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College celebrates exceptional staff with awards

Dr. Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald presents Staff Excellence Awards to Ray Murphy, Adrienne Montgomery, Ilma Fazzito, and Liam Corcoran, and the President's Award to Velda Crane at the recent Staff Excellence Awards presentation. 

Holland College celebrated five exceptional staff members during the college’s annual Staff Appreciation Day held at the Florence Simmons Performance Hall on the Prince of Wales Campus recently.

The Facilities Support Services Excellence Award, which honours a staff member who demonstrates exemplary performance and has made invaluable contributions within the facilities department and to Holland College as a whole was presented to Maria “Ilma” Fazzito, Service Worker in Montgomery Hall on the Prince of Wales Campus. Fazzito was recognized for her professionalism and her flexibility. She adjusts her schedule as needed to support staff, and in addition to her regular duties, she takes the initiative to conduct inspections of the building to identify areas that need more cleaning or repairs, which she promptly reports to the appropriate departments. Fazzito is a committed team member. Her dedication to her responsibilities is evident throughout the building, reflecting the pride she takes in her work.

The Staff Excellence Award, which is presented to a staff member who has made an exceptional contribution within Holland College and the communities it serves, was presented to Adrienne Montgomery, Administrative and Communications Assistant for Canada’s Smartest Kitchen. Montgomery regularly volunteers during student orientations, attends college open houses and participates in community events organized by Innovation PEI, the PEI BioAlliance, and CASTL. These efforts help to forge strong connections between CSK, Holland College and the wider community. She is actively involved in designing and executing foodservice events and ensures smooth digital presentations while gathering content for social media. Her strategic vision has transformed CSK’s social media presence, engaging a broad audience with innovative content and interactive campaigns that showcase the richness of Canada’s Food Island.

The Teaching Excellence honours a faculty member who has exhibited consistent excellence in teaching and has had a significant impact on the personal and academic growth of students. This year’s award was presented to Ray Murphy, Learning Manager for the college’s Construction Electrical program. Murphy’s enthusiasm for teaching is one of his strongest attributes. He puts students first, ensuring they feel part of a student-centered organization. He gets to know each student personally, holding information-sharing sessions to foster connections and leads by example, modeling positive behaviour and encouraging students and staff to better themselves through exercise and education. Ray promotes the electrical trade with optimism and enthusiasm, encouraging students to exceed expectations. His impact on the Holland College community includes time spent volunteering for orientation week, serving on the Summerside Waterfront Campus social and OH&S safety committees, and organizing Skills Canada competitions. He mentors provincial winners, offering unlimited practice time and travelling as a chaperone to national competitions. This year, he served on the Skills Canada National Technical Committee.

The Leadership Excellence award celebrates a leader whose work has made a meaningful contribution to Holland College and the community. This year’s award was presented to Liam Corcoran, Program Manager for the Arts, Media and Community Studies programs. Under Corcoran’s leadership, Holland College created a Post Graduate Certificate in Journalism and Communications, which welcomed its first students in January 2021. He was also pivotal in the development and delivery of a blended accelerated Early Childhood Care and Education program and an Educational Assistant Certificate program for Public Schools Branch employees. His leadership, interpersonal communications, and project management skills have been crucial in navigating the challenges of new program development and staff guidance. Corcoran established the Popular Music Performance Conference in collaboration with Berklee College of Music and enhances community connections with events like the Dotgain conference for Graphic Design students and professionals, and student showcases for the School and Performing Arts and School of Visual Arts. Through these initiatives, Liam has created platforms for students to network with industry leaders and professionals that foster a sense of community.

The President’s Award recognizes an employee for their commitment to advance the supports and inclusion goals outlined in the college’s strategic plan, and includes contributions made as a community leader, their work to promote diversity and inclusion within the college, and their efforts to improve mental wellness among students and employees. This year’s recipient, Velda Crane, Coordinator of the college’s Student Academic Support, exemplifies the essence of the President’s Award. Over her nearly 40 years of service, Crane has been a passionate advocate for students with learning challenges and has been recognized with the PEI Council of People with Disabilities Access Award. Her unique ability to meet learners at their level and offer individualized support while maintaining her academic standards has fostered a welcoming and inclusive environment within the Student Services department. Students turn to Crane and her team confident in the knowledge that they will receive the support they need. She played a crucial role in the creation of the Ron Joyce Centre for Academic Support in the Summerside Waterfront Campus in 2016, a $2 million initiative that enhanced academic support for students in Western PEI. She has been involved in the planning and development of the Charlottetown Wellness Centre, which centralizes Student Academic Support, Counselling Services, and Nurse Practitioner services. Velda’s dedication to Holland College and its community is unwavering. Her willingness to adapt and embrace new systems ensures that the college remains responsive to the needs of a diverse student body.

Holland College President Dr. Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald said this year’s award recipients exemplify the high values and dedication of Holland College faculty and staff.

“Our employees are committed to the values and vision of Holland College. They truly believe in our student-centred organization and work together to ensure that our learners receive a high-quality education and a positive post-secondary experience,” he said. “I congratulate all the recipients for their exceptional achievements,” he said.

For more information about this release, please contact:
Sara Underwood, Media and Communications Officer
Tel: 902-566-9695
Date: Monday, June 17, 2024