Alumni of Distinction

The Alumni of Distinction award honours the extraordinary contributions Durham College (DC) graduates make to society while achieving career success.  If you know a DC graduate who deserves special recognition, please consider nominating them for this award. You can watch a video inspired by our 2022 winners on this page.

Recipients are selected based on professional, community and personal accomplishments, contributions to the advancement of DC, and the geographic (regional, national, and international) scope of impact for their achievements.

Nominations for 2022 are now closed. Please note: Active DC employees, active members of Durham College Board of Governors and DCAA Board of Directors shall not be eligible to be nominated for an Alumni of Distinction award.

The awards will be presented at Spring Convocation in June.

For further information or if you have any questions, please contact Sally Hillis, Senior Alumni Development Officer, at sally.hillis@durhamcollege.ca.

Congratulations to the 2022 recipients

N Blackman

Dr. Nicole Blackman, DNP, MN, RN

Registered Nursing, 2004

Since graduating from Durham College’s Registered Nursing program in 2004, Nicole has continued her academic path attaining her Bachelor of Science degree, as well as a Master of Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice, both with a specialization in Indigenous Health.

Nicole is a proud member of Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation and has dedicated her advanced practice nursing career to enhancing the health of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada.

Following her graduation from Durham College, Nicole worked as a registered nurse at Princess Margaret Hospital in the Medical/Radiation Oncology unit. Upon completing her master’s degree from the University of Toronto, she accepted a position as director of professional practice for Weeneebayko Area Health Authority; a First Nation governed health authority located in the isolated James and Hudson Bay regions of northeastern Ontario. After devoting more than five years to improving Indigenous health in Moose Factory and surrounding communities, Nicole returned to the Durham Region for leadership positions with their Health Department, and later with the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

More recently, Nicole was hired as provincial director of the Indigenous Primary Health Care Council. In this role, her efforts focus on health care transformation regarding anti-racism work, Indigenous health promotion and advocacy for equitable opportunities to achieve healthier communities rooted in culture and cohesion.


Kristin-Atwood-headshot

Kristin Atwood

Culinary Management, 2016 and Advanced Baking and Pastry Arts, 2017

Kristin Atwood has been combining her passion for food and filmmaking since graduating from Durham College’s Culinary Management and Advanced Baking and Pastry Arts programs in 2016 and 2017, respectively. What began as a freelance job creating media content for local restaurants has since evolved into an award-winning independent production company called Chef Studio, where she produces cooking tutorials and web series that bring the joy and magic of cooking to digital streaming and video-on-demand platforms.

With more than eight million views on her channel, Kristin has been able to turn Chef Studio into a thriving full-time job, allowing her to showcase her creativity and skill in cinematography, as well as her culinary prowess as she helps others learn to cook. In 2021, her At Home Pasta series was nominated for an Emmy® Award in the Outstanding Single Camera Editing category. The series was also nominated for two Webby Awards in the Best Food and Drink and Best How-To, Explainer and DIY categories.

Prior to her Emmy® nomination, Kristin was named Best New Filmmaker by the Canadian Diversity Film Festival in 2021, and recognized in 2020 with a prestigious nomination for a James Beard Foundation Award – America’s most coveted and comprehensive honour for chefs, restaurants, journalists, authors and other leaders in the food and beverage industry – for her series The Crumby Bits. She also received nominations in The Shorty Awards for Best Instructional Video and Best Micro-Influencer Strategy.

Recently, Kristin was awarded a Sony Alpha Female+ Grant, which provided funding for her to pursue a unique video project that will help her create more content to share with the world. She currently works for LS Productions, an agency specializing in commercials, film and TV, music videos, and fashion and sports shoots in the United Kingdom.


Andrew McNamara

Business Administration – Accounting, 2004

In the nearly two decades since graduating from the Business Administration – Accounting program, Andrew McNamara has found impressive success in the sports media world as an on-air and on-camera broadcaster and writer.

Using the business acumen gained during his time at Durham College, in addition to a certificate in TV/Radio Broadcasting from the National Institute of Broadcasting, Andrew has collected numerous host credits for prominent multimedia organizations, including CBC Sports, TSN, Fox News Detroit and Sportsnet Canada and voiced play-by-play for two world lacrosse tournaments in Prague, Czech Republic for European television. He has also provided voiceover talent for Domino’s Pizza and Panini Trading Cards on Sportsnet radio and social media channels. His writing credits include ESPN, National Lacrosse League (NLL), Draft Kings, TSN.ca, Sportsnet.ca, the NFL Bleacher Report, CBC, SLAM! Sports and Metroland Media.

Currently, Andrew is the head of football operations for Ultimate Franchise Fantasy (UFF) Sports, an NFT-based fantasy sports platform, where he runs all American-style football leagues and recruits current and retired players. He is the host of The Fantasy Show on Sportsnet Radio, works as an NFL season host for Fantasy Football Live on Sportsnet social media channels and covers the NFL, NFL Draft and baseball fantasy leagues for Sportsnet.ca. In addition to this work, Andrew is a regular play-by-play broadcaster for the NLL on Rogers TV, TSN and Turner Sports, as well as a previous play-by-play voice for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He was recently a finalist for the Best Fantasy Radio Show competition through the Fantasy Sports Writers Association of America.

Since graduation, Andrew has returned to his alma mater to teach part-time in Durham College’s broadcasting and radio classes and has served as a member of the Durham College Alumni Association Board of Directors. He also helps raise funds for southern Ontario children’s charity Youth Diversion as a play-by-play broadcaster for pro-wrestling matches on TV Cogeco.