Mohawk College hosts Hamilton’s largest start-up career fair Reply

SURGEKudos to our SURGE team of Melanie Sodtka, Karen Reiner and Rachel Hamilton for connecting Mohawk students with Hamilton-area entrepreneurs.

SURGE hosted a start-up career fair in the Arnie last week in partnership with The Forge, Spectrum, Innovation Factory and Small Business Enterprise Centre.  The event brought together entrepreneurs from more than 50 Hamilton and area start-ups and over 400 students and job seekers interested in full and part-time, paid, volunteer, internship and equity-based opportunities.

Mohawk’s SURGE team supports entrepreneurship awareness, education, training experiences, learning opportunities, mentorship, star speakers and pitch competitions to help our students and graduates launch their own businesses.

SURGE has organized 28 college-wide workshops, lectures and competitions in their first year and are currently working with 18 clients.

SURGE is funded through an On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) grant as part of the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy and issued through the Ontario Centres for Excellence (OCE).

Nominate a distinguished Mohawk College graduate today Reply

Mohawk Alumni of Distinction

Who will be our next inductees into the Mohawk Alumni of Distinction?  Last year we honoured (left to right) Derek Doyle, Vanh Kalong, Rocco Passero, Daniel Popowich, Mayor Fred Eisenberger, Barbara Shea, Minister Ted McMeekin, Megan MacLeod and Brian Jonker.

Do you know a remarkable Mohawk grad who’s making a difference at work and in the community?

Nominations are now open for our annual Mohawk Alumni of Distinction Awards. Nominate an all-star or unsung hero by February 29th.

Last year, we proudly celebrated The Hon. Ted McMeekin, His Worship Mayor Fred Eisenberger, Derek Doyle, Brian Jonker, Vanh Kalong, Megan MacLeod, Rocco Passero, Daniel Popowich and Barbara Shea during our Alumni of Distinction Awards Dinner.

Since opening our doors in 1967, more than 105,000 students have graduated from Mohawk and over 100 graduates have been inducted as Alumni of Distinction.

Cheer on our Mohawk College Super Mileage Team 1

eco challenge

Joules Estigoy (left) and Sungbin Suh, along with nine other students, are building a battery-powered car to compete in the 2016 Shell Eco-marathon. This will be the first time Mohawk has gone up against teams of college and university students from across North and South America.

Eleven Mohawk students are gearing up to compete in the annual Shell Eco-marathon in downtown Detroit this April.

Our multi-disciplinary team of students from our Fennell and Stoney Creek campuses are putting their Mohawk education to work in designing and building an electric car for the competition.

Our team will be going up against 224 teams from across North and South America. This is the first time Mohawk has taken part and we’re the only college in Canada competing in the Motor City.

The Shell Eco-marathon challenges student teams from around the world to design, build, test and drive ultra-energy-efficient vehicles.

International student and peer tutor Sungbin Suh recruited classmate Vincent Perera to begin working on the project last summer. While at the Mohawk Student Leadership Academy, Sungbin met Joules Estigoy, Gurpreet Singh Punj and Matt Hsiung.  The team now includes Supisara Tripoonsin,  Nathan Field, Wanming Hu, Brett Adair, Luke Maier and Shivam Saxena. Professors John Van Loon and Robert Gerritsen are volunteering as faculty advisors.

The team expects to have their car on display at our Fennell campus in early February.

Mohawk is proud to sponsor our Super Mileage Team. If you’d like to lend your support as well to help offset travel costs, please contact Sungbin at

Town Halls next month to preview Mohawk College’s new strategic plan & review employee survey Reply

futureI’m looking forward to presenting our college’s new strategic plan to faculty and staff at next month’s town halls at all three campuses.

Thanks to everyone who brought forward bold ideas and helped build an ambitious five-year plan for our college. Together we’ve created a plan that will keep our college responsive to the needs of students, their future employers and the communities we serve.

Along with previewing Mohawk’s strategic plan, our partners at CCI Research Inc. will share the results from our latest employee engagement survey. Chief Human Resources Officer Karen Pashleigh will be on hand to highlight next steps, including how CCI will share the results for your area. We’ll also review the process we’ll follow to turn our results into actionable plans that make Mohawk an even better place to work as one of the top employers in the Hamilton-Niagara region.

Please join whichever town hall works best for your schedule. We also plan to live-stream the town halls and post video online.

Feb 16 from noon to 1 p.m. at the Stoney Creek campus, Awareness Theatre

Feb. 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at IAHS, room 244

Feb. 17 from noon to 1 p.m. at the Fennell campus, McIntyre Performing Arts Centre


Partnership dinner with McKeil Marine to fund student bursaries Reply

mckeil christmas

The crew from McKeil Marine is an outstanding college partner. Along with investing in campus renewal, scholarships and bursaries, McKeil Marine supports Mohawk’s annual toy drive at St. Ann school in North Hamilton.

I’m pleased to announce that Mohawk is hosting our 2016 Partnership Dinner with the crew from McKeil Marine this spring.

McKeil Marine is an outstanding college partner and tremendous champion of our students and graduates.  McKeil Marine has supported the renewal of our Fennell campus, invested in scholarships and bursaries, trained and mentored students and hired graduates.

We’re honoured to have McKeil Marine co-host our dinner as part of their 60th anniversary celebrations. Proceeds from our dinner will remove financial barriers for students from priority neighbourhoods.

We launched our annual partnership dinner last year with the Hamilton Community Foundation.  The dinner is unique to Hamilton and underscores the value and importance of partnerships for Mohawk.

I’ll be sharing more details on our 2016 Partnership Dinner with McKeil Marine in the weeks ahead.

Mohawk ready to do its part to help Syrian refugees Reply

Dear Colleagues:

Welcoming newcomers to Mohawk and our community is a college priority and a personal mission. We launched a Welcoming Communities project earlier this year with community partners and will bring forward an action plan during our winter term.

As a college committed to welcoming newcomers, Mohawk is ready to do our part in supporting Syrian refugees. As many as 25,000 refugees are expected to make Canada their new home in the months ahead.

We are working closely with our community partners, including the City of Hamilton, Wesley Urban Ministries and the YMCA Hamilton / Burlington / Brantford, to coordinate our efforts.  Mohawk will be focused on four fronts, with a heavy emphasis on meeting the educational needs of refugees:

  • Our English as a Second Language team will offer language instruction for newcomers and enhanced language training for internationally trained professionals. These services will be available free of charge at our Fennell campus and at our CitySchool by Mohawk at the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre in North Hamilton.
  • Our team in Community Employment Services will help refugees find jobs that put their skills and experience to work.
  • We will help recruit translators to volunteer with Wesley Urban Ministries. An online form will be posted in early January for students, faculty and staff who are fluent in Arabic, French, Kurdish, Turkish, Persian / Farsi and Assyrian.
  • We will be looking at establishing scholarships for a number of Syrian refugees who would like to attend our college and are liaising with our community partners to determine next steps in this regard.

Many of you are already involved outside the college in welcoming Syrian refugees to our community. For example, Language Instruction for Newcomers professor Julianne Burgess is helping organize a Syria to Hamilton Walk Dec. 23 starting at 1 p.m. from Gage Park to McMaster University. Tom Ferns, our General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, is helping his Waterdown church sponsor a family of four. Please send me examples of how you’re welcoming refugees and we’ll help spread the word within our college.

Thank you in advance for opening our doors and your hearts to Syrian families who are making Canada and our region their new home.




Taking a cold dip for a good cause Reply

On Monday, Dec. 21, I will be joining Michael Messenger, President of World Vision Canada, in the Polar Bear Dip in Lake Ontario.  This is an annual event, usually held on New Year’s Day, and this year will raise awareness and funds to help children and families gain access to clean water and sanitation in Rugarama and Gashora, Rwanda.  The dip will be covered by media including Breakfast Television and I’ll be proudly wearing a Mohawk shirt as I make the plunge.  If you are interested, you can sponsor me by clicking on the attached link.  All funds go to the water and sanitation project in Rwanda and are issued a receipt by World Vision Canada for income tax purposes.

Best regards for the holidays.

Mohawk College PR students help community partner win international award Reply

Learning by doing is one of the hallmarks of a Mohawk education.

The Agency at Mohawk College puts students in our Advertising, Public Relations, Marketing and Graphic Design programs to work in building campaigns for dozens of community partners and start-ups every year.

One of the Agency’s clients has credited our students for helping them win an international award.

The Dundas Valley School of Art has won an award from the Learning Resource Network (LERN), the world’s largest association in continuing education and lifelong learning.

Here’s what Executive Director Claire Lougheed had to say about the Public Relations students who created a communications plan for the Dundas Valley School of Art during the Winter 2015 term. “They provided so many perspectives, new ideas and elements of the strategy moving forward that I feel they should be a part of acknowledging the contributors to this win. These awards are never the work of one person and I believe your students might want to know that what starts as an assignment has real world consequences and successes for us clients.”

Congratulations to the Dundas Valley School of Art on winning a 2015 LERN International Award and thank you for giving our students a real-world opportunity to apply their learning and make a difference in our community.

Many reasons to be thankful at Mohawk College as we head into the holidays Reply


Here’s the holiday letter I sent to the remarkable faculty and staff who make Mohawk College such a great place to learn and work.

Dear Colleagues:

The holidays are a time to reflect, give thanks and celebrate.

For Lynn and I, Christmas is a time of reunion and celebration with family and friends. It’s a time to cut and trim the tree, put up lights, bake pies and write our Christmas letter. It is also, like Thanksgiving, a time that we like to pause and take account of all we have to be thankful for in our lives.

As we head into the holidays and pass the midway mark of our academic year, we have many reasons to celebrate and many people to thank for a semester worth of firsts at Mohawk College.

Thank you for putting a Mohawk education within reach of even more people in our community. Our first City School at Mohawk opened this fall at the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre in North Hamilton. Joining us at the official opening were our first City School donors Douglas and June Barber whose generous gift helped bring a Mohawk education to an entire neighbourhood. No other college in Ontario has taken community engagement to the same level.

Thank you for making Mohawk a more welcoming college for our Aboriginal students. Our new outdoor Indigenous Gathering Space at the Fennell campus is the first of its kind among colleges and universities in this part of the province. During the dedication ceremony for our gathering space, I was proud to sign the Indigenous Education Protocol and reaffirm our commitment to Aboriginal students.

Thank you for making Mohawk a more welcoming college for newcomers. We brought together dozens of thought leaders and hundreds of community partners, faculty and staff for a two-day summit in October. The conversations and insights from our summit will help us build an action plan for Mohawk, with the goal of attracting more international students, connecting them with the community and encouraging them to make Hamilton their home after graduation.

Thank you for making Mohawk a more innovative and entrepreneurial college. We invested in eight applied research projects led by faculty and staff in our Business, Communication Arts, Community Services, Health and Technology programs with our first round of funding from Mohawk’s new Applied Research and Innovation in Education Fund. We also launched Canada’s first journalism course for creating accessible content and made significant investments in simulation technology at our Stoney Creek campus and at our Institute for Applied Health Sciences.

Thank you for educating and serving a record number of students this semester. The quality of your teaching, the calibre of the services you provide and the facilities you take such pride in maintaining have all contributed to building our reputation as the college of choice for students throughout the region.

And thank you for making a great first impression. A record number of federal, provincial and municipal politicians have toured Mohawk during the past year, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who made Mohawk the only college he visited during his election campaign. I’ve proudly introduced political leaders and senior officials to scores of faculty, staff and students. Everyone who visits our three campuses makes mention of your passion for teaching and serving our students. Our guests return to Parliament Hill, Queen’s Park and City Hall with an even greater understanding and deeper appreciation for your work and why Mohawk matters to our community.

Looking ahead to our winter semester, I’ll be introducing you to Mohawk’s new strategic plan that charts our strategic direction for the next five years. I’ll be hosting a series of town halls to present our strategic plan and priorities for the 2016-17 academic year. During the town halls, I’ll also share results from our latest employee engagement survey. We’ll also be launching a formal mentorship program in the New Year to connect you with experienced and respected Mohawk leaders who personify our college values. If career growth and professional development is a New Year’s resolution, I encourage you to consider this program. We’ll also continue to offer our made-at-Mohawk Future Ready Leadership and Step Up to Leadership programs, provide tuition assistance and hold year-round workshops and courses. Like our students, we want you to realize and contribute to your full potential. After all, it’s great people who make Mohawk a great place to work and learn.

Thank you for all of your contributions during our fall semester. Because of you, we have many reasons to celebrate and to be proud of all that we’ve accomplished together. If we don’t have the opportunity to meet during our holiday lunches, I’d like to wish you a safe and joyous holiday season with family and friends filled with Peace, Joy, Hope and Love and extend to you best wishes for what’s sure to be an outstanding year ahead at Mohawk College.