Allwest Commerical Furnishings and George Smith
Since 2005, Edmonton-based full-service office furniture provider Allwest Commercial Furnishings has been a donor and friend of NorQuest College. Retired CEO George Smith has also shared his leadership and philanthropy with the college and the community, using his position to be a major advocate for people with disabilities.
Allwest and Mr. Smith have reinforced the spirit of their friendship with NorQuest College with a major contribution to the Transitions to Employment Program. The program is designed to provide employment training and guidance for adults with mild developmental disabilities. Through a combination of classroom and workplace training, graduates are empowered with the skills to obtain employment and establish independent living. This generous donation from Allwest and Mr. Smith will have a tremendous impact on renovating and maintaining the program’s facilities.
Thank you to both Allwest and Mr. Smith for all they have done and for their continuing support of our students and community.
Krishna and Radhe Gupta
1000 Women Child Care Centre dedicates the Little Angels of Hope Playground
Outside of the 1000 Women Child Care Centre in the new Singhmar Centre for Learning, you will hear children’s laughter filling the air thanks to the generosity of Krishna and Radhe Gupta.
The Gupta’s helped the 1000 Women movement reach its second $1 million goal with a generous gift of $250,000 to build the playground at the 1000 Women Child Care Centre. The Little Angels of Hope Playground will bring a smile to many faces for years to come.
“As a woman, I have a responsibility to empower other women and to help make things better for them,” says Krishna. “By supporting the Little Angels of Hope Playground, I'm feeling really good in my heart.”
Thank you to the Gupta’s for their generosity and amazing support of the 1000 Women movement.
Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation
The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation has been a long-term supporter and friend to NorQuest College. In 2003, they established the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation Award for first-year career program students. This year, they reinforced their commitment to education at NorQuest College with a $1.5 million investment to create the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation Hospitality Institute and bursaries valued up to $2000 each for students who need financial support. The Institute’s education hub includes a state-of-the-art kitchen laboratory fully outfitted with specialized equipment to enable hands-on learning opportunities, and a computer lab and classroom. It is estimated that 1,000 citizens over the next 10 years will access education through the direct support of the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation.
“Congratulations to NorQuest and the EOCF for this very positive announcement,” says Patrick LaForge, Oilers President and COO. “With Rogers Place set to open its doors in fall 2016, we know there will be lots of opportunities for graduates of the institute.”
The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation Hospitality Institute will provide training programs that are relevant and customized for Alberta’s hospitality industry and will open doors to employment opportunities for inner city residents and at-risk youth in the community.
“NorQuest College is extremely proud to partner with the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation on this exciting opportunity,” says Dr. Jodi L. Abbott, NorQuest President and CEO. “We are committed to providing workforce relevant programming that aligns with the needs of the community.”
Thanks to the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, students have and will continue to pursue an array of career goals at NorQuest College.
Singhmar Centre room named in honour of Zita and Jack Rosen
Robert Rosen attributes his compassion for community and success as President and CEO of City Lumber and Millwork to two special people: his parents.
In honour of their memory, Robert has contributed $25,000 for a meeting room in the Singhmar Centre for Learning, set to open in fall 2017. The Zita and Jack Rosen Meeting Room will be located on the fourth floor of the new 22,500m2 NorQuest Edmonton Downtown Campus addition.
Robert’s parents founded the company nearly 75 years ago. Although it has supplied material for some of the largest construction projects in the world, its foundation is built upon more than profitability, with fundamental values of respect, tolerance, and community. These values are instilled in the company’s office which feature an eclectic variety of photos and art pieces representing different cultures. This, combined with Robert’s welcoming and genuine demeanor, bring a sense of warmth and hominess. It’s the same feeling NorQuest College strives to give its students, who hail from all backgrounds and all walks of life.
“Everybody has the right to be treated with dignity,” he says.
And after watching how his mother ran the family and took a strong leadership role in the business, Robert places an especially high regard for women.
“Be respectful to women,” he says. “And if you’re really wise, you will learn from them.”
More than half of NorQuest College students are women. And similar to NorQuest, Robert believes lives can be transformed through education. One example is Indigenous women in the trades.
“We need to give them a shield of education so they can take care of themselves and their children,” he says.
Robert’s longstanding commitment to NorQuest College includes donating to the Tutorial Centre, student success initiatives, and the Alberta Aboriginal Construction Career Centre.
Steven and Day LePoole
Longtime supporters and friends of NorQuest College, Steven and Day LePoole have stepped forward with a major contribution of $250,000 to Maximizing Opportunities – The NorQuest Campaign.
In recognition of their friendship to the college and generous support of the campaign, a student gathering place located in the new Singhmar Centre for Learning will be named the Steven & Day LePoole Knowledge Commons.
The LePoole’s have supported many different college initiatives. From the Learner Access Bursary, to the 1000 Women: A Million Possibilities movement, and the Steven and Day LePoole Social Work Scholarship.
Steven LePoole is a former member of the NorQuest College Board of Governors, a recipient of a NorQuest College Honorary Diploma, and a past mentor of Pathways to the Future presented by the EPCOR mentorship program.
“I am an immigrant like many NorQuest students, but I have only a small understanding of what the current generation of immigrants have to deal with when they come to Canada,” says Steven. “They have a very steep learning curve and I am happy to help with that learning curve.”
Thank you to the LePoole’s for their amazing generosity and friendship over the years and their continuing support of our students.
Dr. S. Ann Colbourne
Sharing the good life
Allowed every opportunity to succeed as a young woman, Dr. S. Ann Colbourne flourished and achieved her lifelong goals.
In a perfect world, everyone would be so lucky. In Dr. Colbourne’s world many will, thanks to her generosity and support of NorQuest College’s 1000 Women: A Million Possibilities fundraising campaign. The 1000 Women movement is a powerful example of women working together for the betterment of the community by raising money to help support the programming and infrastructure needs of NorQuest College, where 63 per cent of the student population is female.
“I’ve been very fortunate in my life,” says Colbourne, who has donated $154,000 to the cause and has been a member of the 1000 Woman Advisory Committee since 2014. “I grew up with security, having all the supports around me in order to do what I wanted to do.”
Since she began practicing medicine in the early 1980s, it has been Dr. Colbourne’s job to diagnose and address the things that make people ill. Her perspective has allowed her to look outside the physical health symptoms and discover a deeper definition of a healthy population.
“I’ve seen some incredibly talented people go home at the end of the day and have another very demanding job to do there too,” says the doctor, whose only ‘children’ are three West Highland Terriers.
However, having spent considerable time caring for her parents at the end of their lives, she understands the challenges of balancing family and work commitments.
“It has always amazed me that, women in particular, are able to keep the family going, raise children and then also contribute in a very meaningful way to the workplace. It takes incredible fortitude and commitment. Sometimes a helping hand goes a long way.”
For her generosity and efforts, the Dr. Ann Playroom in the 1000 Women Child Care Centre located in the new Singhmar Centre for Learning has been named in her honour.
Kendal Schamber, second year Business Administration student and award recipient, presenting Brian Gervais, Senior Vice President, TD Bank Group, Prairie Region, with a gift of appreciation on behalf of NorQuest College.
TD Bank Group
TD Bank Group, longtime friend of NorQuest College, helped make 2014 a landmark year with a $100,000 gift to create the TD Education Access Bursary. The bursary will support 10 full- and part-time students from the Business Administration, Administrative Professional and Accounting Technician programs every year for the next five years.
"Business education is critical to finding professional employment and to further business knowledge and expertise in our communities," says Brian Gervais, Senior Vice President, TD Bank Group, Prairie Region. "We are pleased to provide this donation to NorQuest College to enhance student access to the College’s business education programs."
Five students have already accepted awards. The next TD Education Access Bursary presentation will take place in the winter of 2015.
Dr. Jodi L. Abbott, NorQuest President & CEO, added, "This is just another example of how NorQuest College and its valued community supporters are working together to improve lives."
The TD Education Access Bursary will impact many students not only during their time at NorQuest, but also in their future careers. Thank you to TD for their generous gift and all the support they have given to other NorQuest College initiatives. Your commitment to our students and our community is deeply appreciated.
Cougar Drilling Solutions CEO Blaine Labonte and his wife Irene believe strongly in giving back to the community, as is evident by their generous donation to NorQuest College.
In 2013, Cougar Drilling Solutions established the Cougar Drilling Solutions Lean Education Fund to assist NorQuest College in sharing the Lean methodology with business and industry throughout the Edmonton region. The Landmark Group Centre for Value Improvement, which teaches Lean practices to companies in the Edmonton-area, utilizes the fund to help run programs such as the Lean Speaker Series offered in 2013 and 2014 and for curriculum development of future programs.
Since 1969, Cougar Drilling Solutions has been designing, manufacturing, and delivering downhole drilling tools, services, and solutions to oil companies around the world. The company has decades of experience in the direct management of complex drilling projects, from exploration to development drilling in oil, gas, and geothermal.
Executive Director Blaine LaBonte joined the family-owned Cougar Tool in 1992. As the company’s Vice-President of Operations, he jumped at the chance to buy Cougar in 2005 and become its president. Under his leadership the company merged with Blackstone Drilling Systems to become Cougar Drilling Solutions. In January of 2011, he became the newly merged company’s CEO. In April 2015, Blaine became the Executive Director of Cougar, to spend more time with family, and on community projects.
A loyal friend and generous supporter of NorQuest College since 2010, Cougar Drilling Solutions has made significant contributions in support of student and corporate success. Along with being a donor, Mr. LaBonte is also a member of the Campaign Cabinet for Maximizing Opportunities – The NorQuest Campaign.