The Premier's Awards for graduates of Ontario's Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology honour the important social and economic contributions that college graduates make to Ontario and throughout the world. The Awards were launched in 1992 to mark the 25th anniversary of Ontario's colleges and are administered by the College Compensation and Appointments Council.

Kristi Haddad

Kristi Haddad

2014 Premier’s Award, Community Services
Program: Early Childhood Education

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At just 24, Kristi Haddad is an extremely accomplished individual with a huge heart to match. That’s why it didn’t take much thought when Cambrian nominated her for the Colleges Ontario Premier’s Awards.

Two years after graduating from Cambrian College’s Early Childhood Education program in 2010, Kristi co-founded a non-profit organization, Heart of Ruth Mission, which pays 100 percent of the cost for orphaned children in Gede, Kenya, to go to private school (about $500 a year per child).

Heart of Ruth Mission also sends volunteers from around the world to Rainbow House Children’s Home, the Gede clinic, the Gede Special School or Jua Rescue Center for rape victims. The Mission has raised more than $12,000 to support Rainbow House.

Kristi organizes small-scale, grassroots fundraisers – yard sales, car washes and the like – and donates all the money to Rainbow House orphanage. She’s been to Kenya to volunteer three times in the past two years to teach, help with medical care, and assist in HIV and AIDS counselling.

When Kristi first visited Rainbow House in March 2012, it was in serious financial trouble and on the brink of closure.

She organized two yard sales upon returning to Canada and raised $1,200. That helped keep Rainbow House open and gave the 40 kids who called it home a safe place to live.

The orphanage offers free education to its children, as well as others in the community. By paying to send some of the orphanage’s kids to private school and one to college, Rainbow House is able to educate other children in Gede.

Martin Bayer

Martin Bayer

2002 Premier's Award, Business Program: Business Administration

  

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A 1984 graduate of Cambrian’s Business Administration program, Martin holds a degree in political science from Laurentian University, a LL.B. from the University of Toronto, and is presently a candidate for a Masters of Law degree in Constitutional Law from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. An Associate with the law firm of Weaver, Simmons LLP, Martin also teaches aboriginal law at Laurentian University on a part-time basis.

Martin has been a member of the Cambrian Board since 1999 and currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Board and Chair of the Board’s Anishinaabe Affairs Committee. As well as the Premier’s Award, Martin is the 1999 recipient of the Cambrian College Alumni. Martin is known for his strong commitment to the development of First Nations communities and for his advancement of Aboriginal education.

An advocate of continuing learning and of recognition of academic excellence within the student population of the UCCM First Nation communities, Martin was instrumental in the establishment of a UCCM Anishnaabe Studies Bursary at Cambrian College. Martin’s strong commitment to his community is evidenced by his involvement with many community organizations.

“I consider myself fortunate to have had valuable educational experiences at Cambrian and other institutions,” says Martin. “Today, I am able to put to good use these experiences in my role as Cambrian Board member, lawyer, and in my various community activities.”

Mary Jonik

Mary Jonik

1992 Premier's Award, Community Services
Program: Business and Commerce Bookkeeping Clerk

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Mary Jonik is a graduate of Business and Commerce Bookkeeping Clerk. After graduating from Cambrian College, Mary worked on campus in the Adult Training Department and then later as a counselor in the Ontario Basic Skills program. Her experiences there led her into her career helping individuals realize their full potential. She returned to school to study for her degrees, and while doing so, started a revolution in public housing. As a single parent relying on government assistance and living in public housing, she began the process of empowerment through the organization of a tenants association, and this led to her helping to found the first city-wide tenants association in Ontario. She also developed the first on-site Life Skills Program in public housing and was the first tenant board member of the Sudbury District Housing Authority.

Mary recently retired from Cambrian College to pursue her passion for teaching and counselling online. She was hired by a provincial college organization, the College Sector Committee for Adult Upgrading (CSC), to design and facilitate an innovative orientation course for individuals applying to participate in the Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) Distance Program. The orientation course, Learn to Learn (L2L), determines if an individual has the necessary personal, academic, and computer skills to succeed in an online learning environment. L2L has proven to be extremely successful not only for applicants to ACE but also for individuals applying to postsecondary online programs. Mary has two grown daughters, and two very young grandsons. Her grandsons fill her with wonder, joy, and amazement. Mary and her husband live on a sailboat in Vancouver with our cat and dog. My husband has taken a year off work, and since I am working exclusively online, we have left our dock and are sailing up the coast of British Columbia.

Candidate Search

Candidate searches are done on an ongoing basis. Local community media (paid and public service announcements) and the college website. However the most frequent nominations are from family and friends. Please do not hesitate to send us information about a potential nominee who is doing exceptional work.

Presented annually, the Premier’s Awards honour six outstanding graduates in the following categories:

  • Business
  • Community Services
  • Creative Arts and Design
  • Health Sciences
  • Technology
  • Recent Graduate

Selection Criteria

Chosen from nominations submitted by Ontario’s 24 colleges, nominees demonstrate outstanding career success related to their college experience and have made a significant contribution to their community. The individual’s career achievements will be given top priority.

Eligibility

Any graduate of a college program may be nominated. The person must have demonstrated outstanding career success as well as contribution to their community or society. Colleges may nominate only one graduate in each category. There is no limit to the number of times a graduate can be nominated.