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Confederation College Graduates 1500 Students in 2017

June 9, 2017
Community News
Campus: All campuses
Bekkie, Nichole and Jonathan are just a few of the many success stories behind the over 1500 Confederation College graduates celebrated

THUNDER BAY, ON, June 9, 2017 – Over 1500 graduates received certificates, diplomas and advanced diplomas today at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium during Confederation College’s 2017 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.

This year’s Convocation ceremonies were particularly significant as Confederation College is celebrating its 50th Anniversary year. To mark the occasion, the ceremonies were joined by Past Presidents Patricia Lang (morning) and Roy Murray (afternoon).

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 afternoon 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 2017 is Seija McKay, who graduated with a 4.0 GPA from the two-year Tourism – Travel and Eco-Adventure program. McKay was also awarded the Academic Award of Excellence for her program, the President’s Award for the School of Business, Hospitality and Media Arts, and the Derek and Joan Burney Award.

A world traveler from a young age, McKay naturally had an interest in travel, leading her to the Tourism – Travel and Eco-Adventure program. Her passion is learning about geography, what the different areas of the world have to offer and how tourism contributes to the economy. Involved in fundraising activities and holding down a job on campus throughout her studies, McKay was an exemplary student, both academically and personally. She demonstrated great leadership and initiative, regularly supporting her peers. In May of this year, McKay received the BAXTER Travel Media Award which will enable her to continue her post-secondary studies in Tourism at Royal Roads University this fall.

The SUCCI/OASA Student Leadership Award was presented to Bryer Twiss, graduating from the Business Administration – Accounting 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. Twiss also received the Board of Governors’ Award for the School of Business, Hospitality and Media Arts., 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.

Twiss came to Confederation College as a mature student who was new to the community. In an effort to get better acquainted with her new surroundings, she quickly got involved within the College as a Peer Tutor, Class Rep, Peer Mentor and a SUCCI Board Director in the role of Senator for Business, Hospitality and Media Arts. She is dedicated to helping others, and leading and advocating for the students of Confederation College. Outside the College, Twiss volunteers for the Metis Nation of Ontario as an Infinite Reach Facilitator.

Nichole Barkman-Lands – Aboriginal Community Advocacy, Tracy Barry – Business – Marketing, Bekkie Jensen – Recreation Therapy, Jonathan Chester – Environmental Technician, Kerry Nguyen – Pre-Health Sciences, and Victor Vasquez Cerda – Aerospace Manufacturing Engineering Technology, are excellent representatives of the 2017 graduating class. (See backgrounder).

Jonathan Chester received the President’s Award for the School of Engineering Technology and Trades. He also received the Academic Award of Excellence for the Environmental Technician program. Nichole Barkman-Lands received the Academic Award of Excellence for the Aboriginal Community Advocacy program.

Confederation’s regional convocation ceremonies will be taking place from June 12-22.

Bekkie, Nichole and Jonathan are just a few of the many success stories behind the over 1500 Confederation College graduates celebrated
Thunder Bay's Convocation ceremonies were joined by Past Presidents to help commemorate the College's 50th Anniversary year



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.

Confederation College is proudly celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2017. For more information, visit

For more information, please contact:
Ashleigh Quarrell, Communications Consultant
Ph: (807) 475-6565, Cell: (807) 632-5296, E-mail:

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