Building Futures Campaign surpasses $16.5-million goal

A  campaign responsible for the largest campus transformation in Niagara College history was capped off with a successful end to thunderous applause as the amount of funds raised was revealed.

On April 17, 2012, The Niagara College Foundation announced  that it has successfully completed its Building Futures Campaign, exceeding the original $16.5-million target by more than $1-million.

Launched in 2008, the campaign has raised $17.7-million for new facilities, equipment and learning resources, and scholarships and bursaries. With matching funds from the provincial government’s former Ontario Trust for Student Support program, the campaign’s total impact on student learning and success is $21-million.

Niagara College students pledged $10 million to the campaign – a commitment that will be shared by thousands of students over 15 years. The student pledge supported the construction of the Athletics Centre and Student Centre at the Welland Campus.

The Building Futures campaign received outstanding support from Niagara College staff, who contributed $270,000 to the campaign – almost tripling the campaign’s goal of $100,000 in staff contributions.

“We’re overwhelmed by the outstanding support we’ve received from our students, staff and faculty, and community donors,” said Acting President Steve Hudson. “The money raised through the Building Futures Campaign not only supports the largest capital expansion in our College’s history, but will also contribute to the ongoing success of our students, through scholarships and bursaries, and the purchase of learning equipment and learning resources.”

The facilities portion of the Building Futures Campaign supported the construction of six new buildings at the Welland Campus, as well as the construction of the Wine Visitor + Education Centre (opened in 2009), the Niagara College Teaching Brewery (opened in spring 2011) and expanded culinary facilities (opened in fall 2011) at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus.

At Welland, the master plan project included the construction of an Athletic Centre, Student Centre, Learning Commons, Academic Wing, Applied Health Institute and an expansion of the Rankin Technology Centre, all of which were opened in spring 2011. Including the student pledge, the Building Futures Campaign raised $13.2 million for the construction portion of the master plan.

The campus redevelopment was designed to increase capacity in programs that serve key industries in Niagara, healthcare, skilled trades, technology, winery and viticulture and hospitality and tourism, while providing much-needed improvements to aging facilities.

The remaining $4.5-million is funding the purchase of new equipment and learning resources ($1.2-million) and scholarships and bursaries ($3.3-million).

“Those who supported the Building Futures Campaign have invested in Niagara College, our students and the future prosperity of the Niagara region,” said Sean Kennedy, CEO of the Niagara College Foundation and NC’s Acting Vice President Academic. “The new buildings and equipment enhance our ability to produce the highly-skilled workers who drive our economy. The scholarship and bursary portion of the campaign will provide educational opportunities to students who may otherwise be unable to pursue and achieve their goals.”

The Building Futures Campaign was led by Co-Chairs Anna Olson, a celebrated chef, author and television host, and Mark Basciano, owner and president of the Mountainview Group of Companies – the largest homebuilder in Niagara. The campaign drew support from students, staff, and the broader community, including individuals, businesses and organizations.


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Fallsview Casino Resort contributes $50,000 to NC’s Building Futures Campaign

Above, from left, Craig Youdale, Chair, Canadian Food and Wine Institute; Jon Ogryzlo, Dean, Canadian Food and Wine Institute; Acting President Steve Hudson; Richard Taylor, Vice President of Operations, Fallsview Casino Resort and member of the Niagara College Board of Governors; Greg Medulun, Director of Communications, Fallsview Casino Resort.

Officials from Fallsview Casino Resort were at the Niagara College Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus on April 11 to present a $50,000 gift to the College’s Building Futures Campaign.

Fallsview Casino Resort’s corporate gift is an investment in the expansion of Niagara College’s culinary facilities, specifically a new food lab that supports the teaching of large-scale, high-volume cooking styles. The expansion was part of Niagara College’s recent $90-million master plan project, which included new and expanded facilities at both of Niagara College’s main campuses.

“The hospitality, culinary and tourism industries play a key role in our organization and the entire Niagara Region,” said Art Frank, President of Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara. “The College and our organization share a commitment to excellence, so we are proud to support the expansion of Niagara College’s Culinary Skills training area, which will foster the growth of future culinary talent in the region.”

“Niagara College is very grateful for the ongoing support we receive from Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara’s Corporate Giving Program,” said Sean Kennedy, CEO of the Niagara College Foundation and Niagara College’s Acting Vice President Academic. “The Casinos’ generosity has helped us build a learning environment that enhances our ability to develop the top hospitality and culinary talent that drives Niagara’s world-renowned tourism industry.”

The culinary expansion at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus includes a new lab outfitted with three state-of-the-art teaching islands and equipment, including large steam kettles, grills, combination ovens and artisan deck ovens. It includes a full-scale pastry area as well as a walk-in blast chiller and proofer along with specialty equipment such as pasta machines, vacuum-pack machines and dehydrators.

“This is an important addition that supports the programs in our Canadian Food and Wine Institute,” said Jon Ogryzlo, Dean of Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute. “It allows us to expand key elements of our culinary curriculum, including large-volume cooking, butchery, food technology and more.”

Fallsview Casino Resort and Niagara College have enjoyed a long and successful partnership that spans more than 10 years. During this time, Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara’s Corporate Giving Program has supported the College in a number of ways, including: major capital campaigns, scholarships and bursaries, co-op and work placements, the annual Seafood Gala, and representation on various advisory committees. The Casinos have benefited from the College through continuing education opportunities for its employees as well as access to highly skilled graduates. With a strong tradition of community partnerships, Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara’s Corporate Giving Program has contributed millions of dollars towards various community and non-profit organizations, improving the quality of life for residents in the Niagara Region and surrounding areas.

Niagara College’s $16.5-million Building Futures Campaign supports the $90-million Master Plan, which includes $88-million for buildings, equipment and learning resources, and $2-million for scholarships and bursaries and applied research.
With 9,000 students, Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics.

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NC receives $20,000 toward equipment for the Civil Engineering Technology program

(Left to right) Gord Hunchak, Acting VP, Student and External Relations Division, Brad Brewster, Representative for OSWCA, Bob Hunter, President of H.Carn, Dr. Ben Cecil, Dean - Environment, Media, and Technology with 2nd yr Civil Engineering Technician students Kevin McArthur, Steve Saltzberry and Scott Ebersole.

A reception was held at Niagara College’s Technology Centre, Welland Campus on Thursday, April 5, 2012 to welcome representatives from Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction (OSWCA) and Heavy Construction Association of Regional Niagara (HCARN).  Bob Hunter, President HCARN and Brad Brewster from OSWCA presented Niagara College with $20,000 toward equipment for the Civil Engineering Technology program.  This donation is their most recent gift to Niagara College.  Since 2004, OSWCA and HCARN have generously supported 29 students in the Construction Engineering Technology program through their endowed scholarship.  Niagara College thanks OSWCA/HCARN for their assistance in meeting the needs of industry through job ready graduates in high demand, high skilled careers.

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Ontario Chamber of Commerce establishes Len Crispino – Ontario Chamber of Commerce Bursary

From left to right: David Sword, OCC Chair; Pradeep Sood - Past-Chair, Ontario Chamber of Commerce; Steve Hudson, Acting President of Niagara College and Len Crispino.

A reception was held on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at the Sheraton Centre Toronto to honour the retirement and celebrate the leadership of Len Crispino at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.  In recognition of Len’s commitment to education and his service as Chair of the Board of Governors of Niagara College, the Board of Directors of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce presented a donation of $10,000 to establish the Len Crispino – Ontario Chamber of Commerce Bursary.  This endowed award will be given annually to a Niagara College student in financial need who is in the Business or Wine & Viticulture program.

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Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Present Award

From left to right: Robert Greene -SIFE Niagara College Faculty Advisor, Lucas Gwilliam – SIFE Award recipient, Michael Evink – SIFE President 2011-2012, Helen Armstrong – Student Awards Officer, Jim Butko - Chair, School of Business and Management

An award was presented by Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) to Lucas Gwilliam, 3rd year student in the Business Administration – International Business, in recognition of his business venture “Success Built In”, a website design company which specializes in cost efficient websites for small business.

SIFE is an international organization that brings together post-secondary students, academic professionals and industry leaders to contribute their business talents to projects that improve the lives of people worldwide.

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Donation establishes Geddy Lee Scholarship

From left: Steve Hudson, Acting President, Niagara College; Jon Ogryzlo, Dean, Canadian Food and Wine Institute; Tony Aspler, President and CEO of Grapes for Humanity Canada

Grapes for Humanity Canada has committed $26,500 to establish the Geddy Lee endowed scholarship, which will be matched by the provincial government’s Ontario Trust for Student Support program.  “I’d like to thank my fellow directors of Grapes for Humanity Canada for this generous gesture in creating and supporting this valuable scholarship program for the students of Niagara College,” said Geddy Lee.

The income will be used to provide an annual scholarship for a student in the second year of Niagara College’s Wine and Viticulture Technician program who intends to pursue a career path in winemaking after graduation.

“Niagara College is thrilled that Grapes for Humanity Canada is making this significant investment to support student learning and success, and the wine industry,” said Sean Kennedy, CEO of the Niagara College Foundation and acting vice-president, Academic.

“We are very pleased to support students in winemaking in recognition of this Canadian icon’s magnificent contribution as a director of our charitable foundation,” said Tony Aspler, president & CEO of Grapes for Humanity Canada. “We hope that the annual recipient of this scholarship will bring to his or her calling the same dedication to quality and to public spiritedness as Geddy Lee has brought to Canada’s musical legacy.”

The Grapes for Humanity gift is part of the Building Futures Campaign, which supports student learning and success through new facilities, equipment and learning resources, applied research, and scholarships and bursaries.

About Grapes for Humanity

Grapes for Humanity Canada was established in 2001 to raise funds, with the assistance of the international wine community, to benefit humanitarian causes around the world. The foundation’s goal is self-sufficiency and human dignity for victims and survivors of disasters and personal tragedies. Funds are raised through various international wine events, wine auctions, special wine projects and personal website donations. (

About Geddy Lee

Geddy Lee is an award-winning musician best known as the lead vocalist, bassist and keyboardist for the legendary Canadian rock group Rush. Mr. Lee has played a crucial role in the success of Grapes for Humanity since its inception in 2001 and continues as a Board member today. He launched the Grapes Under Pressure Rock Memorabilia Charity Auction. The Geddy Lee award is established in recognition of Mr. Lee’s outstanding contribution to the organization, and to the dedication to quality and public spiritedness that he brings to Canada’s musical legacy.

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Mountainview Homes Inc. commits $250,000 to support the Building Futures Campaign

Front row: Amy Klassen, student in the Fitness and Health Promotion program, and Mark Basciano, President and CEO of Mountainview Homes Inc. and co-chair of the Building Futures Campaign Back row: Steve Hudson, acting president, Niagara College, Rick Podrebarac, CA, controller, Mountainview and Mike Memme, vice president, Operations, Mountainview

Mountainview Homes Inc. made a commitment of $250,000 to support the facilities portion of the Building Futures Campaign. A plaque was installed at the Fitness Centre at the Welland Campus to recognize this generous donation. The company is the largest builder in the Niagara Region with more than 30 years experience.

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