The student experience comes first: Durham College celebrates grand opening of new Student Services building

College officially unveils new student services model in conjunction with state-of-the-art facility

March 18, 2011

Durham College officially opened its new Student Services building on Friday, March 18 with a unique opening that included a 40-person flash mob. The event then closed with representatives from the college’s various student services departments putting together a giant puzzle that outlined the many services housed inside the new building. Pictured from left to right in the back row are John Henry, mayor, City of Oshawa; Joe Dickson, MPP (Ajax-Pickering); Colin Carrie, MP (Oshawa); Rick Johnson, MPP (Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock); Jim Flaherty, minister of Finance, minister Responsible for the GTA and MP (Whitby-Oshawa); Roger Anderson, chair, Region of Durham; and Don Lovisa, president, Durham College. Pictured left to right in the front row are Margaret Greenley, vice-president, Student Affairs; Alix Chasse, senior career advisor; Chris Rocha; director, Financial Aid and Awards; Nicky Patel, English as a Second Language specialist; Sandy MacDonald, director, International Business Development; Justin Prescott, third-year Durham College Biomedical Engineering Technology student; Angie Paisley, associate registrar, Student Service Operations; and Paul Bishop, registrar.

Oshawa, Ont. – Durham College welcomed approximately 200 people to campus today including distinguished guests, community partners, students, faculty and staff as it officially opened the new Student Services building at its Oshawa campus.

Durham College president Don Lovisa was joined by the Honourable Jim Flaherty, minister of Finance, minister Responsible for the GTA and MP (Whitby-Oshawa); Colin Carrie, MP (Oshawa); Joe Dickson, MPP (Ajax-Pickering); and Rick Johnson, MPP (Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock) who all offered congratulatory remarks as the college celebrated the new facility, which is funded through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, a joint federal and provincial initiative to support post-secondary institutions across Canada.

“Given our organization’s mission is the student experience comes first, the college continuously strives to find new and creative ways to provide that experience, from the initial interest in pursuing studies, to the first moment students arrive on campus, to the time they are ready to cross the stage for convocation,” said Lovisa. “The official opening of our stunning Student Services building demonstrates our clear commitment to that mission.”

Roger Anderson, chair of the Region of Durham and John Henry, mayor of the City of Oshawa were also on hand to offer their support along with Anthony Boland, president of Your Student Association, who acted as master of ceremonies and Justin Prescott, a Durham College student who spoke about the importance of the building to the college’s more than 30,000 students.

“This investment created jobs for people in the Durham region at a critical time, while improving the infrastructure that Durham College will need to maintain its reputation as an innovative leader,” said Minister Flaherty. “Our government’s support for the knowledge economy has not only made a difference in the short term but also set the foundation for future prosperity.”

The event itself featured a unique opening and closing sequence of events, kicking off with a 40-person flash mob including Lovisa. The event then closed with representatives from the college’s various student services departments putting together a giant puzzle that outlined the many services housed inside the new building.

“The funding and support provided by the federal and provincial governments has enabled the college to put the pieces of the student services puzzle together and deliver the most efficient services possible to our students,” added Lovisa. “The building and our new service delivery model truly represent a new gateway to the college, enhance our excellence in teaching and learning and allow us to do something truly unique for our students and community.”

One of the most comprehensive and all-encompassing student services facilities in the province, the Student Services building welcomed students in January 2011. Designed to help them in their education efforts while fostering lifelong learning, it serves as a vital first point of access for potential applicants, current students and graduates, establishing a familiar resource over the life of an individual’s relationship with the college.

“Durham College’s success in graduating highly skilled students ready to succeed in today’s economy is directly related to its dedication to a strong learning environment focused on student success,” said Dickson. “With a significant financial contribution from our government, this new Student Services building provides a wide range of support for Durham students designed to ensure they get the education they need to thrive.”

The majority of the college’s student service offerings are located in the new building including the Financial Aid and Awards office; the Office of the Registrar; Career Services; the Diversity office; the Office of International Business Development; Student Academic Learning Services; and Student Life. It will also house additional academic space; student lounge areas; study and meeting space; and the Women’s Centre.

The addition of the new Student Services building is also enabling the college to renovate and modernize existing space in its Gordon Willey building, also located at the Oshawa campus. This ongoing renovation process began in summer 2009 with many areas already completely renovated, solidifying the college’s commitment to improving the quality of learning for students through the creation of new and improved teaching spaces. Upgrades to the Gordon Willey building include the addition of new and improved equipment; the development of additional classrooms and labs; and extensive improvements throughout the campus.

For more information on the new Student Services building, please visit and to view the flash mob from today’s event, please visit

About Durham College
At Durham College, the student experience comes first. In September 2010, the college welcomed more than 30,000 students to campus including more than 7,400 full-time post-secondary students as well as part-time, Second Career and continuing education students; apprentices; and online learners. The college offers a wide range of market-driven programs in a number of different disciplines including business, information technology, energy, media, art, design, general arts and sciences, skilled trades, justice, emergency services and health care, enabling them to develop the skills required to meet the demands of today’s job market.

A three-phase expansion of the college’s Whitby campus is currently underway. Phase 1 opened in September 2009 and Phase 2, nearing completion, is creating expanded shop space for several building trades and will also feature two homes where students will learn about sustainable construction and building. Phase 3 will be a building focused on food, hospitality and tourism. In addition, a new Student Services building opened at the Oshawa campus in January 2011.

For more information, visit or call 905.721.2000.

Media contact:
Allison Rosnak
Communications, Marketing and External Relations
905.721.2000 ext. 2333


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