Conestoga news

July 6, 2020 11:06 AM

Conestoga President named as new chair of Colleges Ontario

Colleges Ontario announced today that John Tibbits, President and CEO of Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, has started a two-year term as the new chair of Colleges Ontario, the association representing Ontario’s 24 public colleges.

Conestoga President John Tibbits has been named the new chair of Colleges Ontario.

“This is a critical time for Ontario’s colleges as people across the province and beyond look to us for high-quality programs and new opportunities for retraining and reskilling,” Tibbits said. “Our colleges are very nimble and can readily adapt to evolving needs while ensuring students continue to receive the very best in career-focused post-secondary education.”

The chair of Colleges Ontario oversees the college sector’s Committee of Presidents, which is comprised of presidents from all 24 colleges. The committee is responsible for a wide range of decisions affecting research, advocacy, communications and marketing and more.

Tibbits assumes the role of chair as the Ontario government consults on ways to modernize post-secondary education.

In addition to the ongoing work to address the challenges created by COVID-19, he will lead the sector’s efforts to encourage the government to adopt new policies to strengthen college education. This would include expanding the range of degree programs at colleges and improving access to apprenticeship training.

Replacing him as vice-chair will be MaryLynn West-Moynes, the president and CEO of Georgian College. West-Moynes has far-reaching academic and administrative experience in post-secondary education, having held senior positions at both the college and university level.

Under Tibbits’ leadership, Conestoga has become one of Ontario’s fastest growing colleges and evolved into a multi-campus institute that delivers a full range of programming to support the region’s labour market needs.

During his tenure, Tibbits has overseen the development of a growing network of campuses, with particular focus in the last two years on the expansion and redevelopment of campuses in Waterloo and Brantford and the opening of a new campus in Downtown Kitchener.

He also helped increase investment in the college’s applied research capacity. In 2019-20, Conestoga developed a portfolio of over $20 million in applied research activities. More than 3,000 students and 240 faculty were engaged in applied research activity that same year.

Tibbits succeeds the previous chair, Durham College president Don Lovisa.

“Don has always been keenly focused on the student experience and with this lens he helped us achieve many significant advocacy goals,” said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. “His efforts helped colleges win approval to offer independent nursing degrees and major improvements in the approvals process for degree programs. His consummate judgment and collegial approach were key to these advances and we thank him for his leadership.”

About Colleges Ontario

Colleges Ontario is the advocacy organization for the province’s 24 public colleges. The organization advances policies and awareness campaigns to ensure Ontario produces the highly qualified workforce that is essential to Ontario’s prosperity. For more information, visit