation of graduates and their careers. 

“You are better prepared than many generations in the past” he said.

Watt offered advice to the new graduates as many of them prepare to enter the working world from “never pass up an opportunity to turn a casual conversation into an interview” to on-the-job advice such as “a little dose of humility makes the biggest difference.” 

The afternoon ceremony’s convocation speaker Len Crispino retired president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and owner of the Foreign Affair Winery noted that in his opinion Niagara College is second to none in North America.

“This institution is not about bricks and mortar. It is about students. It is about the dreams of the students for the future and the contributions the students would like to make.”

Crispino shared with the graduates some insights and lessons he learned in his career interspersed with personal stories from his own experiences. He highlighted the value of mentors the value of dreams and aspirations as well as the importance of critics and conspirators. 

“As you move through your own careers there will be challenges and there will be mistakes and there will be critics but there will also be also conspirators. Embrace them all equally because in a unique way they will all play a critical role in shaping your future aspirations.”

Crispino also received an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies during the ceremony.

More than 3800 students will graduate this week during the college’s Spring Convocation Ceremonies which will continue until Friday June 20 with a roster of distinguished speakers including: Dr. Kevin Smith CEO Niagara Health System and president and CEO St. Joseph’s Health System (June 18 10 a.m.) Katherine Chislett commissioner Niagara Region Community Services (June 18 3 p.m.); Christina Milan vice chair Niagara Industrial Association and founder MBS Quality Consultants (June 19 10 a.m.); Michael Smith celebrity chef Food Network Host (June 19 3 p.m.); Bill Blair chief of the Toronto Police Service (June 20 10 a.m.); and Paul Lemieux host MUCH (June 20 3 p.m.).

This Spring Convocation Ceremonies will mark the first-ever classes to graduate from Sport Management (June 19 3 p.m.) Culinary Innovation and Food Technology (June 19 3 p.m.) and Game Development (June 20 3 p.m.). 

–  30  –

Media inquiries please contact:

Michael Wales

Senior Communications Officer

Cell: 111.328.4101

[email protected]


Julie Greco

Communications Specialist

Cell: 111.328.2532

[email protected]