Great year for Lakeland

By Geoff Lee

January 7, 2016 10:39 AM

Lakeland College will have plenty to celebrate in 2016 as it wraps up its first year under the leadership of president and CEO Alice Wainwright-Stewart.

Lakeland College will have plenty to celebrate in 2016 as it wraps up its first year under the leadership of president and CEO Alice Wainwright-Stewart.
She was officially appointed to the top post in May and has her plate full of projects and events to keep her hopping in 2016.
In a year end interview, Wainwright-Stewart reported the focus of capital spending in 2016 will be on the Vermilion campus following the completion of the Energy Centre lab at the Lloydminster campus last August.
“That’s an amazing $25 million lab for our power engineering students,” she said.
Construction of the Energy Centre began in 2013.
Lakeland is currently working to put together a new dairy barn in 2016 at the Vermilion campus with input from students and faculty.
There are also plans to build a new animal clinic at the current beef and sheep unit at the student managed farm.
The ongoing process of modernizing classrooms in Vermilion will continue this year along with some major infrastructure challenges.
“We are hoping for more funding to deal with issues such as our trades roof,” said Wainwright-Stewart.
In the meantime, Wainwright-Stewart is stoked about preparations for the 2016 Presidents’s Gala to take place at the Lloydminster campus April 8. “It’s really a fantastic event. We’re in our fourth year now,” she said.
“It’s really growing into a very unique showcase of how students take the lead at Lakeland College”.
Students organize it, create auction items for it and even serve dinner to gala guests.
The gala will include an evening of fine dining for up to 400 guests and live music with Canadian country music icon Michelle Wright headlining the entertainment.
There will also be silent and live auctions and a luxury raffle package.
Tickets are $250 per person or $2,000 for a table of eight with a 50 per cent tax receipts issued for each.
“We’re looking forward to quite an evening,” said Wainwright-Stewart.
Proceeds from the gala support Lakeland’s student awards program.
More than $1.2 million in awards, scholarships and bursaries was granted to students by the end of the academic term last June.
Donor support for student awards reached a historic milestone thanks to 21 new donors and support from returning donors in 2015.
In 2016 the goal is to fund up to 260 student applications for bursaries, 60 more than last year as more students registered for courses partly due to the downturn in the economy.
Agriculture, human services and business courses are leading the demand for seats at both campuses.
Lakeland also plans to reinstate the Emergency Services applied degree online program in Vermilion and the one year Heavy Oil Operations Technician course in Lloydminster for the fall term.
The HOOT program was suspended in 2015 due to the downturn in the oil economy.
Looking back, Wainwright-Stewart acknowledges one of her personal highlights of 2015 was taking over the top executive post of the college after serving as interim head for six months.
“I really have a passion for Lakeland College. I’ve been fortunate to be an employee here for over 30 years,” she said.
“I’ve watched the Lloydminster campus grow from a plot of land to what it is today. It’s pretty exciting.”
The Lloydminster campus celebrated its first 25 years of operations last year with the official opening of the Energy Centre Aug. 26.
Another highlight of 2015 that sticks out for Wainwright-Stewart is the achievement of about 50 second year agricultural students who put together the first post secondary institution Alberta Environmental Farm Plan.
Students identified any improvements and best practices needed to avoid any potential environmental risk on the student managed farm.
Lakeland also celebrated 25 years of operating their student managed farm in the crop technology program.
Wainwright-Stewart was also pleased by the number of students and classes that won skills competition awards in 2015 and the news releases that named them all.
She tips her hat to the success of Lakeland’s mens’ soccer and volleyball team with two players named All-Canadians in their respective sports.
She also applauds a decision by the Alberta NDP government to freeze tuition fees for students in its fall budget.
The NDP also restored funding to Alberta’s post-secondary institutions to provide the stability needed to support quality education.
The NDP reversed a 1.4 per cent cut to post-secondary institutions and increase base funding by two per cent.
“Education is very important and any time that we have cuts it does affect what we can do,” said Wainwright-Stewart.
“Providing that funding just helps us capture more opportunities to help more students.”

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