Don Lovisa will tell you he has the best job anywhere and that Durham College (DC) is the best in Canada. It’s hard not to get caught up in the passion Lovisa brings to his job as president of Durham College, a position he’s held for the past ten years of his 30 plus years in post-secondary education.
Whether he’s walking the halls and talking with students and staff, speaking to groups about the significant impact DC has on the many communities it serves, meeting with government and business partners, or reconnecting with alumni, that passion drives Lovisa.
Since 2008, leading an institution of more than 2,400 full-time and contract employees dedicated to a mission that the student experience comes first, Lovisa focuses on the development of new strategies to support its students, people, business and, community, now and in the future. It’s no wonder this economic and social cornerstone of Durham Region has thrived under his leadership, with more than a $913 million dollar annual impact on the Durham Region.
Lovisa has a Master’s degree in International Management from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, a diploma in Adult Education from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and has completed the course work for a PhD in Community College Leadership through the University of Toronto.
Lovisa arrived at Durham College in July, 2007 as vice-president, Academic. Prior to that, he served 20 years at Confederation College (Ontario, Canada) in progressively senior positions, including dean of the School of Business, Hospitality and Media Arts. Lovisa has also worked internationally, consulting and providing training and teaching in the areas of globalization, market-driven economic transition, international trade, entrepreneurship and business development.
Durham College has thrived under Lovisa’s leadership, growing to more than 12,500 full-time, post-secondary and apprenticeship students and over 30,000 students in total. To support this student population growth, the college has seen more than $200 million invested in new buildings and renovations within the past nine years. Lovisa has negotiated a new strategic mandate agreement with the provincial government; launched Durham College’s first-ever baccalaureate degree in 2018, as well as a research operation that has generated millions of dollars in funding to support local small- and medium-sized enterprises. One of the college’s most recent projects includes the AI Hub, which capitalizes on advances in machine intelligence, automated learning, decision support, optimization, robotics, language/meaning understanding, and advanced manufacturing practices.
Beyond DC, Lovisa is considered a leader in the college system and the broader provincial and national communities. He is currently the Chair of Colleges Ontario and is also driving a group of leaders called the Idea Summit for the establishment of an Innovation Hub in the Durham Region. Lovisa was also founding co-chair of the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT). His track record of success was instrumental in Lovisa receiving the Business Person of the Year Award in 2017 from the Oshawa Chamber of Commerce and the Business Achievement Award in 2011 from the Whitby Chamber of Commerce, among other awards.
Lovisa believes that the success of DC is premised on its dedication to the goals of student success and providing high quality teaching and learning, from whatever role one has at Durham College.
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