Former Niagara College president honoured at prestigious ceremony on Monday

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Published December 1, 2021 at 12:09 pm

The former president of Niagara College was honoured Monday night (November 29) at College Ontario’s 2021 Higher Education Summit in Toronto.

Dan Patterson was given the Minister’s Lifetime Achievement Award by Ontario’s Minister of Colleges and Universities Jill Dunlop. Patterson was one of four former college presidents handed the honour that evening.

“Dan’s legacy is reflected in our campuses, which are among the most unique learning environments in Canada, and his vision of building an innovative college of firsts has earned us a strong reputation as a trailblazer within the College sector,” said current college president Sean Kennedy.

Indeed, while leading Niagara College from 1995 to 2020, countless innovations, growths and expansions were achieved, including the creation of the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus, which was renamed the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in 2019 to honour him.

Aside from a second campus – the first still established in Welland – Canada’s first teaching winery, teaching brewery, and teaching distillery were all programs created during his tenure, a boon to a region rife with over 60 wineries, as well as craft breweries and distilleries.

Under Patterson’s leadership, the College tripled its enrolment to 13,000-plus full-time students in over 130 programs with an operating budget surpassing $225 million, as well as sink over $300 million of campus redevelopment, including a significant renewal of the Welland Campus in 2011.

Patterson also pioneered trailblazing programs in Commercial Cannabis Production and Commercial Beekeeping, just as their industries were starting to emerge.

Patterson said it was a privilege to work in the “post-secondary education ecosystem.”

“We in education are given the opportunity to make a difference, to enrich the lives and fulfil the dreams of our students, to open up promise and possibility, to tear down barriers, to link students to the world of work, build pathways to success, to improve the socioeconomic conditions to reduce poverty and open up job opportunities,” he said.

“It’s a noble calling – daunting but rewarding – and one that I have been blessed to participate fully in.”

(Photo below of Dan Patterson and his daughter Christineat the 2021 Higher Education Summit in Toronto courtesy of Niagara College)

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