Georgian College presented longtime supporter Lou Biffis with the Board of Governors’ Honorary Diploma. MaryLynn West-Moynes, Georgian College President and CEO and Board of Governors Vice Chair Don Gordon conferred the diploma on Biffis during convocation ceremonies at the Barrie Campus on Tuesday, June 19.
The Georgian College Board of Governors’ Honorary Diploma is presented to a recipient who has demonstrated excellence in their profession or industry, and who has made a major contribution to an academic program at Georgian College through a significant contribution of expertise, influence and personal time.
“Lou embodies all the criteria,” says MaryLynn. “He is a true advocate of our students and our Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation programs and we are pleased to recognize his contributions to the college and his exceptional leadership and commitment to the hospitality industry.”
Lou, president of the Nottawasaga Inn Resort and Conference Centre, and Briar Hill Homes is a true entrepreneur who grew a 40-room hotel into a world-class, 269-room resort and convention complex. He is a recipient of the region’s Industry Recognition Award from the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel & Motel Association (OHRMA). In 2006, Lou was a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year; he was one of three nominees in the hospitality and tourism category.
For over 10 years, Lou and his organization have played a principle role in the Simcoe Hospitality Awards Gala, an annual event organized by OHRMA and Georgian College Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation. The gala strengthens the profile of the hospitality community, recognizes key industry contributors and generates scholarship funds for Georgian hospitality students. The gala has raised over $60,000 in scholarships that have benefitted over 50 Georgian students.
A dedicated community builder, he and his Nottawasaga Foundation have raised over $3.9 million dollars for countless charities since 2001.
Lou is a champion for experiential learning and he routinely hires co-op students within the Nottawasaga Inn Resort and Conference Centre. Since 2011, the centre has placed more than 300 students. The Nottawasaga has also employed several Georgian graduates. Currently four graduates hold positions in supervisory or management positions within his organization.
“Offering our students meaningful, experiential learning opportunities is vital to their educational experience and future success, and we couldn’t do that without supportive employers like Lou, says MaryLynn. We are deeply appreciative that he sees the value in offering students the opportunity to learn firsthand about what goes into the daily operation of a well-respected resort and conference centre such as the Nottawasaga.”