Every spring Georgian takes a moment to recognize employees, alumni and community partners who’ve made an outstanding contribution to the college and demonstrate an ongoing commitment to excellence.
This year’s impressive group of Board of Governors’ Awards of Distinction recipients have gone above and beyond to support Georgian and its students.
“We truly appreciate how thoughtful and committed our employees, alumni and community partners are to our students’ success,” said Brian Davenport, Chair of the Georgian College Board of Governors. “It makes all of us on the board proud to be part of the Georgian family. These awards are the board’s opportunity to express our appreciation – to recognize the people, projects and partnerships that exemplify our mission to inspire innovation, transform lives and connect communities through the power of education. Congratulations to all of our 2020 recipients and nominees.”
The board recognized local philanthropist Jane (Brown) Jackson with a Community Partner Award.
Jane, who took typing and French classes as a teenager during Georgian’s early days in a modest storefront operation in the Wellington Plaza, downtown Barrie, watched the college flourish and has taken immense pride in carrying on the family tradition of support. Her father, Arch Brown, was instrumental in the college’s inception and served in various capacities as the college grew. Over the years, the Brown family invested more than $2 million in support of Georgian’s strategic priorities, including the Sadlon Centre for Health, Wellness and Sciences, and Student Services Centre.
She was a member of the Power of Education – Phase 2 Campaign Cabinet, which played an important role in the college raising more than $54 million to support students and projects across all campuses and our downtown location.
In 2016, Jane was the first contributor toward the Peter B. Moore Advanced Technology Centre – donating $100,000 to the project. She also supports our Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre, awards and scholarships, and has stepped up on numerous occasions to help students in financial need.
“Jane is a dedicated philanthropist, community-minded leader, and true friend of Georgian,” said MaryLynn West-Moynes, Georgian President and CEO. “She’s passionate about ensuring all students have access to education, and is deeply invested in partnering with us to provide the next generation of students with access to quality education and innovative learning experiences.”
Distinguished Alumni Awards were presented to two graduates who have made a significant contribution in their field while serving as a college ambassador.
The first recipient, Nadia George, graduated from Georgian’s Social Services Worker program in 2009. Since graduating from the college, Nadia has become a recognized social worker and award-winning Indigenous actress. She draws on her personal and professional experiences to raise awareness of the challenges Indigenous communities, and specifically youth, face.
Currently, Nadia works for ADAPT of Halton Region as an Addiction Supportive Housing Case Manager, providing clinical and case management services to clients registered in the program.Compelled to help those navigating difficult circumstances while finding their identity and culture, Nadia became an advisor for the Child Welfare Political Action Committee of Canada and now sits on its board as an ambassador and spokesperson, advocating for positive, evidence-based outcomes for youth aging out of care.
The second Distinguished Alumni recipient is Jane Kovarikova. In care from age six, a Crown Ward at 12, Jane was shuffled around foster homes. She left the system at 16, dropped out of high school multiple times, and struggled to make ends meet. Encouraged by a mentor to apply to college as a mature student, Jane found her pathway to success. Georgian’s General Arts and Science program laid the foundation for a lifetime of advocacy and professional achievement. She holds a master’s degree in human rights and is a PhD candidate.
Jane founded the Child Welfare Political Action Committee of Canada in 2017, a federally incorporated non-profit that advocates for a progressive child welfare system. She has been working with Georgian on a tuition waiver program, which will open the doors to postsecondary education for learners who have faced marginalization, trauma, low expectations, statistically low educational attainment rates and poor life outcomes. Through her assistance, Georgian will be the first college in the province to offer free tuition to learners in or from care.
“We’re extremely proud of Nadia and Jane who have both made an exemplary mark in their communities and chosen fields,” said West-Moynes. “They’re a source of inspiration for all of us at Georgian.”
One Georgian team and four employees were also recognized with Awards of Distinction.