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November 22, 2019 4:06 PM

Alumni night celebrates graduate success

Close to 100 alumni from Conestoga’s Bachelor of Applied Technology - Architecture - Project & Facility Management (APFM) program gathered at the college’s Cambridge campus on November 14 for the program’s first reunion event. 

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Retiring APFM faculty member Colin McGugan (centre) was part of a celebration recognizing the impact the program and its graduates have on the community and around the world.

The group was joined by upper year APFM students, faculty members, chairs, past and present executive deans, and Conestoga President John Tibbits for an evening of networking and celebrating accomplishments.  

“Our alumni night provided an opportunity to celebrate graduate success and achievement,” said faculty member and organizer Ron Bean. “We just saw our thirteenth cohort cross the stage at fall convocation and wanted to recognize the more than 300 APFM alumni making an impact in our community and around the world.”

The program boasts a 90 per cent employment rate within six months of graduation, according to a 2019 report, with alumni making a difference in their workplaces and communities here in Waterloo Region, across the country and as far away as Australia.  

Among those in attendance was Yumna Nasir, a 2013 graduate and a recipient of Conestoga’s 2019 Alumni of Distinction award. Nasir notably worked with EllisDon as facility manager and operations lead for the Toronto 2015 Pan/Para-pan Am Games, and currently leads one of the largest private public partnership projects in North America as the facilities and operations director (construction) for Crosslink Transit Solutions and the Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit Project. 

As a member of two Program Advisory Committees at Conestoga, Nasir shares expertise and insights to help keep the college’s programs aligned to current and emerging needs and is committed to supporting the growth of other young professionals through engaging Conestoga students in co-op placements. In 2017, Nasir was recognized as one of the Top 5 Emerging Female Leaders in Infrastructure as classified by the Women’s Infrastructure Network.

The event also provided an opportunity for the group to show their appreciation for retiring faculty member Colin McGugan, who was instrumental in the program’s design and launch. Welcoming its first cohort in 2003, APFM was one of the first degree programs to be offered at Conestoga with McGugan serving as one of its first two faculty members.

Accredited by the International Facility Management Association, Conestoga’s unique four-year APFM co-op degree program focuses on the entire architectural process from the planning phase through to occupancy and the adaptive re-use of buildings. Students gain strong foundations in architecture, construction, basic engineering and business; insight into project and facility management; and have additional exposure to liberal arts disciplines and practical applications for the business enterprise.

Conestoga’s 16 degree programs focus on delivering instruction that is based on both theory and practice and were developed in consultation with industry leaders to align with workforce demands. Spanning multiple schools of study, programs feature real-life learning experiences, including paid co-op work terms, and class sizes that support teamwork and vital student-faculty interaction.

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