”The next chapter in our college’s history is an inspiring story of growth and success that we will write together.” – Sean Kennedy
Sean Kennedy, who took the helm of Niagara College in February 2020, was formally installed Wednesday as Niagara College’s sixth president, during a virtual, internal staff event.
Del Rollo, chair of the Niagara College Board of Governors, presided over the ceremony, which was originally scheduled for the spring, but rescheduled and re-imagined in line with COVID-19 measures and directives.
“While today’s ceremony is certainly different from what we had envisioned in early 2020, it is no less special, no less meaningful, and no less historic – as we celebrate Niagara College’s first new president in a quarter of a century,” Rollo said.
Rollo also acknowledged the unforeseen circumstances that dominated the start of Kennedy’s tenure, while emphasizing the board’s confidence in his ability to lead Niagara College to a new long-term vision in the years ahead.
“The effectiveness of our College’s response to COVID-19, and the ingenuity and resilience that he has inspired in the Niagara College community, serves to underscore what the Board of Governors saw in Sean, when he was selected as president,” he said.
“And as much as we have deep confidence in Sean’s ability to lead Niagara College through this extraordinary time, we also know that he is a gifted and inspiring leader who, with your contributions and support, will guide Niagara College toward a student-focused vision of growth and success, building on our position among Canada’s best colleges, in the years ahead.”
Kennedy began his remarks by reflecting on the event itself, and the importance of looking ahead.
“Given all that’s happened, and the time that has passed since I began as president on February 24, I wondered about the desirability of still holding this special event,” he said. “However, after further reflection, I came to realize that this event is not about me. It’s about Niagara College’s future, and the symbolic start of the next chapter for our college, a new chapter that has been delayed, but not derailed.”
Kennedy acknowledged the unique challenges that came with the start of his term as president, while looking ahead to a post-pandemic period where Niagara College will flourish.
“Although the current pandemic has been all-encompassing for us, this will ultimately be a snapshot in time,” Kennedy said. “We will persevere, and we’ll take important lessons from this extraordinary period, but it will not define our college or our vision for the future. The next chapter in our college’s history is an inspiring story of growth and success that we will write together.”
Kennedy also acknowledged his predecessor, along with former Board of Governors chair John F.T. Scott, and others for their contributions to Niagara College.
“I am also very grateful to John Scott, former Board Chair, as well as my predecessor, the incomparable Dr. Dan Patterson, and all of the incredible leaders who have come before me along with our retirees and pioneers, our alumni, donors and community supporters all of whom have helped to build what I consider to be the top College in all of Canada,” he said.
John F.T. Scott, chair of the Board of Governors and its selection committee when Kennedy was appointed, offered Kennedy best wishes via a recorded greeting.
“You have demonstrated that our confidence in you was so well placed; you were indeed the right person at the right time,” Scott said. “May you and Niagara College thrive now and well into the future.”
As part of the ceremony, Kennedy was presented with the presidential robes by his spouse, Kerry Kennedy, and he affirmed an oath to faithfully fulfill the duties of the President of Niagara College, emphasizing his commitment to the wellbeing and success of its students, faculty and staff, preserving the strong connections between Niagara College and the communities it serves, and protecting and promoting the welcoming, passionate and trailblazing characteristics that define Niagara College.
Kennedy’s selection as Niagara College’s sixth president was announced on January 10, and he assumed the role on February 24. Kennedy joined Niagara College in 2014 and has held several positions on the College’s executive team, including vice president, Student and External Relations and CEO of the Niagara College Foundation, interim vice president, Academic, vice president, International and senior vice president, International.
Kennedy succeeds Dan Patterson, who led Niagara College for 25 years before concluding his tenure in early 2020.
(Source: Niagara College news release)