Holland College | Foundation celebrates distinguished alumni
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Foundation celebrates distinguished alumni

For each of the last three years, the Holland College Foundation has been honouring Holland College alumni through its Distinguished Alumni Awards program. Three new inductees to this esteemed group were announced today by the Chair of the Holland College Board of Directors, Quentin Bevan.

“It is with great pleasure and admiration that we celebrate the accomplishments of three outstanding Holland College alumni, Chef David Garcelon, Louise Vessey, and Tim Banks,” said Bevan. “All three of this year’s inductees are creators in very diverse realms. Ms. Vessey is an accomplished photographer, capturing and creating memories that span generations. Mr. Banks is a creator of architecture, building structures that have changed the streetscape of many locales all around the world; and Chef Garcelon, a food industry innovator, creates meals and works of food art that makes one’s mouth water at the memory. Each one has reached local, national, and international acclaim and has demonstrated great professional and personal excellence.”

Chef David Garcelon, an alumnus of Holland College’s Culinary Institute of Canada said that he felt honoured by the recognition.

“This is an award I am thrilled to receive. I have great memories of being a student at the College and I loved the hands-on approach to cooking as it truly is the best way to learn.”

Chef Garcelon has had an illustrious career. At present, he is the Director of Culinary at the prestigious Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, New York. Prior to assuming his current role, Chef Garcelon served as Executive Chef at the Fairmont Royal York, overseeing Canada’s largest hotel kitchen with a brigade of 100 culinary professionals. A natural innovator, he has set industry trends in the culinary field with projects such as creating a rooftop garden complete with several beehives that still produce honey for use in the hotel kitchen. He clearly has a love for the craft and places a strong emphasis on not only knowing where the food comes from, but also getting to know the producers.

The owner of Light and Vision Photography, Louise Vessey, graduated from Holland College’s Photography program and hung out her business shingle the same year, having gained confidence by being awarded “student of the year” for both years she attended the College. Her standard of excellence in capturing just the right moment is evident in beautiful portraits and photos in many homes across P.E.I. and far beyond. Her website displays photos with emotions captured that lasts long beyond the here and now and actualizes what photographers all over the world are attempting to do – they tell a story.

“As soon as I decided to pursue a career in photography I knew Holland College was the best choice,” said Ms. Vessey. “I was influenced by both the instructors and students, and I still keep in touch with some of my classmates 20 years later!” Louise has dedicated herself to life-long learning, and since graduating from Holland College has earned both the Craftsman of Photographic Arts and her Master of Photographic Arts through her achievements and service within the PPOC, (Professional Photographers of Canada) organization. She is currently the President of the PPOC Atlantic division.

Well-known Islander Tim Banks, CEO of APM, which has offices in Charlottetown, Halifax, Toronto, and Calgary, is a graduate of Holland College’s Construction Technology program. He started APM 30 years ago and is often described as a true entrepreneur who has built not only an accomplished, high profile construction company, but has also earned great respect from the business communities in Prince Edward Island and across Canada. Mr. Banks’ tenacity and perseverance are traits that have served him well, helping him to adapt and manage the ups and downs of the industry over the past 20 plus years. He showed great enthusiasm about being chosen as a recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Awards but was quick to acknowledge that the success he has achieved is not his alone. “The 400 people who make up my staff are both talented and hard working,” stated Banks. When asked about hiring new trades persons for his company, his strong Island roots and his pride in being an Islander clearly shine through.

“’Our ‘Island-grown’ talent has a world-renowned reputation because the College continues to turn out very capable graduates.”

Banks, Garcelon, and Vessey join previous years’ Distinguished Alumni honourees Mayor Basil Stewart, Jeff Poirier, Eva O’Hanley, Jamie Hill, Sonya Corrigan, Alan MacLeod, Steven Collicutt, John Avery, Brent Blackmore, Alanna Jankov, and Kevin O’Brien.

Dr. Brian McMillan, president of Holland College stated, “Our college community is delighted to have the opportunity to recognize our newest inductees.”

A recognition reception and awards dinner will be held on Thursday, May 31, 2012, at the Tourism and Culinary Centre, Charlottetown, P.E.I.


For more information about this release, please contact:
Jo-Ann Campbell-Boutilier, Executive Director - College Advancement and the Holland College Foundation
Tel: 902-629-4273
Date: Friday, January 27, 2012