Oshawa’s outgoing Durham College president recieves prestigious award


Published January 30, 2024 at 6:57 pm

The outgoing president of Oshawa’s Durham College, Don Lovisa, has received a prestigious award for his influence on Ontario’s post-secondary education system.

Lovisa has been awarded the Doug Light Career Achievement Award, which the college describes as “given to administrators in the Ontario college system who have significantly influenced college education throughout their careers.”

The honour comes from the Ontario College Administrative Staff Association (OCASA) which cited Lovisa’s “tremendous contributions to college education in the province.”

Lovisa has served at Durham College for 16 years of his nearly 40 year education career. During his time leading Durham, the college introduced many of its most notable features including the OPG Centre for Skilled Trades and Technology, W. Galen Weston Centre for Food in Whitby, the Centre for Collaborative Education, the Centre for Innovation and Research and PROTO and Electric Vehicle Lab.

“His commitment to improving post-secondary education extends beyond bricks and mortar,” the college wrote, “He has prioritized collaboration, hosting numerous sessions where employees from all areas of campus have come together to consider new approaches and new possibilities. By encouraging DC to collaborate and innovate, he has prepared the community to respond to new challenges, envision new projects and reimagine the future of post-secondary education.”

The school continued, “He has advocated for the college system by championing funding reform; the recognition of college degrees as a critical part of the post-secondary credential framework in Ontario; and highlighting the wide gap in government funding for college students versus the university system. He also completed a two-year term as president of Colleges Ontario and has served on the Board of Colleges and Institutes Canada.”

Lovisa himself said, ““Outstanding performance, as recognized by this award, goes beyond job expectations. It is about team involvement, achievements that exceed the norm, and recognition by our peers. I am grateful to have had the privilege of working with exceptional teams throughout my career – the collective efforts of the many colleagues, students, and community partners who have been integral to my journey – dedicated individuals who share a passion for education and a commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is possible.”

Lovisa announced he would not seek another term as Durham College president back in April. He served as the fifth president of the colleges since its 1967 founding. He took over from Leah Myers in 2008. Myers followed Gary Polonsky’s 18-year stint starting on 2006.

“It has been an honour and a pleasure to serve as president of Durham College and work alongside our talented leadership team, employees, the Board of Governors and industry and community partners,” Lovisa said at the time, “Being part of an organization that makes such positive and significant changes that impact our students and our community has been the highlight of my career.”

Dr. Elaine Popp will succeed Lovisa as president.

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