Georgian’s Board of Governors recognizes innovators, changemakers and student champions

Georgian’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 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. 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.

– Board Chair Ali Khonsari
Board of Governors Chair Ali Khonsari, Awards of Distinction, man with beard wearing dress shirt, navy sweater, arms crossed, standing against wall
Ali Khonsari

Community Partner Award

The board recognized two organizations.

The first award 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.

Georgian College Awards of Distinction - recipient Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit - four people on stage, two holding award
Pictured left to right Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, President and CEO, Georgian College; Anita Dubeau, Chair, Board of Health, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit; Natalie Riewe, Chief Nursing Officer, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit; and Paul Larche, Past Chair, Board of Governors, Georgian College

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 Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit was recognized as well. They’ve consistently supported student learning over the years. Georgian acknowledged the notable leadership demonstrated by Dr. Gardner and his dedicated team throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Georgian College Awards of Distinction - recipient Magna International Inc., Steve Henry accepts award from president and past Board Chair
Pictured left to right: Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, President and CEO, Georgian College; Steve Henry, Director of Apprenticeship and Training, Magna International Inc.; and Paul Larche, Past Chair, Board of Governors, Georgian College

The team has been instrumental in ensuring the college’s protocols and campus environment optimizes the safety of students and employees. Their 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. Together, we’re providing innovative learning experiences and fostering future generations of highly skilled workers, leaders and compassionate citizens in Central Ontario and beyond.

– Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, Georgian’s President and CEO
A woman with long blonde hair wearing a blue suit and sitting in an orange chair.
Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes

Distinguished Alumni Award

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. Arjun has dedicated countless hours to supporting Georgian since graduating from the Mechanical Engineering Technology – Automotive Manufacturing program in 2007.

Georgian College Awards of Distinction - recipient Arjun Batra receives award from president and board chair
Arjun accepts his award

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, hired Georgian grads, and worked to make life in Canada easier for newcomers and international students.

Brad Bowden, Program Development Facilitator at All Sports All People, also received the award. Brad 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.

Brad Bowden, Paralympian, on ice playing sledge hockey, Awards of Distinction winner

Brad 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.

Employee Entrepreneurial Award

Nicole Norris, Manager of the Centre for Changemaking and Social Innovation, models the entrepreneurial and changemaking skills, attitude and mindset Georgian hopes to instil in our students. She’s an expert in human-centred design thinking and systems thinking, has completed a master’s degree in Strategic Foresight and Innovation, and leverages the knowledge and skills gained each day in their work at the college.

Nicole Norris in classroom teaching students - Awards of Distinction recipient
Nicole, centre in green jacket, photo taken pre-pandemic

Nicole has developed and implemented many initiatives that have inspired others to discover and unleash their inner changemaker, including Change the Now and Changemaker in Residency Week.

Team Award

This year’s recipient was the Orillia Truth and Reconciliation Trail Planning Committee, made of up of Megan Fenton, Angela Foster, Mercedes Jacko and Lance Triskle.

In honour of the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and in support of Georgian’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, the committee hosted a series of orange stone painting activities to bring the college together to reflect and remember the lives lost at residential schools in Canada. On Sept. 30, the stones were placed on the campus trail in Orillia, which was renamed the Truth and Reconciliation Trail.

Marilyn George, Knowledge Keeper, lays orange rock on Truth and Reconciliation Trail
Marilyn George, Knowledge Keeper, places a rock on the trail

Painted stones remain at the trailhead as an invitation to participate in lining the walking trail and engaging in reflective contemplation. Planning is also underway to transform the trail into an outdoor learning classroom that advances reconciliation through education, shared responsibility and action.

Awards of Excellence

Three Georgian employees were recognized with Awards of Excellence for their superior achievements supporting teaching and learning.

Academic: Jennifer Shelswell

Jennifer, who teaches in Early Childhood Education, Human Services and Community Safety, models changemaking in her teaching practice and embeds changemaking in her curriculum.

A smiling white female with long dark hair standing outside holding up a glass award

In collaboration with the Centre for Changemaking and Social Innovation, she built a remote experiential learning placement for Early Childhood Education students when in-person field placements were impacted by COVID-19. Students explored one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and leveraged the Change the Now platform. The model was so successful, it was presented at the Early Childhood Educators Ontario Conference last June and is likely to become a unique field placement option for future students.

Support Staff: Joanne Foxton

Joanne, International Experience Consultant, is an innovator and caring employee with an approach that engages both staff and students alike. She co-developed a new changemaking co-op and work-integrated program that enabled 1,700 students to explore the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals while meeting co-op learning outcomes for their program during the pandemic. Her expertise led to the co-creation of what would eventually become the new innovation co-op, or iCo-op.

Joanne Foxton, Board of Governors' Awards of Distinction recipient, headshot of woman with medium-length hair, warm smile, wearing black blazer and white t-shirt

iCo-op is now fully funded and in a pilot with its first cohort of eight students who are working with Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care on a digital literacy program for socially isolated seniors.

Administrative: Mac Greaves

Mac, Campus Principal, Muskoka and Midland, and Associate Dean, Apprenticeship and Skilled Trades, has been a larger-than-life ambassador of learning over his 30 years at the college. Among his many accomplishments, Mac grew the English as a Second Language program, championed the promotion of general education and communication courses, and over the past decade has become a well-recognized expert with significant influence across the province in the areas of apprenticeship and skilled trades.

Mac Greaves, man with brown hair, warm smile, headshot, wearing plaid shirt, Board of Governors' Awards of Distinction recipient

Mac has also been instrumental in building strong community and industry connections through programs like Academic and Career Preparation. Under his leadership, enrolment at the Midland and Muskoka campuses has grown in spite of declining provincial demographics and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Awards of Distinction celebrate Georgian faculty, staff, alumni and community partners who have made an outstanding contribution to the college. Nominations are due each year the second Friday in February. There are several award categories to choose from.

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