First generation graduate finds success off the rink
July 19, 2021

“I remember walking into the gym at Georgian’s Barrie Campus for the first time,” recalls Rob Gignac, a student in the college’s Sport Administration program. “Growing up as a sports fan, I had always dreamed of one day walking into the gym of a college or university. It brought chills down my spine.”

Rob was elected by his student peers to the position of Vice President Health and Fitness with the Barrie Campus’s Georgian College Students’ Association (GCSA) in 2020, and credits Georgian College with providing him a life-changing experience.

“Being at Georgian has really pushed me in the direction that I needed to go in, and the opportunities that have been afforded to me through my program have far exceeded my expectations,” he says, adding, “being there for the huge moments, like watching Tyler Vanessen become the all-time leading scorer for our men’s varsity basketball team has been incredible.”

Rob also brought a passion for music and hockey to Georgian; coaching the men’s hockey team to two tournament wins, and the women’s hockey team to two tournament wins, and helping Georgian reclaim the Frost Cup from Lakehead University.

Recalling a conversation he had with a retired gentleman in a coffee shop a few years earlier, he says, “He told me to go back to school, and while I had heard it from others in the past, he reminded me that I was a different person now than before and that I had grown as a person. It was exactly what I needed to hear at that time.”

Rob graduated from Georgian this past spring, becoming the first person in his family to complete a postsecondary education. Congratulations, Rob!

This article was originally published in the spring 2021 edition of GeorgianView, the college’s alumni magazine.

Rob and Deb Decaire at the Rotary Fun Run
Rob Gignac is photographed with Georgian College Advancement Committee member and Rotary Club of Barrie Past President Deb DeCaire, while representing Team Georgian at the Rotary Club’s 2020 Wheels for Wellness event (pre-pandemic), supporting local charities and community initiatives