Owen Sound entrepreneur and community builder W. R. (Bill) Van Wyck has long sung the praises of Georgian College. Today, Georgian College, in turn praised one of its most prominent boosters.
Georgian College President and CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes presented Van Wyck, a long-time Board of Governors member and former Board Chair, with the Georgian College Board of Governors’ Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies degree during convocation ceremonies at the Owen Sound Campus.
The honorary degree is presented to a recipient who has enhanced or promoted the college’s image and reputation in Ontario or elsewhere; made a significant contribution to society; and achieved noted accomplishments in a particular field of study or applied education.
Van Wyck has accelerated the learning and success of thousands of Georgian students. He joined the college’s Board of Governors in 2008, serving for six years as an active and passionate governor, and one year as Chair.
During that time, Van Wyck was instrumental in the development of new Georgian facilities and programs; enhancing the student experience by supporting such initiatives as increasing postsecondary access through videoconferencing and strengthening the positive impact that Georgian students, alumni and staff make in his hometown of Owen Sound.
To this day, everywhere he goes, Van Wyck promotes the college. An established entrepreneur and community builder at heart, for years he has had a standing weekly reservation in the Georgian Dining Room where he brings colleagues, donors, business people and friends for lunch to teach them about the college and all it has to offer. His nickname of “Mr. Georgian” is well deserved.
Most notably, Van Wyck has helped to solidify Georgian’s position as the marine training centre of excellence in Ontario. He has been a tireless advocate of Georgian’s new Marine Emergency Duties Training and Research Centre, which will open in the fall of 2016. He built and strengthened relationships with Georgian’s marine industry partners as well as politicians at all levels of government to champion funding for the project.
Thanks in part to his leadership, $7.5 million was raised. Van Wyck’s efforts have left an indelible mark on Georgian’s marine programming and opened doors of opportunity for cadets and mariners in the Great Lakes shipping industry, said West-Moynes.
“Bill exhibits many of the same qualities we hope to instill in our students. He has an innovative mindset, is committed to the growth and development of his community, and uses his skills and expertise to contribute in whatever ways he can,” she said.
Van Wyck continues to be a familiar face at Georgian and a pillar in the Owen Sound community.
“Bill is the heart and soul of Georgian. No one is more passionate about students or the college,” said Owen Sound Campus Principal Marion Lougas.
W. R. (Bill) Van Wyck, centre, receives the Georgian College Board of Governors’ Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies degree during convocation ceremonies at the Owen Sound Campus June 16. Presenting the degree are Georgian College President and CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes, left, and Board Vice Chair Jim Bertram.