Ontario Recognizes Outstanding College Graduates

Awards celebrate important contributions from Ontario’s college community

Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities, presents the 2023 Minister’s Lifetime Achievement Award

TORONTO – On Monday, the Ontario government announced the winners of the annual Minister’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Premier’s Awards for college graduates. These awards honour college leaders and graduates who have made important contributions to Ontario’s postsecondary system and were presented at the Colleges Ontario Higher Education Summit in Toronto.

Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities, presented the 2023 Minister’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Chris Whitaker, former president and CEO of Humber College, a forward thinker and visionary who made a lasting difference in the province’s college community.

“I would like to congratulate Dr. Whitaker for being a champion of Ontario’s postsecondary sector for more than 35 years,” said Minister Dunlop. “He left behind a legacy of innovative partnerships, diverse and flexible academic programs as well as spaces and services that put students first.”

The Premier’s Awards for college graduates recognizes recent and past graduates from seven categories who have made outstanding social and economic contributions to their local communities, the province and beyond. The 2023 recipients are:

  • Carrie Baker from Humber College for Business
  • Cheyanne Hammell from Mohawk College for Technology
  • Christina Kioke from Northern College for Recent Graduate
  • Jody Porter from Centennial College for Creative Arts and Design
  • Jehan Salim from Conestoga College for Community Services
  • Saifullah Sanaye from St. Lawrence College for Apprenticeship
  • Michael Sanderson from Humber College for Health Sciences

“Congratulations to the winners of the Premier’s Awards for college graduates,” said Premier Doug Ford. “This award represents all the hard work and dedication that you’ve poured into your education over the past years. Thank you for your contributions and for helping to make our colleges and universities among the best in the world.”

“The success of these individuals shows us how Ontario’s colleges are producing talented graduates with the knowledge, skills and experience they need to have rewarding careers and drive the growth of our economy,” said Minister Dunlop. “Their amazing achievements – from developing electric vehicle maintenance curriculum, to managing the design of a long-term care home that was completed in just three months – are strengthening the workforce in key provincial sectors and making a tangible difference in the lives of Ontarians.”

“The Premier’s Awards are a tribute to the phenomenal achievements of our Ontario public college graduates,” said Marketa Evans, president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. “We congratulate all of our nominees and recipients on their successes and their inspiring contributions to the success of our province.”

For more information about the 2023 Minister’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner and Premier’s Awards recipients, see Backgrounder.

Quick Facts

  • The Minister’s Lifetime Achievement Award was created in 2005 to recognize those who have made enduring contributions to Ontario’s college system throughout their career.
  • The Premier’s Awards for college graduates were launched in 1992 to mark the 25th anniversary of Ontario’s college system. The province partners with Colleges Ontario to administer the awards.
  • Award recipients are chosen from nominations submitted by Ontario’s 24 public colleges. The recipients must demonstrate outstanding achievement related to their college experience and have made a significant contribution to their communities.
  • In 2021-22, about 83 per cent of 2020-21 Ontario college graduates were employed within six months of graduating, and 89 per cent of employers were satisfied or very satisfied with the graduates they hired.
  • Last year, the government announced that Ontario’s publicly assisted colleges could offer new three-year degree programs and additional four-year degree programs in key sectors to address gaps in the labour market.

SOURCE Province of Ontario

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