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May. 11, 2021 | Tuesday
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Kennedy named new president of Niagara College
The new president of Niagara College Sean Kennedy has been a part of the college’s senior management team since 2006. (Supplied photo)

The new head of Niagara College says he will carry forward the legacy of outgoing president Dan Patterson.

Sean Kennedy, 51, who has been with the college’s senior management team since 2006, will begin his new duties on Feb. 24.

It’s a “real sense of responsibility,” Kennedy said, and he’s excited to take over the position of a well-respected and long-serving president. Patterson announced his retirement in May 2019 after a 25-year tenure.

“I’ve had the pleasure of learning from him for the last 13 years, working closely with him, so I want to take that torch and take the college in some new direction but continue the momentum and continue all of the success we’ve built on that foundation,” Kennedy said in an interview Friday afternoon.

“Dan and I have a shared set of values and we’ve worked so close together. Those shared values are a commitment to students and students’ success and putting students front and centre.”

The announcement of the college’s sixth president was made on Friday, Jan. 10, at the Welland Campus.

Kennedy said his love for people of Niagara College and the region made him apply for the position, which he secured after being chosen from among two other final candidates.

He moved to Fonthill from Alberta with his wife Kerry and two sons, Aidan and Neil, in 2006. It was a leap of faith, he said, as the family didn’t know anyone or anything about Niagara before moving to the area.

“Even then, the reputation of the college was high. I’d met Dan and had a good feeling about this place,” Kennedy told The Lake Report. “And I’ve never looked back. It’s been a tremendous 13 years and I look forward to the next decade being this exciting.”

Before starting his career at Niagara College, Kennedy worked at Red Deer College for six years as dean of students and associate vice-president of student services and international education.

He was also a professional cross-country skier who coached three different athletes who later became Olympians.

Kennedy started working at the Niagara College as vice-president of student and external relations and CEO of the Niagara College Foundation.

For the 2011-2012 academic year, Kennedy served as interim vice-president of academics. In 2014, he started working as senior vice-president for the college’s international department.

Kennedy listed three areas he’d like to focus on when he starts his new role.

The first goal is to continue focusing on the student experience and providing the best facilities and services so the college continues to be among the top schools in student satisfaction, he said.

Unleashing creativity and academic innovation as well as thinking of new ways of delivering programs is another area of focus, Kennedy added.

The third area will be continuing to build strong partnerships with other educational institutions and municipal governments, as well as industry organizations and leaders.

“I bleed Niagara College blue and I couldn’t be more excited to be the next president,” Kennedy said.