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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

NC nominates six distinguished grads for prestigious Premier’s Awards

Niagara College is proud to nominate six of its distinguished alumni for prestigious Premier’s Awards.

Presented annually as part of the Colleges Ontario Higher Education Summit, the Premier’s Awards celebrate the outstanding contributions of six Ontario college graduates in six different categories: Business, Creative Arts and Design, Community Services, Health Sciences, Technology, and Recent Graduate.

Niagara College’s 2017 nominees include:

Rob Beyer (Business), executive chairman of Villgro Kenya;

David McIlvride (Creative Arts and Design), Gemini award-winning director;

Rose DiMarco (Community Services), chief superintendent and regional commander of the Central Region Ontario Provincial Police;

Derek Christensen (Health), regional educator of mental health and addiction services at Niagara Health;

Ben Laurence (Recent Graduate), structural technical designer for aerospace manufacturer Blue Origin; and

Blake Merritt (Technology), vice-president of IT infrastructure and cloud computing at Meridian Credit Union.

“There is no sector of our economy or part of our community that isn’t touched by the outstanding contributions of college graduates,” said Niagara College president Dan Patterson. “We’re extremely proud of the accomplishments of our grads, and are pleased to nominate these distinguished Niagara College alumni for provincial recognition.”

All nominees will be celebrated, and the six category winners announced, in Toronto on Monday, November 27, as part of the Colleges Ontario Higher Education Summit. For info visit

Since the Premier’s Awards were launched in 1992, winners from Niagara College have included: Royal Canadian Navy Capt. Rebecca Patterson (Nursing, 1987), who won in 2014; David Pratt (Greenhouse Technician, 2007) in 2012; Jerry Howell (Computer Engineering Technology, 1988) in 2011; Jordan Harris (Winery and Viticulture Technician, 2004) in 2008; Heather Kilty (Social Welfare Worker, 1969), in 2003; and Carol Alaimo (Journalism-Print, 1984), in 1995.

Niagara College offers more than 100, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit

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