From Backpack to Briefcase – DC supports student and alumni success

Durham College (DC) has launched an exciting new initiative to further help students and alumni make smooth transitions from college to the workplace and succeed throughout their careers.

The Backpack to Briefcase (b2B) initiative, which is offered in partnership with DC’s Office of Development and Alumni Affairs, Career Development and the Office of Student Diversity, Inclusion and Transitions, provides students and new alumni with access to insight, skills and networks in addition to the expertise they gain in their academic programs.

DC’s b2B events include opportunities to:

  • Connect with employers
  • Learn how to build a comprehensive, relevant and appropriate social media presence
  • Gain valuable leadership skills

These are just a few examples of the non-academic components that are essential to achieving success as a young professional. 

The initiative also supports DC’s Co-curricular Recognition program, which acknowledges students’ participation in campus activities that complement their resumes, portfolios, academic transcripts and more. Students will receive one leadership point for attending four or more of the b2B events offered throughout the academic year. 

“This is a very positive initiative that will better enable DC to support our students from their first day with us, when they enter the workforce, and throughout their careers,” said Don Lovisa, president, Durham College. “The b2B program is another example of DC’s commitment to ensuring that the student experience comes first.”

In addition, students and alumni who attend select b2B events will be eligible to win a $100 door prize. To learn more about b2B and register for coming events, including those with door prizes, please visit  

DC helps make it a ‘Merry Little Christmas’ for a local woman hoping to attend college

On December 15, Durham College (DC) helped make the holidays a little merrier for a local high school student with dreams of attending DC to study nursing. The college welcomed Samantha Garrow to its Oshawa campus where a smiling crew, including DC President Don Lovisa, was waiting to take her on a tour, offer guidance on planning for her post-secondary studies, and present her with a tuition certificate to the college.

Earlier in the month, Garrow was nominated and selected to receive some extra help this holiday season as part of Toronto-based 99.9 Virgin Radio’s annual Merry Little Christmas campaign. Garrow’s incredible story of pursuing her education while also caring for her young daughter on her own included a wish to someday study nursing at DC. Ross Carnwith, manager of Ancillary Services with the college, was listening that morning. He was so inspired by what he heard that he took quick action to bring Garrow’s story to the attention of his DC colleagues.

“When Ross shared Samantha’s story and wish to study at Durham College, we were moved to reach out to her,” said Lovisa. “She is working incredibly hard to earn her high school diploma and realize her educational goals so that she can make a better life for her daughter and herself. As a college, we are committed to giving back to the community, particularly during this season of giving, and are proud to be able to offer her some assistance.”

With the help of Virgin Radio’s morning show, Tucker in the Morning, DC was able to connect with Garrow. While visiting the college’s campus, she was given a glimpse into what a future studying at DC could look like as well as information on the admissions requirements and process related to DC’s Practical Nursing program.

“I am overwhelmed with everything that’s been going on,” said Garrow. “I can’t even express how grateful I am.”

A year of accomplishment for DC student musician Cale Crowe

As his last live performance of the year quickly approaches, Durham College (DC) student Cale Crowe feels confident about setting new goals for 2017.

On Friday, December 30, the third-year Music Business Management (MBM) student will play his 112th show of the year at Oshawa’s The Moustache Club, greatly surpassing his goal of doing 100 shows in 2016.

In addition to besting his goal, Crowe also landed a plum MBM work placement position at Warner Music Canada as a digital marketing intern.

“I wouldn’t have been able to land this internship if it wasn’t for my program at DC,” said the modern folk-rock troubadour, who has several videos on YouTube. “The MBM program has taught me how to be a better speaker and listener. The classes also provide safe learning spaces where it’s acceptable to make mistakes and to learn from them. The professors are there to not only share their knowledge, but to make sure students understand it, and that’s because they care about both the students and the future of the music industry.”

Crowe’s placement has allowed him to connect with people in different departments at Warner Music Canada and gain diverse experience. “A lot of my job involves collecting raw data and helping my superiors and supervisors analyze and interpret it. I’ve also done some work with the A&R [Artists & Repertoire] department.”  

His studies and training at DC have provided him with a foundation for a career and a life in music that he has always wanted, said Crowe, who was born and raised in Alderville, near Cobourg, and performs regularly in Kingston, Peterborough and Oshawa.

While 2016 has been a very good year for him, 2015 wasn’t bad either as Crowe released his debut album, Stars and Promises, which is available on iTunes. Looking ahead, as he prepares to graduate in 2017, Crowe feels positive about his life in music. “I crave the atmosphere that surrounds the music industry – be it live performance or administrative work, or something in between, as long as I’m contributing to music I will be satisfied.”

Crowe says he may even set a goal of 200 live shows in the New Year.

Photo credit: Lana Missen

Campus community celebrates newest athletics facility

The impressive list of leading-edge athletics facilities at Durham College’s (DC) Oshawa campus grew this fall with the opening of the Campus Fieldhouse, a multi-sport turf centre that the college shares with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). Formerly the Campus Tennis Centre, the transformed facility features two playing fields that can accommodate a variety of intramural sports and activities including soccer, field lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, flag football and bubble soccer, among others.

An official opening for the Campus Fieldhouse was held on November 24, which included a ribbon-cutting by Don Lovisa, president, Durham College and Tim McTiernan, president and vice-chancellor, UOIT. The celebration also saw students participate in an exciting score-to-win contest and an intramural game of soccer.

“We are excited to celebrate the opening of the Campus Fieldhouse, a facility that opens up a new world of athletic and recreational opportunities for our students,” said Ken Babcock, director, Campus Athletics. “Transitioning the tennis centre into the fieldhouse has been a positive move for students on campus. This is a facility that will serve as a hub for community activities for years to come.” 

When not being used by the Department of Athletics, the Campus Fieldhouse is available to be rented by community recreational leagues and other sport organizations. It can even be rented for birthday party celebrations.

To learn more about Campus Fieldhouse availability, contact Marta Prado or call 905.721.3122. Facility updates are also posted at

Campus Fieldhouse facts and benefits:

  • Creates new recreational space for students at the Oshawa campus that can be used year-round.
  • Provides new opportunities for students and the community to participate in a wide variety of sports and activities.
  • Available for varsity athletic teams to train and prepare for competition, including the DC Lords.
  • Approximate size of turf field: two adjacent fields, each measuring 30 metres wide by 45 metres long, separated by a vertical net.
  • Turf composition: artificial sand-based infill grass system (similar to the surface used by the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre).
  • Change room onsite.
  • Hours: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.
  • The Campus Fieldhouse sports bubble is located along Founders Drive, near the Campus Ice Centre and Vaso’s Field (north of Conlin Road and west of Simcoe Street).


DC grad awarded by gallery for her creative photography

Durham College (DC) graduate Stephanie Foden has been recognized for finding art from behind the camera.

The 2011 graduate of Media Art and Design’s (MAD) Print and Broadcast Journalism program, has won the Emerging Photographer Award at this year’s Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) Exposed photography exhibition and auction on November 12. The award prize is a solo exhibition at the Oshawa gallery during the Contact Photography Festival in May. She also won the Community Choice Award as voted on by attendees of RMG Exposed.   

Foden said the college’s programs, resources and staff enabled her to explore many facets of media work. “I had some wonderful profs in my first and second years, such as Brian Legree (Journalism) and Gerry Rose (retired, Journalism professor and program coordinator).” She especially credits her third-year broadcast professor, Anna Rodrigues, for inspiring her to progress as a professional. “She’s a very innovative teacher and is always looking for new media and different forms of storytelling,” said Foden.

“With an open mind, I explored each field of journalism. I easily took to photography more than anything else. The ability to rent equipment and explore this possible career option helped my decision.”

In her third year, she focused on photojournalism learning valuable skills such as blogging, social media and how to integrate different forms of media into her storytelling. “I also learned more about being a documentarian and long-form storytelling, which I enjoy more than anything,” explained Foden, adding that she also enjoyed her college field placement at Canadian Geographic in Ottawa. “They had me working on incredible stories for both the magazine and multimedia for their website. After the internship they sent me on assignment and it was an amazing way to start my career off.”

Following graduation, she was hired as the managing editor of Downtown Oshawa News (DON). DON was developed by Rodrigues with funding from DC’s research and innovation funds as a project-based learning experience for journalism students.

Foden is currently planning her solo exhibition for the RMG in the spring, and is working on a personal project in Brazil. “I hope to continue to progress as a photojournalist, both working on personal work and assignments.”

Her RMG awards are an example of the valuable community relationship the gallery and the college have. “As a former associate dean of MAD and this year’s Chair of RMG Exposed, I was particularly pleased with Stephanie’s award-winning work,” said Charlotte Hale.

DC has been a sponsor of the RMG Exposed event for seven years. Students in the Fine Arts – Advanced program in the School of Media, Art & Design are given memberships and use the gallery for research and exhibitions throughout the year. Students also connect with local young artists, writers, photographers and musicians at RMG Fridays, in which live music, interactive art and social networking occur each month.

Grad credits DC for preparing her for a new career at Global News

Recent graduate Katie Scott is applying what she learned in the Broadcasting – Radio and Contemporary Media program at Durham College (DC) to her new career as a national online journalist covering entertainment and lifestyle stories at

“My Durham College education prepared me for my current role at Global News by teaching me the skills I needed in order to land an internship and stand out from the crowd,” said the 2016 graduate. (The program was formerly Broadcasting for Contemporary Media.)

“My DC education taught me a lot about meeting deadlines in the broadcasting industry. I was also able to explore every aspect of broadcasting before deciding which part of the industry I wanted to work in,” she said.

“I love entertainment and I was very happy that a lot of my projects at DC encouraged me to report on my favourite celebrities. I also felt that having a radio show on Riot Radio, called Spill The Tea, was an amazing experience and allowed me to teach others about the entertainment industry while debating hip-hop topics with my two co-hosts,” she said.

Scott added that she loves the diversity of her work at Global News, where she did her field placement as part of the college’s program. “In my work, an average week consists of pitching and writing stories about anything that is happening in the entertainment industry or viral videos. I come into work every morning and I discuss the trending stories for the day with my editor and we discuss what topics are worth covering. We also work with the online video team to create video content for the stories we publish, sometimes doing voice-overs.”

As a part of Corus Entertainment, her stories are also available on SoCast radio outlet websites and Facebook pages, such as those belonging to Q107 and Fresh FM.

Scott says that she has already learned so much from her editors as she continues to hone her skills. But it was her start at DC that put her on a pathway to success in her new career. “I would love to come to speak to DC students about what I do. In fact, one of my teachers from the program, Anna Rodrigues, has asked me to come in and speak to interns getting ready for their field placements next semester.”

Phil Raby, professor and program co-ordinator of DC’s Broadcasting – Radio and Contemporary Media (BRCM), said, “Our BRCM is one of the few two-year diploma programs in Canada that teaches not only traditional radio and television production, but also a variety of content creation skills for new and emerging online media.” He added, “Passionate and driven students like Katie, who make the most of that training, wind up with a diverse set of skills and knowledge that make them very desirable prospects for a wide variety of forward-thinking employers like Corus Entertainment.”

Durham College breaks ground for its new Centre for Collaborative Education

Members of the Durham College (DC) community, including retirees, alumni, students, employees, elected officials, and industry and community partners, gathered on November 25 to celebrate the official groundbreaking for DC’s new Centre for Collaborative Education (CFCE).

The event marked the start of a new chapter at DC while also honouring its past. The CFCE, a legacy project tied to DC’s 50th anniversary in 2017, will replace the aging Simcoe building, which has long been at the heart of the college’s Oshawa campus.

“When I reflect on how our small community college has evolved over the past 50 years into a leading post-secondary institution serving communities locally, nationally and even worldwide, I can’t help but wonder what the next 50 years will bring,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC.

Lovisa added that while there are many exciting changes ahead for DC, one thing will remain constant – the college will always maintain its commitment to ensuring the student experience comes first.

“Staying true to our mission will be vital to ensuring our students achieve success, and together we can elevate a thriving Durham community for the prosperity of future generations,” he said.

The groundbreaking commenced with a blessing offered by Kim Wheatley, an Anishinaabe Traditional Grandmother, to honour the territory of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation on which the college sits and was followed by hot beverages for all and a toast from Lovisa to DC’s past, present and future.

The event also included a piece of the Simcoe building being removed that will be incorporated into the new CFCE, a symbolic integration of the old with the new.

A crossroad of education, services, supports and community, the CFCE will serve as a unique academic and cultural access point for students that brings together local, Indigenous and global community groups along with members of key business sectors.

DC thanks everyone who was able to attend the CFCE ground breaking celebration and who have contributed to the college over the past 50 years. Together we are building something amazing.

DC students’ field-to-fork “Five-Mile Burger” is tops at Taste Canada competition

A burger, and the story behind it, won the day for Durham College (DC) students at a national competition this month.

Culinary Management students Victoria Rinsma and Jonathan Soligo, and Advanced Baking and Pastry Arts student Kristin Atwood competed against their peers from other colleges in the Taste Canada Cooks the Books competition at the 2016 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto on November 12.

With competitors tasked with preparing dishes provided by Taste Canada cookbook authors, the DC team took on Barry C. Parsons’ recipe for a peanut butter sriracha bacon cheeseburger from his cookbook Rock Recipes 2. Not only was their recipe creative and delicious, but the story behind the dish provided the extra dash of local flair the students needed to win the title of Best New Student Chefs.

“Since starting at DC, I have really found a love and passion for locally-sourced food as well as growing your own ingredients. So being able to promote and showcase those things at the competition was great,” said Rinsma.

“We applied our field-to-fork philosophy in making the burger, as we do with everything at DC’s W. Galen Weston Centre for Food (CFF),” said proud coach Peter Lee, professor and program coordinator of the Culinary Programs at the CFF in Whitby.

In their presentation of the burger to competition judges, the DC students described where each locally-sourced ingredient came from, inspiring Parsons to dub it “the Five-Mile Burger”.

Many of the key ingredients such as onions, peppers, zucchini and the student-prepared relish came from the CFF gardens. The star ingredient, a triple-A sirloin, came from the CFF’s Advanced Butchery lab. The bacon was made pancetta-style and double-smoked by the students to make the pan-seared burger double delicious. No ordinary bun would do for this creation. So a recipe from DC’s Advanced Baking and Pastry Arts post-graduate program for a special brioche bun served as the proverbial icing on the cake.

The competition also required students to create a signature garnish featuring canola oil in honour of event sponsor the Canola Council of Canada. In keeping with DC’s field-to-fork vision, the team also made beer-battered onion rings with an onion from the CFF garden and a blonde ale beer from Whitby’s own Brock Street Brewing Company. The rings were cooked in canola oil and served with spicy sesame aioli sauce made from canola as well.

If the description of the students’ burger and onion rings is making you hungry, Lee says Bistro ’67, DC’s full-service teaching-inspired restaurant inside the CFF, may feature it on the menu in the new year. So start lining up now! 

DC wins Whitby Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Award

Durham College (DC) announced today that it has won a prestigious Whitby Chamber of Commerce 2016 Business Achievement Award in the category of Business Achievement (50+ employees). The awards were presented on November 17 at a gala held at the Deer Creek Golf & Banquet Facility.

“On behalf of everyone at DC, I’d like to thank the Whitby Chamber of Commerce for this 2016 Business Achievement Award, which recognizes the college as a valued member of the business community and contributor to the growth of Whitby and Durham Region,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC. “To be acknowledged by our peers in this way is a testament to the tireless work of our employees to enhance the business community through initiatives such as partnerships, program expansion, research and innovation, and creating a healthy workplace.”

The Peter Perry & Business Achievement Awards are held each year to recognize the success and outstanding contributions of companies and individuals within the Whitby Chamber of Commerce membership. Winners are honoured for their excellence in one or more of the following areas of operation: enhancement to the broader business community; business development and company growth; strategic alliances and partnerships; community relations; product or service advancement; brand profile and reputation; marketing/branding innovation; and healthy workplace.

Over the past six years, DC has invested more than $45 million at the Whitby campus to further its evolution into a community hub focused on innovative learning, skilled trades and applied research, highlights of which include:

  • The addition of new skilled trades programs, including Mechanical Technician – Elevating Devices that will launch in January 2017.
  • The ongoing development of cold-frame technology by faculty and student researchers, making it possible to grow fresh, local produce year-round by harnessing the sun’s energy and redirecting it to support growth on cold days. Cold-frame technology uses framed boxes built from cedar wood that have special insulation and triple polycarbonate glass on top. Filled with sand, the boxes direct heat collected from the sun to stimulate growth.
  • The W. Galen Weston Centre for Food (CFF). The CFF is focused on the sustainable field-to-fork concept, as supported by its ambassador, celebrity chef Jamie Kennedy. Home to a range of complementary programs in baking, culinary, food and farming, horticulture, hospitality, and event management, the CFF boasts numerous sustainable features and extensive grounds that include an apple orchard, agricultural planting fields, gardens, hoop house and greenhouses that support applied learning and research while growing produce for use in the CFF’s kitchens and laboratories, as well as Bistro ’67 and Pantry.

In addition, DC has established a strong relationship with Habitat for Humanity, a partnership that enables students from the college’s Construction Carpentry – Sustainable program to gain hands-on experience outside of the classroom while providing a way for DC to give back to our community with students and employees assisting with the construction of four homes for families in need.

DC was also a driving force behind the inaugural Idea Summit, held at the CFF in May 2016. The event brought together business leaders and employees from some of Durham Region’s largest employers, who discussed how to promote the region and the development of a set of recommendations to encourage innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation. The summit saw the creation of several task forces that are currently working to develop recommendations on how governments at all levels can support the region and its highly-educated and motivated work force.

“DC remains a strong, vibrant presence in Durham Region, and Whitby in particular, where the expansion of our campus has mirrored the community’s growth,” added Lovisa. “This growth and leadership has resulted in more opportunities than ever for our students, and supports the social and economic health of our communities. We look forward to continuing to work with the Whitby business community, including the Whitby Chamber of Commerce, to advance initiatives for the betterment of our community.”

DC Alumni Association pledges $250,000 to Centre for Collaborative Education

Durham College (DC) announced today a $250,000 commitment from the DC Alumni Association to support the Centre for Collaborative Education (CFCE) at the college’s Oshawa campus.

“This pledge is a true testament to the commitment DC alumni have to their alma mater,” said Chris Vale, president, DC Alumni Association. “I am proud of the Alumni Association’s decision to support the continued growth of the college. In particular, it underlines our belief in the importance of the Centre for Collaborative Education. We could not be prouder to be helping to build a facility where students, employees and the broader community can come together in ways that extend beyond the scope of traditional education.”

The donation, announced on November 10 at an Alumni Association networking event, is being made over a period of five years. This significant contribution serves to set the pace for the college’s Building Something Amazing fundraising campaign, which will see the college aim to raise $5 million over two years toward the construction of the CFCE. In addition to the association’s commitment to the CFCE, it has also supported the college via several other initiatives over the years including ongoing donations to scholarship and bursary programs, the Building for Our Future and Growing for Our Future capital campaigns and the annual campus holiday food drive.

“On behalf of everyone at Durham College, I extend my sincere thanks to the DC Alumni Association for this wonderful support of our new Centre for Collaborative Education,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC. “This generous pledge is in keeping with the loyalty and commitment the Alumni Association has demonstrated to the college time and time again. As a key member of the DC family, we are delighted to have its support as we work together toward building something amazing.”

A legacy project tied to DC’s 50th anniversary in 2017, the CFCE will be a multi-level, 75,000-square-foot-facility that will serve as an educational access point for students while bringing together local, Indigenous and global community groups and members of key business sectors. It will provide a new home for several of the college’s most innovative and ground-breaking programs including:

  • The School-College-Work Initiative and the affiliated Centre for Success program, a partnership between DC and the Durham District, Kawartha Pine Ridge District, Durham Catholic District, Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District, and Trillium Lakelands District school boards, that assist in-risk students by helping them find their way to college.  
  • The Aboriginal and Student Diversity Centres.
  • Entrepreneurial, Innovation and Creative spaces including the Spark Centre, which will expand applied research opportunities for students, faculty and small- and medium-sized businesses.
  • Global, Open and Collaborative spaces that will enable faculty, students and the broader community to use technology in creative ways to gain unprecedented access to students, educators, thought leaders, subject matter experts and other visionaries from more than 40 countries around the world.
  • Health science facilities including state-of-the art classrooms and labs and a spa focused on massage therapy, cosmetology and aesthetics.
  • Foundation programs designed to prepare students for the continuation of post-secondary education at college or university.
  • Significant collaborative learning and social spaces for students, faculty, staff and community.