NorQuest College Celebrates First In-Person Convocation since 2019

May 25, 2022

Over 1800 graduates were joined by four honorary diploma recipients in NorQuest College’s first in-person convocation ceremony since 2019.

Business leader and CBC’s Dragon’s Den star Manjit Minhas joined fellow honorary diploma recipients Austin and Catherine Mardon and Dr. Norma Dunning in the two-day celebration that also recognized students earning their NorQuest credentials and the presentation of the college’s President’s Medal to settlement studies grad, Mariam Nakimera Sedagire.

“Convocation marks a touchstone in a life-changing educational journey for learners,” said Carolyn Campbell, President and CEO of NorQuest College. “We are so honored to share in the success of our graduates and look forward to seeing them make an impact in their communities and unlock the potential of Alberta’s economy.”

Honoring community leaders

NorQuest College’s honorary diploma is one of the highest accolades NorQuest can bestow. An honorary diploma recognizes distinguished citizens who have made extraordinary achievements, performed a service to the college or society, or who serve as examples to the college’s student body. Nominees come from the NorQuest community, which includes the geographic regions of the college as well as the social, economic, educational, and political reaches of the institution.

Manjit Minhas, Business Leadership

Manjit Minhas is a well-known Canadian entrepreneur, television personality, and venture capitalist. As the co-owner of Minhas Breweries & Distillery, she has made an incredible impact in the Canadian business world and shared her savvy on the long-running CBC program Dragon’s Den. Along with her keen business sense, Manjit takes social responsibility very seriously. Her dedication to mentorship, philanthropy, and corporate social and environmental responsibility continues to set the bar for businesses and entrepreneurs at home and around the world.

Austin and Catherine Mardon, Community Services Leadership

Drs. Austin and Catherine Mardon have made lifelong contributions to the betterment of others, particularly to those suffering from mental illness. Together they have spent more than 20 years advocating for mental health, publishing hundreds of articles, and bringing mental health issues out of the shadows and into conversation. In the spirit of the NorQuest values of inclusion, the Mardons’ goal is to establish a network of endowed student bursaries at NorQuest College and support students suffering from mental health disorders.

Dr. Norma Dunning, Community Services Leadership

Dr. Norma Dunning has led a life with many titles: scholar, teacher, mother, storyteller, grandmother, researcher. She is an Inuk writer whose second collection of short stories, Tainna (the unseen ones) received the Governor General's literary award for English fiction in 2021. Annie Muktuk and Other Stories received the Danuta Gleed Literary award (2018), the Howard O'Hagan Award and was bronze standing internationally for book of the year through Foreward Reviews. In addition to her now nationally recognized publications, Dr. Dunning's curriculum development and research work has directly contributed to the advancement of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples at NorQuest College.

Past recipients of NorQuest College Honorary Diplomas include women’s hockey great Hayley Wickenheiser, author and educator Samra Zafar, and community leaders such as Judge Gurcharan Singh Bhatia, Dr. Herb Belcourt, Kate Quinn, and Audrey Poitras.

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