Conestoga news

October 18, 2018 8:00 PM

Conestoga celebrates grand opening of new campus in Waterloo

Industry and community partners, current and former students and local dignitaries joined in the celebration as Conestoga marked the grand opening of its newly expanded campus in Waterloo at a special evening event held on October 18.

Conestoga College - Career Centre.JPG
The Conestoga community celebrated the grand opening of its newly renovated campus in Waterloo.

The $58M expansion project, initiated in 2016 with support provided through the Government of Canada’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, provides 150,000 additional square feet of classroom, lab and student space. Special features include state-of-the-art culinary and hospitality labs, a new, expanded student-run restaurant open to the public, technology-enabled classrooms and a Welcome Centre that will provide access to programming and services for full and part-time students, newcomers to Canada and individuals seeking career counselling or job search support.

“This new facility will be instrumental in Conestoga’s ability to serve the needs of our community and provide many more opportunities for people to access the education and training they need to launch successful futures,” said President John Tibbits. “We are deeply grateful for the support provided by our partners and friends, and most particularly to The Cowan Foundation, for their leadership in supporting the development of this important new facility.”

“I am honoured to announce that the Welcome Centre here at Waterloo will be known as the Cowan Welcome Centre in recognition of their transformative leadership gift to support this project,” Tibbits continued.

The Cowan Foundation provided a gift of $4 million to support the Waterloo campus expansion and development project. The gift is the single largest from a private donor in the college’s 50-year history.  

“The goal of The Cowan Foundation is to make a positive difference in the lives of Canadians and the broader well-being of communities,” said Maureen Cowan, Chair of the Board of The Cowan Foundation. “Conestoga does that in so many ways, responding to changing needs and empowering learners from all backgrounds and circumstances to achieve their highest potential.”

“We are confident that our investment in this project will have a lasting impact on the many students, clients, new Canadians and job seekers who will enter these doors in the years to come, and that impact will spread across the broader community,” Cowan continued.

Cowan also made a surprise announcement at the event, honouring long-time president John Tibbits.

“For more than 30 years, John Tibbits has worked tirelessly with staff, students and the community to transform Conestoga into a true leader in career-focused education and training,” Cowan explained. “In recognition of his profound contributions to college and community, I am very pleased to announce that this campus will be named in his honour, and known as the John W. Tibbits Campus of Conestoga College.”

About Conestoga
Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning is a leader in polytechnic education, delivering a comprehensive range of career-focused education and training programs at campuses in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Brantford, Stratford and Ingersoll. Full-time enrolment of 16,500 in Fall 2018 includes almost 7,000 international students from more than 80 countries. Approximately 45,000 additional learners are served each year through continuing education, corporate training, apprenticeship and language training. For more information, visit

About The Cowan Foundation
The Cowan Foundation was started in 1995 in honour of Frank Cowan, the founder of Frank Cowan Company and Cowan Insurance Group. The Foundation is sustained by the ongoing success of the Princeton Holdings group of companies including Cowan Insurance Group, Frank Cowan Company, The Guarantee Company of North America, Cowan Asset Management and Fountain Street Finance. Together they provide insurance and risk management products and services for individuals, businesses, organizations and public entities, as well as assisting employers with their group benefits, retirement and health and disability management plans. The goal of The Cowan Foundation is to make a positive difference in the lives of Canadians and the broader well-being of our communities. For more information, please visit