Mohawk College and Hamilton Community Foundation Partnership Dinner May 25 to benefit students Reply

I look forward to sharing the stage with Terry Cooke next month for Mohawk’s Partnership Dinner with the Hamilton Community Foundation (HCF).

Proceeds from our May 25 Partnership Dinner at Liuna Station will fund outreach projects that encourage more young people to stay in school and pursue a postsecondary education.

Dana Robbins, Vice President & Group Publisher with Metroland South and a former publisher at The Hamilton Spectator, is our keynote speaker. Dana just won a prestigous international award for his very personal and powerful speech about the high costs of poverty.

Terry and I will highlight the work the HCF and Mohawk are doing in the community to help more young people succeed in school and graduate to success. We’ve also invited local organizations who are working with us and doing great work in the community.

This marks our first Partnership Dinner which replaces Mohawk’s annual President’s Dinner. Our plan is to host an annual dinner with other college partners who share our commitment to education and our pride in Hamilton.

To help promote the dinner, Terry and I squared off in a series of friendly challenges to decide what gets served for dessert. I’m pleased to report that no presidents were harmed in the filming of our promo video (although we came close about three quarters of the way up the Chedoke stairs).

Spirit of collaboration leads to balanced budget for Mohawk College Reply

Thanks to everyone who helped Mohawk achieve a balanced budget for 2015-16. There was an outstanding spirit of collaboration, with our Vice Presidents leading by example and working together for the benefit of our students.

Our $198.7 million budget includes $3.2 million for reinvestments in key areas of the college. We’ll be investing $1.8 million in our Academic areas, $786,000 in Student Services and $580,000 in Corporate Services. These investments will make Mohawk an even better place to learn and make it easier to do our jobs of teaching and serving students.

We’ll be adding 15 new positions in 2015-16, with 10 new jobs in our Academic areas, three in Support Services and two in Corporate Services.

As I said during our Town Halls, Mohawk is healthy but we’re not wealthy. Our college is like a family who has a modest savings account and hefty, yet manageable, monthly mortgage payments. Meeting our enrollment targets and remaining fiscally responsible with every dollar we spend from government grants and student tuition will remain the order of the day at Mohawk.

Mohawk home to the most satisfied students in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area Reply

Mohawk faculty and staff have once again earned high marks from our students and graduates in the latest Key Performance Indicator (KPI) survey results.

For the fifth year in a row, Mohawk ranks number one for student satisfaction among all colleges in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) in the Province’s KPI survey. We also finished in the top three among Ontario’s large colleges, sharing top honours with Algonquin and Fanshawe.

Among GTHA colleges, we also finished first overall in:

  • Graduate employment
  • Graduate satisfaction
  • Quality of our services, and
  • Quality of our facilities

We continue to do a great job of preparing our students to launch their careers, with 85.7 of our graduates working within six months of completing their studies at Mohawk. When asked about the overall quality of instruction, 86 per cent of our graduates reported being satisfied or very satisfied.

And here’s my favourite result from this year’s survey – 90 per cent of our students would recommend Mohawk to their family and friends. You couldn’t ask for a better endorsement.

We should be proud of our KPI scores. Once again, Mohawk is first in the GTHA because you put our students first and at the heart of all we do.

Please join me in supporting Mohawk’s Family Campaign to change lives, build futures and support our students Reply

I sent the following letter to all of our faculty and staff at Mohawk this morning, asking if they’d join me in supporting our annual Family Campaign.

Dear Colleagues:

I am writing to ask you to join me in supporting Mohawk’s annual Family Campaign. This year, you can direct your donations to one of four key areas:

Bursaries to help our students who are in financial need
Scholarships to reward our students for academic excellence
Capital redevelopment to give our students great places to learn, or
Priority student initiatives

Every dollar that you donate will be invested in whichever area you choose. And every dollar you give will change lives, build futures and support our students.

I’ve pledged a five-year commitment to our Family Campaign. Like many of our students, financing my post-secondary education was a challenge. I grew up in a family of seven children and my parents didn’t have the financial means to pay for our tuition and textbooks. While it was a struggle to make ends meet as a student, getting an education remains the best investment I’ve ever made. I am fortunate to now be in a position where I can help our students make the same journey.

I am also supporting our Family Campaign to follow in my father’s footsteps. My dad taught us that those who are blessed have a responsibility to be a blessing to others. Having witnessed the calibre and commitment of our faculty and staff, I believe that putting a Mohawk education within reach of everyone who dreams of college is one of the greatest gifts we can give.

Many of you are long-time donors to bursaries, scholarships and campus renewal projects. Thank you for your generous and continuing support. If you have yet to make a donation, please consider joining me in supporting our students through our Family Campaign. If you are not able to make a donation now, please consider making one in the future. Every dollar you donate will make a real difference in the students we are so privileged to teach and serve.

To make a one-time or ongoing donation to our Family Campaign, please contact Gena Dureault in our Mohawk College Foundation at ext. 2208 or email to


Change lives. Build futures. Support our students. Reply

My dad taught me from an early age that those of us who are blessed have a responsibility to be a blessing to others. My father led by example and gave generously with his time and money. I’ve done my best to follow in my father’s footsteps throughout my career and have supported many worthwhile causes and organizations.

I’m proud to now be supporting our students by making a five-year donation to Mohawk’s Family Campaign. The campaign gives those of us who work at Mohawk another opportunity to support our students. Through one-time donations or payroll deduction, we can invest in bursaries that help students in financial need, scholarships that reward academic excellence or the renewal of our labs and classrooms to give students great places to learn.

Many of you are long-time supporters of our students and your generosity is much appreciated. If you have yet to give, please consider supporting our 2015 Family Campaign. Together, we can change lives and build futures.

Our Family Campaign officially launches next week at each campus. The campaign is chaired by Valerie Parke and co-chaired by Troy Heath and Judy-Anne Sleep. If you’d like to join me in supporting our students by contributing to our Family Campaign, please contact Gena Dureault, Senior Development Officer, at ext. 2208 or email to

Kudos: Full house as Mohawk welcomes Laverne Cox Reply

Special thanks to Social Inc. coordinator and School of Human Services professor Marco Felvus for bringing Laverne Cox to Mohawk March 26th.

Laverne stars on the hit TV show Orange is the New Black, was named Glamour Magazine’s 2014 Woman of the Year and was the first transgender woman to appear on the cover of TIME magazine.

Thanks also to our community partners for helping organize the sold-out talk in our McIntyre Performing Arts Centre, especially Erin Cricket with SACHA (Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton and Area) and Poe Liberado, a diversity consultant and part-time professor in our Human Services Foundation program.

Kudos: Busting Popsicle bridges since 1987 and making history at Mohawk Reply


No Mini Coopers were harmed in the staging of this event. Richard Borger (left) and Peter Olynyk prepare to successfully hang a Budds BMW Mini Cooper from a Popsicle stick bridge built by Mohawk grad Jude Morgan.

So how do you mark 28 years of building and busting Popsicle stick bridges at Mohawk College?

You hang a 1,451 kilogram (3,200 pound) BMW Mini Cooper from a 580 gram (20 ounce) bridge made of nothing but Popsicle sticks and glue. You invite more than 100 people to watch history get made at Mohawk and livestream the event over the Internet.

The bridge was built by recent Mohawk grad Jude Morgan.  After supporting the Mini Cooper, our Building and Construction Sciences crew put the bridge in a jig and found it was capable of holding 2,245 kilograms (4,950 pounds) before splintering.

The record-setting event kicked off another year of high school and college students putting their engineering skills to the test. This year’s competition featured the most ever high school students squaring off against SuperMario.

Hamilton Police Service won the celebrity bridge building competition. Mohawk's senior leadership team has a year to practice for the 29th annual challenge.

Hamilton Police Service won the celebrity bridge building competition. Mohawk’s senior leadership team has a year to practice for the 29th annual challenge.

Special thanks to the team of students, faculty, staff and retirees who organized this year’s bridge building and Techno-Challenge competitions, including:

  • Aleksandra Bis
  • Julie Facey-Crowther
  • Jay Mycroft
  • Ross Mogridge
  • Sean Nix
  • Matt Shelley
  • Rich Borger
  • Peter Olynyk
  • Dan Robichaud
  • Kevin Haluik
  • Chris Blackwood
  • Paul Cronkwright
  • Mario Rojas
  • Rocco Carbone
  • Jessica DiGiovvani
  • Elizabeth Martin
  • Nasr Bistawrous, and
  • Lorraine Skuse

Kudos: Celebration of Learning Reply

Our students were the stars of the show last week when Mohawk held our version of the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys and Juno Awards.

Mohawk’s inaugural Celebration of Learning recognized 33 students who’ve excelled in academics and athletics and given back to our college. I had the privilege of sitting at a table with one of the award winners and a student volunteer who told me she planned to get an award at next year’s event.

A very big thank you to the staff who organized a great evening for our students and their proud families at Carmen’s Banquet Centre:

  • Elsye Pipitone
  • Lucy Lobodici
  • Donna Moreau
  • Kayla Wilkinson
  • Taylor Visser, and
  • Nella Paris

Special thanks to past Mohawk Students’ Association President Kat Cullen for serving as our Master of Ceremonies, Elder in Residence Elyse Hartley for bringing the Thanksgiving Address and the Bhangra Hawks and Spirit Vision Drummers and Dancers for performing during our celebration.

What’s your big idea for Mohawk College? 1

We’re in the final year of Mohawk’s current five-year strategic plan and we’ve just started to build our college’s 2016-2021 plan. We’ll be presenting the plan to our Board of Governors this Fall for their approval.

Mohawk’s strategic plan will set out long-term goals for our college. We’re looking for big ideas to help set some bold goals. The bigger the idea, the better.

So what’s your dream for Mohawk College?

What should we aspire to become?

What should our college look like in five years time?

What will move Mohawk from good to great?

What programs and services should we offer our students? And how should we deliver those programs and services?

How should Mohawk be connected with employers and the community? What partnerships should we forge?

What can we do that no other college is doing?

Email your big idea(s) to by April 10.

Our Senior Leadership Team and Board of Governors will review all your big ideas and see which ones can be part of Mohawk’s next strategic plan.

Mohawk and college partners looking to welcome the world to Hamilton Reply

So what role can Mohawk and our college partners play in making Hamilton an even more welcoming community for newcomers?

That’s the question we’ve begun answering on our new Welcoming Communities Task Force.

I convened and chaired the task force’s first meeting last week at our college. Our task force got an overview of international education at Mohawk, a presentation by Global Hamilton and then had a roundtable discussion. I was also proud to announce a $5,000 sponsorship for Global Hamilton Connect, a member group of Hamilton HIVE with a vision to “enable international students and young newcomers to be fully aware of, and have access to, opportunities in order to live, work and play in Hamilton.”

Our task force has three more meetings planned to share best practices, pitch new ideas and look for more ways to work together. The task force will also host a conference this Fall at Mohawk and release an action plan in early 2016.

Hamilton is a city built by immigrants and newcomers will remain the lifeblood of our community. At Mohawk, we’re looking to double enrollment of international students and persuade more of our graduates to live and work in Hamilton once they graduate.

Thanks to following college partners who are serving on the task force:

  • ArcelorMittal Dofasco
  • Columbia International College
  • FELLFAB Limited
  • Global Hamilton / Hamilton Economic Development Office
  • Hamilton Community Foundation
  • Hamilton Police Service
  • Hamilton Spectator
  • McMaster University
  • Mohawk Students’ Association
  • My Thai Restaurants
  • RBC
  • Workforce Planning Hamilton
  • YMCA of Hamilton Burlington Brantford