Community leaders, partners and friends of Conestoga joined current and former college employees and board members at the Waterloo campus on Thursday, May 18 for a gala celebration in recognition of the contributions of President John Tibbits, named as Kitchener-Waterloo’s Citizen of the Year by the Lions Club of Kitchener.
The award, established in 1957, is presented annually to a resident from the Kitchener-Waterloo area in recognition of their leadership, vision, and impact on the community. First presented to Ira Needles, the Citizen of the Year honour has been bestowed on an expansive list of community leaders, including Walter Bean, Jack Harper, Owen Lackenbauer, Mac Voisin, Elizabeth Witmer, Ron Schlegel, and Jim Hallman.
The evening included tributes to President Tibbits from municipal leaders, current and former board members, community partners, family and friends. All lauded Tibbits for his vison and passion and his unwavering commitment to making a difference for students and for the community throughout his tenure as Conestoga president, which began in 1987.
Kitchener mayor Berry Vrbanovic praised Tibbits for his passion for learning and his dedication to community building, pointing out that Conestoga’s growth and success have been the result of both the vision to see the full potential of what the college could offer, combined with the leadership and relationships to make that vision a reality. “You’ve made our city and the entire region a better place to work, live and play every day.”
Business leader Maureen Cowan described Tibbits’ impact as “phenomenal - on the college, on students, on businesses and on the community.”
The award was presented by 2018 Citizen of the Year Jim Hallman.
In his remarks, President Tibbits extended thanks to the many employees, supporters, and friends of the college who have played significant roles in its growth and success.
“This is a college award,” Tibbits said, “and is the result of a lot of good people doing a lot of good things.”
“We’re committed to going forward still,” he continued. “We’ll continue to focus on what we do best: quality in applied learning, helping employers become more successful and competitive through the delivery of training and applied research, and providing opportunities for everyone to become the best they can be.”
Lead sponsors for the gala event included Conestoga, Activa, ApplyBoard, and Cowan. Proceeds from the event will be used to support the efforts of the Lions Foundation of Canada to provide dog guides for children with autism, those who are visually or hearing impaired, have diabetes, are physically handicapped, or have seizures due to epilepsy.
For more information, visit the Lions Club of Kitchener.