Conestoga College received a golden anniversary present earlier this year, thanks to the Ontario government.
Cambridge MPP Kathryn McGarry, who is also Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, visited the college’s Doon campus on April 7 to announce a gift of $1.8 million.
In honour of the 50th anniversary of Ontario’s public college system, the province is providing $50 million in one-time capital grants to the 24 publicly assisted colleges to enhance the student experience.
“This is a huge investment in the future success of college students throughout the province,” said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. “It reinforces the pivotal role that colleges will play in producing a more qualified and highly skilled workforce in this new age of accelerating automation.”
In presenting the funding to Conestoga, McGarry said, “Conestoga College has a well-earned reputation for graduates with the skills, savvy and enthusiasm to build up Ontario’s future. I’m a nurse who trained in the Ontario college system, so I’m always pleased to support students with the technology they need to become our future community and business leaders.”
Conestoga has a major expansion underway at the Waterloo campus, which is expected to cost $43.5 million and will double its size, and will use the money for instructional technology, equipment and furnishings. The renovation of the campus will see the development of a new Culinary Institute, increased capacity for the delivery of information technology and related programming, and an Access Hub that will provide services for new Canadians and others across the community as they transition toward successful careers.
“For the last 50 years, Conestoga and Ontario’s other public colleges have advanced prosperity across the communities we serve while supporting individuals in their efforts to build successful futures for themselves and their families,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits. “We appreciate this contribution by the province as a commemoration of our past achievements and an investment in our future.”
Ontario colleges were established in 1967 to provide a post-secondary education different than universities. Colleges were to focus on vocational, technical and general education, providing students with the skills required to serve workforce needs. Since that time, Ontario’s public colleges have produced more than two million graduates.