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Year in review: Celebrating achievements across the Seneca community

April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016
The 2015-16 academic year was filled with noteworthy accomplishments for Seneca. The following are some of our highlights:

York-Seneca campus in Markham announced
In May, the Ontario government announced that York University’s proposal for a new campus in Markham, with Seneca as its academic partner, was successful. Reza Moridi, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, announced that the proposed York/Seneca campus was chosen from among 19 proposals from universities to locate or expand campuses. The new campus will build on Seneca’s already strong relationship with York through existing programs and partnerships and offer new options for students in Markham, York Region and beyond.

Official grand opening of state-of-the-art Mechatronics lab
In February, Seneca marked the official grand opening of its state-of-the-art Mechatronics Simulation and Demonstration Centre (MSDC) at the Newnham Campus. Seneca partnered with Siemens to develop the first MSDC in Ontario, enabling applications ranging from automation and robotics to industrial maintenance and electro-mechanical technologies. The Ontario government invested $651,000 into MSDC to help students develop the cutting-edge skills they need to strengthen and modernize the province’s manufacturing sector. MSDC houses workstations within an industry-customized teaching space with full simulation capability. The MSDC’s digital factory learning environment supports Siemens Mechatronics Systems certification courses, designed to be integrated into School of Information and Communications Technology curriculum.

Named one of Greater Toronto’s top employers for the sixth time
Once again, Seneca was named one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers for 2016. Greater Toronto’s Top Employers is an annual competition that recognizes local employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work. Employers are compared to other organizations in their field to determine which offer the most progressive and forward-thinking programs. This is the sixth time that Seneca has been named a top employer in the region.

David Agnew addresses Canadian Club
President Agnew spoke at the Canadian Club of Toronto in October representing Colleges Ontario as the Chair of that advocacy association. The President’s speech, "Ontario’s Colleges: Time to chart a new direction in higher education", spoke of the need to deliver a transformative student-centred postsecondary education system. The text of the speech was also featured in the Toronto Star.

Seneca Business officially launches
Seneca's Faculty of Business officially became Seneca Business in January. The launch of the new Seneca Business brand was designed to differentiate Seneca from other business schools and to demonstrate Seneca’s commitment to applied business education. The new brand will also be supported by a dynamic advertising campaign launching in 2016-17.

International ranking recognizes Animation Arts Centre in top 10
The Animation Arts Centre at the Seneca@York Campus was named one of the top 10 animation schools in the world by the Animation Career Review, an online resource for aspiring animation, design and gaming professionals.

Cenotaph recognized by Veterans Affairs Canada
Seneca’s cenotaph at the Newnham Campus was recognized in February by Veterans Affairs Canada. It was listed as one of the nation’s official military memorials. The cenotaph pays tribute to the fallen and those who continue to serve. Since 2014, it has been the location of the Newnham Campus Remembrance Day ceremony.

Sexual assault policy and information website created
A new website, which contains sexual assault information and a link to Seneca’s Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Policy for students and employees was launched in February. The site includes definitions as well as on-campus and external resources. Seneca's policy is based on a provincial template that was developed in consultation with students, employees and partners across the 24 colleges in Ontario. Legal experts, the Ontario Women’s Directorate, provincial student associations and government officials were also consulted.

Degrees are now honours programs
Seneca has been granted the right to use the ‘Honours’ nomenclature for our degree programs. While all of our degrees were designed to meet the Honours Baccalaureate Degree Standard as outlined in the Ontario Qualifications Framework, until recently colleges were prohibited from using the term honours despite the four-year length of the degrees. The use of the title better reflects the level of the credential offered by Seneca and provides students with a degree comparable to other four-year degrees in Ontario.

Strengthening our community

$94,936 raised for students with financial need
The Seneca community once again came together to invest in student potential. The 2015 Campaign for Students raised $94,936.19 with contributions coming from Seneca employees, students, alumni and retirees. During the six-week campaign that wrapped up in April, students and employees held more than 60 fundraising events — 26 more than the previous year — raising $38,127 toward the total.

350 students celebrated at Seneca Awards
A celebration was held at the Newnham Campus in April for 350 students receiving scholarships and bursaries. The Seneca Awards event also recognized more than 130 donors that included corporations, businesses, associations and individuals whose support make the awards possible. The event provided the students the unique opportunity to meet and network with their award donors.

Markham Campus plays host to post-budget meeting
The Honourable Helena Jaczek, MPP for Oak Ridges-Markham and Minister of Community and Social Services and Chris Ballard, MPP for Newmarket-Aurora hosted the York Region Post-budget Breakfast in April at the Markham Campus. President Agnew and Frank Scarpitti, Mayor of the City of Markham, also spoke and welcomed guests to the event that discussed the provincial budget released earlier in the month.

Host to Ontario College Dialogues
In April, the Ontario College Dialogues were held at the Newnham Campus, providing an opportunity for more than 300 high school guidance counsellors to meet representatives from Ontario’s colleges and get the latest information on degree, diploma, certificate and apprenticeship programs. They were also updated on topics such as admissions, financial aid and new facilities.

Health program and services launched at King
Seneca celebrated Mental Health Week with the launch of a new Mental Health Intervention (MHI) graduate certificate program in May and joined with the Canadian Mental Health Association in York Region and South Simcoe to promote a new initiative. The MHI program began classes in the Spring 2015 semester and prepares graduates to identify and assist people with mental health challenges. At the same time, Ontario’s first mobile health clinic for youth ages 12 to 25, was introduced to the community. Called MOBYSS (Mobile York South Simcoe, pronounced mo-bies), the traveling drop-in clinic engages youth where they gather, such as malls, college campuses and skate parks.

Fashion Resource Centre celebrates silver anniversary
Seneca’s Fashion Resource Centre celebrated its 25th anniversary in May with a series of events and campaign entitled Silver is the New Black. The Fashion Resource Centre boasts one of the largest and oldest fashion collections available for study with more than 10,000 garments and accessories from the mid-1800s to the present day.

Peterborough Campus rolls out bike sharing service
Community non-profit bike sharing service B!KE was introduced in May to students and faculty at the Peterborough Aviation Campus. Students and faculty at the Campus can check out bikes at the reception area free of charge. Safety vests, a helmet and lock are also provided. Funding for this initiative was provided by the Dean of Students Office to promote physical fitness, decrease the carbon footprint and enhance the growing bike community at the Peterborough Campus.

Co-host to conference on discrimination prevention
Seneca co-hosted the Canadian Association for the Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment in Higher Education Conference in May. The national conference for Canadian colleges and universities provided professional development in the areas of discrimination and harassment prevention in the postsecondary sector. Panel topics included sexual assault/sexual harassment and employment equity as well as strategies for eliminating racial discrimination.

Partnering with Working Women Community Centre
Seneca’s School of Workforce Skills Development lent its support in May to a project that had received Government of Canada funding. The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Canada’s Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, visited Seneca to announce that the Working Women Community Centre was receiving $187,422 for its 24-month project to address the barriers faced by foreign-trained professionals, including newcomer mothers. The organization works with Seneca and employment partners to reduce systemic barriers experienced by immigrant women in their careers. The recommendations and best practices that result from the project will be shared with other service providers and programs across the country.

ACCE comes to Markham
Seneca International welcomed 100 members from the Association of Canadian Chinese Entrepreneurs (ACCE) to the Markham Campus in June. The group attended a professional development session on trade with China and learned more about the services offered through the Confucius Institute at Seneca.

Steadfast donors receive honorary degrees
In June, Rita and Rudy Koehler were honoured at one of the Spring Convocation ceremonies. Each was presented with an honorary bachelor of applied studies degree for their philanthropic support of Seneca and its students. More than a decade ago, Rita and Rudy established the Koehler Grandchildren Endowment, which is now the largest endowment at Seneca.

HELIX businesses awarded grants
Two businesses created with the help of HELIX, Seneca’s entrepreneurial incubator, were awarded $5,000 grants in August. VentureLAB, the Regional Innovation Centre serving York Region, Simcoe County and Muskoka District, announced the recipients of its funding program for young entrepreneurs. Of the eight grants awarded for 2015, NEXTGen and Pearl’s Choice were among the winners.

  • NEXTGen, created by Bioinformatics student Travis Clements-Khan is currently working on a venture called allerZEN. Travis developed this idea while working with HELIX and had further help after winning a trip to the EuroPITCH2015 competition where he worked with other entrepreneurs to plan a social media platform for allergy sufferers.
  • Pearl’s Choice is an online platform to help families research and find unbiased information on retirement communities. Its founders were not Seneca students, but worked with HELIX to develop their idea and launch the website The company has received $95,000 in private funding.

Seneca Helps: Supporting the cause of Syrian refugees
In September, the Seneca community launched a campaign called ‘Seneca Helps’ to support the relocation of Syrian refugees by collaborating with partner and community organizations as well as other postsecondary institutions. As an organization, Seneca committed to offering full tuition to 10 Syrian refugees settling in Toronto and also contributed to the cause with a number of other initiatives including:

  • Seneca community meeting – President Agnew held a special meeting in December with the Seneca community to discuss how we could assist with the integration of the thousands of Syrian refugees who would be arriving during the next few months. More than 50 students, employees and alumni were in attendance. The meeting provided an opportunity to share information, provide advice and discuss potential support opportunities.
  • Make a Difference fundraising events – Make a Difference fundraising events were held at Newnham and Seneca@York campuses in the fall semester raising $6,000 to aid Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders.
  • Entrepreneurial assistance – Retired Professor Peter A. Miller worked with Social Innovation Canada to support refugees who ran businesses back home by planning workshops, coaching and mentoring.
  • Syrian Refugees in Canada Facebook page – Child Development Practitioner student Zeinab Jajeh, who came to Canada from Syria in 2008, created a Facebook page called Syrian Refugees in Canada for a class project. Students in this class were required to find a way to advocate for families facing a barrier to inclusion. Zeinab chose to provide incoming Syrian refugees with information to help them once they arrive in Canada. Using the page as a meeting point, Zeinab is helping as many Syrians as she can by connecting them to support services and settlement agencies.

Science Fiction author delivers lecture
Seneca welcomed science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger Cory Doctorow to the Newnham Campus in October for a public lecture. In addition to his writing, Cory also works with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, he now lives in Los Angeles.

Behavioral Sciences receives community recognition
The Behavioral Sciences program was recognized by Community Living South York in October for outstanding community collaboration and providing organizations with competent and confident candidates for employment. The program was developed in collaboration with community partners to ensure that its curriculum reflected the needs of the community.

Tipi Welcome Ceremony held
A tipi welcome ceremony took place outside the Newnham Campus in October. The ceremony designated the tipi a sacred space to provide teachings and perform traditional ceremonies. At the ceremony, President Agnew also signed the Indigenous Education Protocol, a document designed to underscore the importance of structures and approaches required to address Indigenous peoples’ learning needs and support self-determination and socio-economic development of Indigenous communities. The signing was witnessed by members of Seneca’s Aboriginal Educational Council and Ontario’s Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and MPP for Willowdale, the Honourable David Zimmer.

Dual Credit bursaries awarded
In October, Seneca presented 18 Dual Credit bursaries worth $1,000 each to secondary school students who successfully completed a dual credit course and were enrolled in a full-time program at Seneca. The Dual Credit program — part of the School-College-Work Initiative — allows high school students to earn a credit toward their secondary school diploma and a Seneca subject to encourage college pathways.

Partnering with TEDxToronto
A partnership with TEDxToronto allowed students and employees to view a live video stream at Seneca’s Newnham Campus as the TEDx event was happening in downtown Toronto. During breaks throughout the conference, Seneca co­hosted TEDxToronto Speakers’ Question and Answer Sessions, allowing students to connect with speakers through a two-way video link and social media. Seneca was the official educational sponsor and a special live stream partner of the conference.

New citizens sworn-in
Markham Campus hosted a swearing-in ceremony for new citizens in October, which was organized in partnership with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Fifty-four new Canadians were sworn in and participated in roundtable conversations about Canadian citizenship, led by Seneca volunteers. First Peoples@Seneca performed a smudging ceremony and brought greetings on behalf of Canada’s First Nations communities.

Serving meals at local shelters
In October, more than 25 Seneca students from the Seneca Leadership Program participated in Seneca Serves, a campus-wide community service learning experience. Students volunteered their time serving meals at shelters in Toronto and helped to prepare land to be used for natural food production. Each semester, students have the opportunity to volunteer for Seneca Serves.

Record $160,645 raised for the United Way
Seneca announced it had raised a record $160,645 in support of its United Way Campaign in November. The money raised supports the more than 250 United Way agencies that work in priority neighbourhoods in Toronto and York Region, while directly affecting the community by creating positive, long-term change.

HELIX hosts Entrepreneurship and Innovation Speaker Series
HELIX, Seneca’s on-campus entrepreneurship incubator, and Seneca Alumni launched an Entrepreneurship and Innovation Speaker Series in February. The Series serves as an opportunity for entrepreneurs to connect with other like-minded individuals to build relationships and share ideas. Guests also have the opportunity to hear from Seneca graduates who turned their ideas into successful business ventures.

Strengthening our partnerships

New agreements forged with global partners
Seneca is one of the most internationally diverse postsecondary institutions in Canada. This year, we welcomed more than 5,500 students from around the world to study across a broad range of programs and signed a number of new agreements with global partners in the areas of academic programming, faculty exchanges, joint research, contract training and education services.

In April, President Agnew travelled to Ottawa to sign a multi-institutional Memorandum of Understanding between Seneca, Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) and India’s National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) in the areas of aviation and healthcare. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Prime Minister Narendra Modi endorsed this partnership during the first state visit to Canada from an Indian prime minister in more than 40 years.

In October, Michelle Hooyboer-Winklaar, the Minister of Education of Aruba, signed a memorandum of understanding for students from Aruba to study at Seneca. The agreement also includes training possibilities in Aruba for Seneca’s Centre for the Built Environment to support the country in its goal to be carbon neutral by as early as 2020. The Minister was raised and educated in Canada before returning to Aruba for a successful business and political career.

In November, President Agnew participated in a series of Memorandum of Understanding signings with various international partners during a Premier’s trade mission to Nanjing, China, expanding on Seneca’s existing education agreements. The mission focused on science, technology and agricultural sectors and building partnerships in healthcare and education.

In February, President Agnew and other postsecondary, business and political leaders travelled to India with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to strengthen Ontario’s economic, political and cultural ties with the world’s third-largest economy. During the week-long mission, the delegation promoted Ontario’s business advantages and created opportunities for new partnerships. They visited four cities — New Delhi, Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Mumbai — formalizing seven memorandums of understanding with partners in the research, infrastructure, technology, science and health sectors.

In July, Seneca and the University of Central Asia (UCA) signed a milestone memorandum of understanding that will see Seneca develop a preparatory program for incoming students as the university gets ready to open its first undergraduate campus in Naryn, Kyrgyz Republic in the fall 2016. The signing ceremony, attended by President Agnew and UCA Executive Board Chair Shamsh Kassim-Lakha, took place at the university’s offices in Bishkek, capital of the Kyrgyz Republic.

First college invited to join SOSCIP
The Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP) announced in August that Seneca was the first college to be invited to join the prestigious research consortium. Launched in 2012, SOSCIP was founded by IBM Canada and seven Ontario universities, including the University of Toronto and McMaster, as a collaborative research consortium. It has a mandate to bring together academic researchers and small- and medium-sized companies to drive innovation using state-of-the-art advanced computing and big data analytics technologies. New investments from IBM and other stakeholders have enabled SOSCIP to expand its computing platforms and resources to increase capacity and add new members.

Funding for immigrant pathways research
Seneca's Centre for Research in Student Mobility received research funding from the Ontario Human Capital Research and Innovation Fund (OHCRIF) in September. The grant supports research for ‘From High School to Graduation and Beyond: Pathways of Young Immigrants in a Toronto College’. Seneca is one of only two provincial colleges to receive funding this year. The OHCRIF supports research and innovation projects that identify better ways to help people prepare for, return to, or keep employment and become productive participants in the labour force.

RBC pledges $300,000 to support mental health initiatives
In November, RBC Foundation pledged $300,000 to support mental health initiatives at King Campus. The donation will fund the bi-annual RBC Royal Bank Mental Health Symposium at Seneca over the next five years as well as various mental health community outreach initiatives for Seneca’s new Mental Health Intervention graduate certificate program.

TD Bank Group donates $100,000
Seneca announced a $100,000 donation from the TD Bank Group to support the development of the TD Bank Group Elder Financial Planning program in February. The new program includes a suite of resources for financial services students that focus on elder financial planning, such as an online training module, a speaker series and student awards. TD’s gift also included capital funding for the King Campus expansion.

Celebrating student achievements

First female to win gold at skills competition
Seneca’s Neha Bharti won a gold medal in MasterCAM at Skills Ontario, formally known as the Ontario Technological Skills Competition and Career Exploration Showcase, held in April in Waterloo. The annual event is hosted by Skills Canada - Ontario to promote careers in skilled trades and technologies. Neha was the first woman Seneca has sent to the event, and was the first woman to ever win the award. This is the second year in a row that Seneca took home the gold.

Top athletes honoured
In April, Felix Adjei, Suzy Yan and Yan Zhou were named Seneca Varsity Athletes of the Year. In March, Yan and Zhou captured gold in women's doubles at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association badminton championships. Meanwhile, Adjei led the men’s basketball team in scoring in 2015-16 and was named an Ontario Colleges Athletics Association first team all-star.

Student named annual VOICES competition winner
Corporate Communications student Jack Hughes was the winner of the annual VOICES competition held at St. Lawrence Hall in Toronto in April. The city-wide speech contest featured contestants from other colleges, who took to the stage to deliver their best public speaking performances on an issues-based topic. Hughes and three other students from the Corporate Communications program were selected by their classmates to represent Seneca in the competition. This year, students from the program planned, promoted and executed the successful event.

Students named Fresh Connection contest winners
In April, Desiree Fong, Denis Iopel, Irene Guo and Kalisa Timofeeva, from the Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management and the Business Administration — Purchasing and Supply Management programs, took top honours in the Fresh Connection simulated business competition. They had the greatest return on investment after a number of rounds running a fictional business.

Students contribute to live comics at the AGO
Seneca’s Independent Illustration students explored the works of artist Emily Carr through comics at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in April. Student involvement was part of Seneca’s sponsorship of the exhibition, From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia. The project was led by faculty JoAnn Purcell and Martha Newbigging. The students participated in multiple events at the AGO showcasing their artistic talents for visitors and supporting the exhibition.

Sting all-stars compete at Rogers Centre
Members of the Seneca Sting varsity men’s baseball team represented Seneca at the Ontario Colleges vs. Ontario Universities All-Star Game at the Rogers Centre in May. Representing the Sting were pitcher Francisco Mata, catcher/infielder Dwaine Nichols and head coach Brian Bates.

Journalism students make SOCIAL visit
In May, forty students from Seneca’s Journalism program and the Summer Institute of Broadcast Journalism visited the CTV building for a live broadcast of The Social, a Canadian talk show co-hosted by Seneca Journalism alumni Traci Melchor and Melissa Grelo. Once the one-hour show ended, Melissa, Traci and the other two hosts conducted a 45-minute Q & A session with the students, sharing their insights into how to find and keep a job in the broadcast industry. Barb Caines, co-ordinator for both programs, organized this opportunity for her students as part of the programming for new student orientation.

Student wins Pan Am gold
Public Relations – Corporate Communications student Jenna Caira helped lead Canada’s women’s softball team to gold at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games in August. She and her teammates upset the favoured American team with a 4-2 victory on the closing day of the Games. Jenna, a pitcher and captain of the Canadian team, is a graduate of Syracuse University where she was recruited because of her softball prowess.

Students featured in first federal election debate coverage
The Seneca@York Campus cafeteria was turned into a screening room in August as students and employees gathered to see a live broadcast of the first federal election debate. The event was covered by the City network and gave national exposure for Seneca through television and webcast. Seneca’s students were interviewed several times during the evening while students from the Journalism, Broadcasting – Television and Event and Media Production programs assisted CityNews with the broadcast and event production of the telecast.

Animation School goes Hollywood
In August, President Agnew, Mark Jones, Chair, School of Creative Arts & Animation, Jim Zubkavich, Professor and Chris Landreth, Oscar-winning director of Seneca co-production Ryan, travelled to Hollywood to meet with representatives of the animation industry and to show samples of Seneca students’ work. The busy week involved meeting at various animation studios, a Seneca film festival for industry insiders and a reception held by the Consulate General of Canada in Los Angeles.

Aviation student wins excellence award
Bachelor of Aviation Technology student Gabriel Kim took part in the finals of the 2015 Webster Memorial Trophy competition in September where he had the highest score in the NAV Canada Excellence in Pilot/Controller Communications exam. Gabriel travelled to Delta B.C. to take part in a week-long series of written exams, simulation trips and flight tests that makes up the Webster competition.

Sting host provincial volleyball championship
The top eight teams in Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) men’s volleyball, including the Seneca Sting, faced off at the provincial championship hosted by Seneca in February. The tournament was ultimately won by the Fanshawe Falcons as they defeated the Mohawk Mountaineers.

Paralegal students win Osgoode Cup
Fourth semester Paralegal students Kate Brklacich and Jen Lorestani won the 2016 Osgoode Cup National Undergraduate Mooting Competition in March. They were the first college students to ever win the 12-year-old contest. They competed against 105 teams by presenting an appeal to a panel of judges, focusing on specific legal issues.

Students win advertising competition
Gemma Managan, Vinesh Beharry, Carole Ineichen, Daniel Panno, Kelly Yuen and Andy Bugelli, students from Seneca’s Creative Advertising program took first place in advertising agency Grip Limited’s annual Orange Juicer Competition in March. The students won three-month positions in the agency’s apprenticeship program.

ACCE Scholarship awarded to two Seneca students
Two Seneca students won the Association of Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs (ACCE) Scholarship Award in March. Awarded at the annual ACCE Gala were Suet Ng, currently studying in the Business Administration - Entrepreneurship and Small Business advanced diploma program and Jay Chan, currently studying in the Bachelor of Commerce – Business Management honours degree program. They received $1,000 each for their academic achievements and student leadership. The annual scholarship is presented by ACCE to foster entrepreneurship training.

  • Sting continue winning ways
    In March, Seneca’s Varsity Women’s Indoor Soccer team captured the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) Championship for the second time in three years. Jamie Smith was named Championship MVP for her efforts leading the Sting’s defence against the top teams in the province. Goalkeeper Kaitlyn James was outstanding, allowing only one goal in five matches during the two-day championship.
  • The Varsity Women’s Curling team won the annual OCAA Curling Championships with a 5-4 win over defending champs Fanshawe College. Kim Headley (Lead), Courtney Mabee (Second), Kendra Pierce (Vice) and Stephanie Vanhuyse (Skip) were coached by Peter Cadorin.
  • Badminton duo Rachel Nham and Yan Zhou were crowned 2016 OCAA Badminton Champions in Women’s Doubles. In Men’s Singles, Seneca’s Wenchao Shi captured gold. Rachel and Yan went on to win the silver at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association finals in Vancouver.

Seneca Cup winner
Fatema Somji, Business Administration - Entrepreneurship and Small Business grad was named winner of the Seneca Cup. The Seneca Cup is Seneca’s most prestigious award recognizing excellence in academic achievement and an active commitment to improve the quality of student life at Seneca. A native of Kenya, Fatema served as an on-campus ambassador, SMILE mentor, photographer and Seneca Green Citizen. In 2014-15 she was elected as the student representative on the Board of Governors. Fatema now works as a member of Seneca’s Institutional Research team as an analyst.

Student leaders honoured
The Seneca Student Leadership Awards were presented at a ceremony held in The Great Hall in March. The Leadership Awards are given to students to recognize outstanding contributions to student life, leadership roles, and excellence in academics. More than 30 students from across the Seneca community were honoured.

Celebrating achievements of faculty and staff

Broadcast professor represents radio program at national conference
Jim Carr was part of a panel at the Broadcast Education Association National Conference in Las Vegas in April, discussing the use of social media in the classroom, particularly as it relates to radio broadcasting instruction. Jim has been instrumental in adopting social media into the radio curriculum, and has incorporated state-of-the-art software that allows students to pair their broadcasts on S@Y Radio with content on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Faculty member receives fellowship award
In May, Jeremy O’Krafka was inducted as a John Dobson Enactus Fellow. Each year, Enactus Canada, an organization that promotes and fosters entrepreneurial action, recognizes people who have made outstanding contributions in the past academic year as a mentor and coach to students involved in an Enactus team on their campus. In addition to his role as Seneca’s official Enactus faculty advisor, Jeremy supports several on-campus entrepreneurship activities at Seneca, including Startup Weekend York Region and HELIX.

Professor picture takes long journey to bestseller list
The work of professor Ron Erwin showed up unexpectedly on the cover of an international bestseller in May. Editors at Penguin Books had purchased a photo of his from a stock site and used it for the cover of The Boys in the Boat, the dramatic true-life story of the U.S. rowing team at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The book captured the number one spot on The New York Times paperback nonfiction bestseller list and was named the Nonfiction Book of the Year in 2014 by the American Booksellers Association. For more than 20 years, Erwin has been translating his love of nature and passion for photography into photographic images of Canada. His work has been used commercially and in corporate interiors, and appears regularly (and sometimes unexpectedly) in countless publications.

Educator receives national award
Director of Teaching and Learning Valerie Lopes was recognized with a 2015 College Sector Educator Award from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) in June. Valerie is one of only five educators from across Canada to receive the award, which celebrates individuals who promote and support the development of their peers and teaching excellence at Canadian colleges. She was formally honoured by the STLHE at an awards ceremony in British Columbia.

Long-serving employees reach career milestone
In June, 26 Seneca employees celebrated their 25 years of service milestone. These staff members were honoured for their hard work and commitment at Seneca’s annual 25-Year Employee Appreciation Reception, which was held in The Great Hall at Newnham Campus. Each employee was presented with a commemorative pin by President Agnew, recognizing their service.

Dean recognized for postsecondary achievements
Susan Savoie was named the 2015 recipient of the Doug Light Lifetime Achievement Award in June. The annual award is presented by the Ontario College Administrative Staff Association (OCASA) to an individual who has significantly influenced college education throughout his or her career. Susan has worked at Seneca for more than 20 years. In her role as Dean of the Faculty of Continuing Education and Training, she helped create flexible course delivery offerings, including online, hybrid and early starts for in-class and fast-track opportunities. In addition to her work at Seneca, Susan currently serves as one of 14 directors of the Ontario Online Learning Collaborative and has chaired the OntarioLearn committee evaluating submissions to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities’ Shared Course Development Fund. She is also a former chair of the Ontario Heads of Continuing Education, and has worked in cooperation with Algonquin College to deliver the Autism and Behavioural Science Ontario Graduate Certificate Program online. Susan was honoured at the annual OCASA Leaders and Innovators Conference, which took place in King City.

New book opens the door to historic home
In June, Kelly Mathews turned her interest in Eaton Hall, the historic residence of the Lady Eaton — the matriarch of Canada’s famous retail family — into a new book. The book, entitled Eaton Hall: Pride of King Township, takes readers back in time inside the seventy-five year old King Campus property. The iconic residence served as the centre of life for the Eaton family and many King residents. An official book launch ceremony took place at the residence in September and included guests such as John C. Eaton II, grandson of Lady Eaton, Steve Pellegrini, King Township Mayor and members of local heritage and historical groups.

Professor recognized for volunteer work
Nanda Lwin was recognized in June by the provincial government for a decade of work with Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO). Nanda was honoured at the Ontario Volunteer Services Awards ceremony, which took place at the Isabel Bader Theatre. Nanda has served in several capacities with PEO, including Chair, Vice-Chair and has worked on several committees. In 2011, he was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for his involvement in the chapter.

Professor's work nominated for Emmy
Professor Engin Arslan was a member of the visual effects team nominated for a 2015 Emmy for their work on Vikings, the historical drama on the History Channel. The team's work has received several nominations during its run and has won a Canadian Screen Award (2015) and a Gemini (2014).

Administrators win provincial accessibility awards
Dr. Terry McQuaid, Director of Counselling and Accessibility Services, and Ingrid Ali, Manager of Diversity and Inclusion, were named winners of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 10th Anniversary Champion Award. Terry was recognized in November for the work she has done to increase the capacity of frontline staff to respond to students with highly complex mental health and accessibility issues. She has also worked closely with departments and schools to ensure the proper resources are in place for students. Ingrid was presented with her award in February for demonstrating passion and commitment in the promotion of awareness of accessibility and inclusiveness in their communities.

Seneca prof wins for interactive project
Professor Slavica Ceperkovic was the Content Producer for the award-winning Open Heart: Unlocked! app. It allows viewers of the television show Open Heart to examine clues during each episode and was named this year’s winner in the Interactive Content — Kids category of the nextMEDIA Digi Awards held in November. The awards are Canada’s annual showcase to highlight the best in digital content and technologies.

Named among the most influential Canadians in baseball
Bill Humber, professor and director of Eco-Seneca Initiatives, was recognized among the top 100 most influential Canadians in baseball in January. Environmental educator and sports historian, Humber was ranked in seventy-second place on the annual list published by the Toronto Sun — among only a handful of other sports experts. He is a selector for Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and Canada’s Baseball Hall of Fame, and has published several books about baseball.

Professors named featured filmmakers by TVO
In January, professors Sun-Kyung (Sunny) Yi and John Hassett Cuff were named 2016 featured filmmakers for TVO’s Short Doc Contest. The pair, founders of the Documentary Filmmaking Institute, have produced and directed more than a dozen documentaries that have garnered national and international awards and worldwide broadcasts. They served as judges for 2016 contest entries, providing two days of mentoring to the winner. TVO’s Short Doc contest is aimed at aspiring documentary filmmakers in Ontario, providing an opportunity to jumpstart their filmmaking career.

Hockey Hall of Fame inductee receives African Canadian Achievement Award
Angela James, received the 2016 African Canadian Achievement Award for Excellence in Sports. Considered the first superstar of Canadian women’s hockey, she is one of three female inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Angela has influenced countless students and athletes at Seneca and has been instrumental in encouraging youth in the Flemington Park community where she grew up. She was presented with the award in February at a gala that celebrated the achievements and contributions of African Canadians to their communities and the country.

Grads and professor take home Canadian Screen Awards
Two graduates and a faculty member were named recipients of the 2016 Canadian Screen Awards (CSA) in March. The awards honour Canadian productions and talent who excel in front of the camera and behind the scenes in film, television and digital media. This year’s winners from Seneca were:

  • Engin Arslan received the CSA for Best Visual Effects for his post-production lighting work on Vikings — To The Gates!
  • Michael Nunan was presented with a special Outstanding Technical Achievement Award for his groundbreaking work at the Much Music Video Awards. He created an all-digital router-based audio system that raised the audio quality well above previous standards. The system was adopted for the opening ceremonies of the 2015 Pan Am Games, the American MTV Awards and the Olympic Broadcasting Service in Europe.
  • Andi Petrillo received the CSA for Best Host in a Sports Program or Series for her work on Pan Am Afternoon, CBC-TV’s program on the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games.

Celebrating achievements of alumni

Journalism alumni return to face questions
Seneca Journalism alumni returned to Seneca in April to share the realities of working in broadcast journalism with current students. Alumni at the event included Claude Feig, TSN Sports; Issac Cohen, CTV News Northern Ontario; Katarina Milicevic, Bell Media; Matthew Kang, CBC; and Pooja Handa, CP24.

Game Art and Animation grad earns apprenticeship
Lilian Chow, a graduate of Seneca’s Game Art and Animation program, was named the winner of the 2015 UBI Gallery Artist Apprenticeship in May. Ubisoft Toronto, a leading creator of video games, hosts an annual competition to showcase and discover video game art and design talent. As part of the contest, participants from postsecondary schools in Ontario submitted a portfolio of their best 2D and 3D concept, character and personal artwork. A panel of Ubisoft Toronto artists then selected the five finalists to compete for the title of UbiGallery Artist Apprentice. Lillian was awarded the grand prize of a three-month paid apprenticeship at Ubisoft Toronto for her artistic recreation of Thomas Edison’s lab.

Aviation grad's star on the rise
Bachelor of Aviation Technology graduate Erin Grant was named the 2015 Elsie MacGill Northern Lights Rising Star recipient in June. The national award is presented annually to a woman between the ages of 16 and 30, who has demonstrated exceptional promise of leadership and contribution in any area of aviation and aerospace, or in a volunteer capacity. The award is named after Elsie Gregory MacGill, the world’s first female aircraft designer. Since graduating from the College in 2013, Erin has worked as a first officer with ‪Jazz Aviation LP. She also serves as a flight instructor at the School of Aviation and at the Central Ontario Gliding Centre. During her studies, Erin received many accolades including being named valedictorian and a recipient of the Seneca Cup — our most prestigious student award.

Young designers assisted in launching their careers
Seneca partnered with veteran designer and Seneca professor Zoran Dobric to offer recent fashion alumni a platform to launch their careers at World MasterCard Fashion Week (WMCFW) in October. RED: Emerging Designers Showcase, took place at David Pecaut Square in Toronto, and featured a runway show that included five pieces each from eight recent Seneca School of Fashion alumni. Zoran, who has taught fashion design at Seneca for eight years and who is also showing at WMCFW, took on this project with a goal of giving new designers an opportunity to display their talents to an industry audience who otherwise likely would not see their work. The Globe and Mail called the showcase “a standout at Toronto Fashion Week”.

Two current fashion students also showcased their outerwear designs at this year’s WMCFW. Wanjing Zuo and Roxanne Reid were among 15 finalists in a competition sponsored by Sears Canada and Adorable Outerwear and supported by the Toronto Area Safety Coalition. In September, they competed against students from across Ontario to create outerwear garments that incorporated enhanced visibility and safety features, while remaining innovative and stylish. 

Graduate wins Premier's Award
In November, Marc Caira, a graduate of Business Administration – Marketing, was presented with the Premier's Award by the Honourable Reza Moridi, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. Winning in the Business category, Marc is the Vice-Chairman of Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of Tim Hortons and Burger King. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Hydro One and Minto Homes. During his 40-year business career Marc has served as CEO of Tim Hortons, CEO of Nestle Professional World Wide and CEO of Parmalat North America. Marc was named the Canadian Press "Business Newsmaker of the Year" in 2014 for the $11 billion (U.S.) deal pairing Tim Hortons and Burger King. He is also a former member of Seneca's Board of Governors and will be returning to the board in September 2016.

The 2015 Premier’s Awards recognize the tremendous contribution Ontario’s college graduates make to the success of the province. Every year, up to six noteworthy Seneca alumni are nominated. Along with Marc, the outstanding nominees for this year’s Premier's Awards were:

  • Candice Batista: Candice is a graduate of Broadcasting — Radio & Television (Journalism) and is currently the eco-expert and the health and wellness producer for CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show.
  • Tony Lourakis: After graduating from Computer Studies, Tony became the co-founder and CEO of Complete Innovations, a software solution that enables clients across North America to track vehicles and mobile workers from a single platform.
  • Fabio Rotondo: A graduate of Biological Research Technology, Fabio is the Laboratory Manager and a Research Associate in the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Pathology at St. Michael’s Hospital.
  • Brett Kemp: Barry is a Patrol Sergeant and Front-line Supervisor for York Regional Police and a graduate of Seneca’s Law Enforcement program.
  • Perdita Felicien: She is a two-time Olympian, 10-time Canadian champion and world champion hurdler. Since retiring from competition, Perdita has entered into a second career as a broadcaster and motivational speaker after graduating from the Broadcast Journalism Summer Institute.

Grads contribute to Oscar winner
Two alumni contributed to Inside Out, winner for the Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards in February. Deanna Marsigliese, a 3D Animation graduate, worked as a Character Artist and Graham Finley, an Animation graduate, also worked on the film as a Fix and Additional Animator. Both alumni work at Pixar Animation Studios in California. Deanna graduated from Seneca in 2005 then taught character animation and design at Seneca. She was involved in conceptualizing several of the main characters in Inside Out before Pixar moved her to California to continue work on the film. Deanna then worked with modellers to design characters in 3D, which included collaborating with costumer designers, and laying the 'blueprints' for many of the tertiary background characters.

Seneca At A Glance

  • 10 campuses in Toronto, York Region and Peterborough
  • 92 per cent employer satisfaction rate
  • A leader in flexible learning with one of the largest Faculties of Continuing Education and the highest summer enrolment among Ontario colleges
  • Named among the most entrepreneurial colleges and universities in Ontario by Startup Canada


  • 28,000 full-time students annually
  • 70,000 continuing education registrants annually
  • Almost 8,000 students graduate from Seneca every year
  • Approximately 5,500 international students from 140 countries


With more than 500 career options and an abundance of program offerings, Seneca features more than 150 full-time programs and 140 part-time programs, including:

  • 12 Degrees
  • 72 Diplomas
  • 29 Advanced Diplomas
  • 22 Certificates
  • 42 Post-graduate certificates


  • Seneca is number one among Ontario colleges to send graduates on to university through postsecondary partnerships
  • More than 60 partner institutions in Ontario and worldwide
  • Through Ontario’s School-College-Work Initiative, more than 1,000 dual credit students from nine local school boards are enrolled at Seneca each year

Senior Administration Listing

  • President
    David Agnew
  • Vice-President, Academic
    Joy McKinnon
  • Vice-President, Finance and Administration
    Nevzat Gurmen
  • Vice-President, External
    Ana White

Board of Governors

  • David Agnew, President
  • Fariba Anderson
  • Janet Beed (Vice-Chair)
  • Doug Brooks (Vice-Chair)
  • Thomas Carrique
  • Lois Cormack
  • Aryan Desai (Student Governor)
  • Colleen Fleming
  • Donna Duncan (Chair)
  • John Honderich
  • Warren Jestin
  • Alice Keung
  • Mina Miwani
  • Case Ootes
  • Naki Osutei
  • Kevin Reinhardt (Faculty Governor)
  • Mike Shaver
  • Mark Solomon (Administrative Staff Governor)
  • David Tsubouchi
  • Karen Webb (Vice-Chair)
  • Stanley White (Support Staff Governor)

New Program Offerings

New high-quality programs this year

Full-time programs

Continuing Education certificates:

  • Legal Assistant 
  • Paralegal
  • Sustainable Planning and Development