Tue | Jul 23, 2024

George Brown College celebrates achievements of its president, chancellor

Published:Saturday | May 25, 2024 | 12:06 AMNeil Armstrong/Gleaner Writer
From left: Philanthropist Donette Chin-Loy Chang, Dr Gervan Fearon and Dr Rhonda McEwen, President of Victoria University in the University of Toronto.
From left: Philanthropist Donette Chin-Loy Chang, Dr Gervan Fearon and Dr Rhonda McEwen, President of Victoria University in the University of Toronto.
Dr Fearon’s life partner Dr Kathy Moscou and their daughter Danielle Fearon, PhD in Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo.
Dr Fearon’s life partner Dr Kathy Moscou and their daughter Danielle Fearon, PhD in Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo.
From left: Dr Gervan Fearon, Audrey Campbell, a past president of the Jamaican Canadian Association, and Chris Campbell, director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, at the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario.
From left: Dr Gervan Fearon, Audrey Campbell, a past president of the Jamaican Canadian Association, and Chris Campbell, director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, at the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario.
Noella Milne, Chancellor of George Brown College.
Noella Milne, Chancellor of George Brown College.
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TORONTO:

George Brown College, a publicly accredited college in the heart of Toronto, celebrated the outstanding service and dedication of its chancellor and president on Wednesday.

Chancellor Noella Milne, and President, Dr Gervan Fearon, who is of Jamaican heritage, were appointed to the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario in December and January, respectively.

“Their exceptional contributions have profoundly influenced their communities across Canada and beyond, leaving behind a legacy of lasting impact and a lifetime of accomplishments. This is a momentous occasion that deserves recognition and celebration,” said the college.

Hosted by Dr Bruce Choy, chair of the Board of Governors of George Brown College, and Erin Griffiths, chair of the Board of Directors of the George Brown College Foundation, the institution held an intimate dinner to honour the chancellor and president for their sterling service.

Held at SIMONA, a Mediterranean Italian restaurant located along Toronto’s waterfront, the event brought together their families, friends, and colleagues.As a veteran educator, Dr Fearon leads efforts to provide transformative education opportunities that benefit learners, industry, and greater community.

DUTY OF CARE

Dr Fearon’s sister, Moreen Fearon-Tapper, Associate Dean at Durham College, said being an immigrant family informed them in many ways as a family and individuals. Their parents, Richard and Inez Fearon, who both died in 2017, immigrated to Canada in the 1960s.

“None of us could imagine what lay ahead in the decades to follow; we certainly could not imagine celebrating Gervan’s achieving the Order of Ontario. Not because we did not believe that he would succeed at the highest level, but because we expected it, we just did not expect a celebration. You see as a family we have much to celebrate, but don’t often do so, because success in our family was an expectation, and when one succeeded – it wasn’t a surprise,” she said in the presence of her proud family – older siblings brothers Alwin and Gervan, and sister Marlene, Gervan and his life partner Dr Kathy Moscou and their three children Michael, Danielle and Gabriel, and Alwin’s wife Marie and their daughter Stephanie.Fearon-Tapper said by the time they landed in Canada in 1968, they had already lived in either England and/or Jamaica and living and going to school in multiple countries gave them a wider view of the world and a sense of curiosity and adaptability.

Speaking about an individual’s duty of care, the Order of Ontario recipient said, “Our duty of care is to humanity, is to being able to seek out within our own capacity, within our sphere of influence, how we can contribute to the possibilities of others.” He said George Brown College provided him with an opportunity to exercise his duty of care to others, to students and communities.

Dr. Fearon previously served as the President and Vice-Chancellor at Brock University, 2017-202 – the first black president of a university in Canada – and at Brandon University, 2013-2017. He has also held numerous progressive roles in post-secondary education, including Vice-President, Academic, at Brandon University; Dean of the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University), the largest school of adult education in Canada; Associate Dean at York University’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies; Visiting Scholar at the University of Washington; and as an Associate Professor at York University. He also has a strong teaching and research record.

MANY ACCOLADES

At Brock University, Dr Fearon co-founded the Canada-Caribbean Institute, along with Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor at The University of the West Indies. The Canada-Caribbean Institute is dedicated to connecting scholars from across Canada and the Caribbean to collaborate on vital economic, environmental, and social issues that contribute to the shared prosperity of both regions.

Passionate about the role of post-secondary education in supporting regional development, Dr Fearon has served on numerous community boards and helped champion significant community development initiatives.

Milne, a retired lawyer and community leader who began her term as George Brown College chancellor on May 3, 2019, succeeded Sally Horsfall Eaton who served as the first chancellor of George Brown and of an Ontario college.

She immigrated to Canada from Mumbai, India, alone, at the age of 17. She worked days and attended classes in the evenings to earn a college diploma and then a university degree. Her hard work led her to law school and ultimately to her role as senior partner at Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG).

Milne served consecutive terms on the Board of Governors (2003-2009) and the Foundation Board (2010-2018). She completed her term as Chair of the Foundation Board in 2018.

Among her many accolades are a Member of the Order of Ontario, a recipient of the YWCA Women of Distinction Award, a recipient of an Ontario Volunteer Service Award, and being recognised by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women.