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Niagara College to celebrate largest-ever graduating class at Spring Convocation, June 10 – 15

1971 graduate Dave Labbe to receive distinguished graduate award; Wendy Wing to receive honourary degree


Niagara College’s Spring 2024 Convocation is approaching with the most exciting ceremonies yet as the College celebrates a record number of 5,500 graduates. This year’s events will highlight the achievements of the Class of 2024 and honour two distinguished guests, including a prominent Niagara business leader and a notable NC alumnus and Indigenous Elder.

The Spring Convocation ceremonies will be held at Niagara College’s Welland Campus in the Simplii Financial Athletic Centre from Monday, June 10 to Saturday, June 15.

“Spring Convocation is a time of pride and celebration at Niagara College,” said Niagara College President Sean Kennedy. “We are thrilled to honour our Class of 2024 and their remarkable achievements. This year, we are particularly excited to recognize two outstanding individuals whose exemplary contributions to their fields and communities embody the welcoming, trailblazing, and passionate characteristics of NC and will inspire our graduates as they embark on their own journeys.”

Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies – Business Administration: Wendy Wing

 Wendy Wing, the Senior Vice-President of Finance and Administration at Rankin Construction Inc. and Port Colborne Quarries Inc., as well as President of Rankin Renewable Power Inc., will be presented with an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies – Business Administration. Recognized for her leadership in business and construction and her community stewardship in Niagara, she will be honoured during the ceremony on Wednesday, June 12 at 3 p.m., which celebrates new graduates from the College’s School of Technology and School of Trades.

Wing’s career at Rankin Construction spans over 30 years, during which she has led numerous real estate and renewable energy projects, including wind and hydro power developments. Her expertise in finance and administration has been pivotal in the successful completion of various heavy civil construction projects, such as roads, bridges, and marine work. Wing’s strategic role in the company involves analyzing new business opportunities and assessing their long-term financial impact.

Wing and her family are valued supporters and advocates of Niagara College, contributing to student success by funding scholarships and awards and by helping expand and improve campus so that students have the best teaching, learning, and gathering spaces. Across Niagara, Wing and her family founded the Rankin Cancer Run, which has raised millions of dollars for cancer research and support for patients. They have generously supported the Niagara Health System and many other community organizations.

Demonstrating her commitment to enhancing education, Wing was a dedicated member of Niagara College’s Board of Governors from 2016 to 2021, serving as Chair from September 2021 to August 2022 and as Vice-Chair from 2020 to 2021.

“I am deeply honoured and grateful to Niagara College,” said Wing. “I found my time on the Board of Governors enriching, and I am so excited to be back to celebrate with graduates on their special day. I wouldn’t be accepting this honour without the strength and support of our team at Rankin.”

Distinguished Alumni Award: Dave Labbé

 Dave Labbé, a member of the Innu from Northern Quebec, will be presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award during the ceremony on Monday, June 10 at 3 p.m., which celebrates new graduates from the College’s School of Community Services.

Labbé was part of the first class of students at Niagara College in 1967, graduating from the Electronics Engineering Technology program in 1971. Decades later, he returned to the College as an Elder, drawing on his own education to impart knowledge in a way that mirrors the unique learning he experienced as an NC student.

In 1995, Labbé became a Powwow Coordinator at the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre, a role that aligned with his calling to help people. He eventually became the Centre’s Youth Coordinator and soon after managed the youth program full-time, dedicating his efforts to supporting young men in overcoming addictions.

Labbé’s dedication to helping others led him back to Niagara College after his retirement, this time as an Elder. In this role, he mentors students, shares wisdom, and participates in college ceremonies.

In 2023, Labbé received the Celebration of Nations Outstanding Achievement Award for Empathic Traditions, recognizing his transformative work and dedication to supporting Indigenous people within Niagara and beyond. Known as "The Eagle that Flies," Labbé is celebrated for his ability to connect with students, make them feel at ease, and foster a sense of belonging and support.

 Twelve Spring Convocation Ceremonies

NC will host 12 Spring Convocation ceremonies at its Welland Campus, marking a record number of ceremonies for the College. Ceremonies include:

  • June 10, 10 a.m. (School of Justice and Fitness and School of Allied Health)
  • June 10, 3 p.m. (School of Community Services)
  • June 11, 10 a.m. (School of Culinary Arts and School of Environment and Horticulture)
  • June 11, 3 p.m. (School of Hospitality and Tourism and School of Wine, Beer and Spirits)
  • June 12, 10 a.m. (School of Media and School of Trades)
  • June 12, 3 p.m. (School of Technology and School of Trades)
  • June 13, 10 a.m. (School of Business and Management)
  • June 13, 3 p.m. (School of Business and Management)
  • June 14, 10 a.m. (School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker, School of Academic and Liberal Studies, and School of Business and Management)
  • June 14, 3 p.m. (School of Academic and Liberal Studies and School of English Language Studies)
  • June 15, 10 a.m. (School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker)
  • June 15, 3 p.m. (School of Nursing and Personal Support Worker)

A highlight of Spring Convocation will be the presentation of the prestigious Governor General’s Academic Medals to two graduating students who have achieved the highest overall grade-point average (GPA) – one from a diploma program and another from a degree program. Additionally, thirteen graduating students will receive Dean’s Awards for earning the highest GPA within their school of study.

To view the schedule and list of programs graduating within each School, visit the ‘Ceremony Schedule’ section of NC’s Convocation website. NC’s in-person Spring Convocation ceremonies will also be livestreamed via the Convocation website and ceremonies will remain on the website for later viewing.