You are here

Confederation College Graduates 1500 Students in 2016

June 3, 2016
Campus: Thunder Bay
Confederation College Convocation 2016

THUNDER BAY, ON, June 3, 2016 – Over 1500 graduates received certificates, diplomas and advanced diplomas today at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium during Confederation College’s 2016 Convocation ceremonies.

Graduates from the School of Health and Community Services were featured in the morning, while the afternoon ceremony included the School of Aviation (ACE), School of Engineering, Technology and Trades and the School of Business, Hospitality and Media Arts. Of special note this year is that 2016 celebrated the first graduating class from the Hydro One Pre-Technology (Electrical) program at Confederation College.

Confederation College President Jim Madder, presided over the ceremonies. “This represents a significant crossroad for our students as they continue on in the pursuit of their dreams,” he said. “We are extremely proud of our students for all that they have accomplished. We wish them continued success as they move forward into the next phase of their individual journeys and remind them that Confederation will always be there to support them.”

President Madder conferred the Governor General’s Academic Medal during the morning ceremony. This award is presented to the student who has achieved the highest academic standing at the College in the final year of a diploma level post-secondary program earning an average of 80% or better.  

The recipient of the Governor General’s Award for 2016 is Meghan Potters, who graduated with a 4.0 GPA from the two-year Recreation Therapy program. Potters was also awarded the Academic Award of Excellence for her program, the President’s Award for the School of Health and Community Services, and the Derek and Joan Burney Award.

Coming to Confederation College from London, Ontario to complete her education, Potters has returned to London and has already secured a position in Therapeutic Recreation at McGarrell Place, a long-term care facility. She was committed to academic excellence from the day she started her program. She demonstrated an attention to detail and an impressive work ethic. Potters will be continuing her post-secondary education in Gerontology at Ryerson University.

The SUCCI/OASA Student Leadership Award was presented to Ashley Nurmela, graduating from the Native Child and Family Services program. The Student Leadership Award is presented to a graduating student who has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills, is a positive role model and has effected change. Nurmela also received the Board of Governors’ Award for the School of Health and Community Services, presented to a full-time post-secondary graduate from each Academic School in recognition of an outstanding contribution made to student life, community affairs and/or citizenship and academic achievement.

A natural leader and role model, Nurmela has risen from adversity in her life to become a strong advocate for social justice. A mother of four, she consistently excelled academically and participated actively on and off campus, offering mentorship, organizing events and contributing to discussions about the future of Indigenous education at the post-secondary level. She was President of OASA for the 2015-16 academic year, having led her student union to offer a number of initiatives, including the return of a Pow-Wow event to campus. In 2015, she led her class in establishing a “Stand Up” Against Racism silent protest event, which returned in 2016 and which Nurmela plans to make a national event.

Recently, Nurmela won a Northwestern Ontario Aboriginal Youth Achievement and Recognition Award for Activism and Advocacy, and this September, will continue her education at Lakehead University in the Honours Bachelor of Social Work program, with a concentration in Indigenous learning. (See more about Ashley Nurmela in the backgrounder…).

Another student featured in the backgrounder, Chahat Dhiren Desai, received the Board of Governors’ Award for the School of Business. She also received the Academic Award of Excellence for the Broadcasting – Television Production (Accelerated) program.

Derek Antoniszyn – Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training, Dylan Betts – Welding Techniques, Chahat Dhiren Desai – Broadcasting – Television Production (Accelerated), Ron Kelly – Hydro One Pre-Technology (Electrical), Tessin Leo – Recreation Therapy, and Ashley Nurmela – Native Child and Family Services, are excellent representatives of the 2016 graduating class. See backgrounder…

Confederation’s regional convocation ceremonies will be taking place from June 6-20.


Confederation College has been serving the citizens of northwestern Ontario since 1967 meeting the educational needs of students in a catchment area of some 550,000 square kilometres. Along with its main campus in Thunder Bay, Confederation College has eight regional sites located in Dryden, Fort Frances, Geraldton, Kenora, Marathon, Sioux Lookout, Red Lake and Wawa. 

Confederation College delivers exceptional education and training to an average of 7,800 combined full and part-time students per year and currently has a total of 805 full and part-time employees. Confederation’s regional economic impact and contribution is valued at $411.2 million annually.


For more information, please contact:
Ashleigh Quarrell, Media and Communications Officer
Ph: (807) 475-6565, Cell: (807) 632-5296, Email:

File Attachments