Conestoga news

November 27, 2018 10:17 AM

Conestoga grads honoured at 2018 Premier's Awards gala

Two Conestoga alumni joined the ranks of Ontario’s most distinguished college graduates on Monday, November 26, when they were named as 2018 recipients of Premier’s Awards at a gala celebration held at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.

The awards, established in 1992, acknowledge the social and economic contribution that Ontario college graduates make to the province and throughout the world. Award recipients, chosen from nominations submitted by the province’s 24 colleges, have demonstrated outstanding career success related to their college experience and have made significant contributions to their community.

A total of 118 graduates were nominated for the 2018 awards which recognize graduates in seven categories: Apprenticeship, Business, Community Services, Creative Arts and Design, Health Sciences, Recent Graduate and Technology.

Don Gosen received the 2018 Premier’s Award in the Apprenticeship category. He is a two-time graduate of Conestoga, completing the Electrical Apprentice program in 1980 and the Air and Water Resources Technology program in 1974. Described as the Ontario apprenticeship program’s biggest champion, Gosen sponsored more than 70 apprentices throughout his four decades as president of Gosen Electric before ceding the company to three of his former trainees.

Today, as chair of the Ontario College of Trades (OCoT) and director of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, Gosen works to strengthen the apprenticeship system by bridging communication and fostering collaborations between OCoT and the government, union and non-union organizations, and employers and apprentices. He teaches in the electrical apprenticeship program at Conestoga and received the Minister’s Award for Apprenticeship Training in 2007.

Allie Libertini was recognized with the 2018 Premier’s Award in the Recent Graduate category. She is a 2017 graduate of Conestoga’s Community Integration through Cooperative Education program, a unique program for students with learning challenges and exceptionalities. A world-leading Nordic skier, she represented Canada at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria, earning two silver medals.

An advocate of healthy living, she volunteers at a community kitchen and works as an assistant server and member of the food prep team at a local restaurant. She was instrumental in recruiting young women to her gym’s first inclusive women program and is now focusing her athletic efforts on powerlifting as she competes for the chance to represent Canada at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in 2019.

Previous Conestoga graduates recognized through the Premier’s Awards program include Marianne Walker, president and CEO of Guelph General Hospital, who received the Premier’s Award for Health Sciences in 2015; Tahani Aburaneh, a real estate entrepreneur, author and public speaker who received the Award for Business in 2013; and Chameli Naraine, president and CEO of Symcor, who received the Award for Business in 2012.

For more information about Conestoga’s 2018 Premier’s Awards nominees, visit: