Durham College marks 45th anniversary in conjunction with Durham College Day

As Durham College enters its third week of classes since kicking off the academic year on September 4 it is also proud to recognize its 45th anniversary as the City of Oshawa proclaims today Durham College Day.

“As we recognize Durham College’s 45th year of providing high-quality education and training in Durham Region we are extremely proud of our success and growth since welcoming our first group of students in 1967,” said Don Lovisa, president, Durham College. “From the growth of our campuses, buildings and student population to the success of our close to 60,000 alumni, we have remained committed to ensuring that the student experience comes first, a commitment I am confident will take us into the next 45 years and well beyond. On behalf of everyone at Durham College I extend my sincere thanks to the City of Oshawa for this wonderful honour.”

On September 18, 1967 the college opened the doors to its first cohort of 205 students. At the time the Oshawa campus offered 16 portable classrooms at the southwest corner of Conlin and Simcoe streets in Oshawa and employed a staff of 14.

Fast forward 45 years and the college has experienced tremendous growth in its student population with more than 30,000 students, including approximately 9,000 full-time students for the 2012-2013 academic year, studying at Durham College each year in a variety of full- and part-time, diploma-to-degree, fast-track, apprenticeship, continuing education and career development programs in several different areas of importance to the current economy.

This includes the introduction of new programs annually including Architectural Technician; Architectural Technology; Food and Farming; Culinary Management; Information Systems Security – Computers and Networking; Occupational Therapist Assistant/Physiotherapist Assistant; Project Management; and Special Events Planning, which are all currently accepting applications for the 2013-2014 academic year.

In addition to the growth of its student population the college has also marked several other milestones over the years. This includes the opening of the Whitby campus in 1993; helping to start the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in 2003; the opening of the Student Services building at the Oshawa campus in 2011; the introduction of continuing education programming in Oshawa, Whitby and Uxbridge; the launch of Community Employment Services in Oshawa, Bowmanville, Uxbridge, Port Perry and Port Hope; the recent opening of the Pickering Learning Site; and the massive three-phase construction project at the Whitby campus that has been underway since 2008. The project, when complete, will see $44 million invested in an expanded post-secondary presence in Durham Region designed to bring new full-time programs to life and help develop the skilled workforce needed for our local communities to grow and prosper.

Phase 1, a comprehensive learning facility designed to train students in renewable energy and meet the projected demand for green jobs in Ontario, officially opened in December 2009 offering rooftop solar panels; wind turbines; state-of-the art classrooms and labs; and The Incubator, which was developed in conjunction with the Durham Strategic Energy Alliance and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology to support innovators and inventors in prototyping and testing new products.

The second phase of the project officially opened in May 2011 adding 38,000 additional square feet of space to campus including new labs, classrooms and boardrooms; new Student Association space; renovated student services; and living labs designed to demonstrate the many changes happening in the construction and building trades.

The third phase of the project, the 36,000-square-foot Centre for Food (CFF) located at the northwest corner of campus, began in December 2011. Designed to accommodate approximately 900 new students studying in culinary, hospitality, tourism, agricultural and horticultural programs it will provide students with access to a full-service, green-certified teaching restaurant and lounge; demonstration theatre; three public-viewing kitchens surrounded by glass walls and equipped with the latest technology; and state-of-the-art labs, classrooms and meeting spaces.

The Pickering Learning Site, offered in partnership with Centennial College, offers a unique, collaborative learning centre designed to meet the needs of students looking to further their credentials in an environment focused on mature, professional learners. It offers four graduate certificate programs from each college in addition to continuing education courses on evenings and weekends.

“The introduction of the Pickering Learning Site and the ongoing expansion and construction at our Whitby campus are tied directly to Durham College’s commitment to provide quality teaching and learning spaces that meet the needs of our projected student growth of 10,000 full-time post-secondary students by 2015,” added Lovisa. “This includes the additional 900 students we expect to attend the Whitby campus once the CFF opens in 2013 as well as increased enrolment based on the introduction of additional, new programs at the Oshawa campus. All of this is of course supported by our dedicated student services team, which is committed to providing services and support that have a positive impact on the success and personal development of our students.”

The college is also extremely proud of the role it played in helping to launch UOIT, one of Canada’s fastest growing and most successful universities. Together they have one of the most unique campuses in the country with the college seeing its success in the number of its students continuing their education at UOIT and the number of UOIT students continuing their education at Durham College.

“Durham College and UOIT are the perfect match and we are proud of the legacy Durham College helped to create and the success of UOIT,” said Lovisa. “We celebrate our success with UOIT as it launches its 10-year anniversary and as we contemplate what’s ahead for Durham College and the possibilities that our partnership with UOIT present, the future is full of promise for our students, faculty, staff and community.”

Since first opening its doors 45 years ago, Durham College has graduated close to 60,000 students with the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to make a difference in their lives, the lives of others, the community and the province of Ontario.