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College launches celebration year

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The Rainy River District campus of Confederation College hosted a small gathering last Wednesday to launch a year of celebration in conjunction with the Thunder Bay-based college’s 50th anniversary.

Refreshments were served as staff, students, alumni, and other guests looked over a timeline of the college’s history.

They also signed a guest book that will be on hand to all visitors in the year ahead.

“This event is about looking to the past and realizing how far we’ve come,” explained local campus manager Sandra Turner.

Wednesday’s come-and-go gathering, however, is only a beginning to the year of celebration that’s planned.

“There will be a few small events throughout the year and we are looking to have a larger, more formal homecoming-type celebration later in the year,” Turner noted.

A date hasn’t been set yet set but it likely will be held sometime in the fall.

“It will be open to the community, and be a chance for alumni and staff to get together,” Turner said.

Confederation College first opened in Thunder Bay in 1967 and since has expanded to include eight regional campuses across Northwestern Ontario.

Fort Frances was the initial regional campus established when it opened up in 1969 in a building on Scott Street.

After a few more moves, the campus set up shop in 1998 adjacent to the Fort Frances High School, where it continues to serve students.

Turner said the importance of having a campus here in Rainy River District comes in the form of accessible post-secondary education, which produces skilled workers for the area.

“We are contributing to the future of the community,” she explained.

Turner also stressed their success can be attributed, in part, to local organizations the college has been able to partner with.

The local campus currently has 80 post-secondary students studying in 17 different programs in the fields of health, business, the trades, and more.

According to Turner, the employment rate for students after six months is 85 percent.

Turner also cited the value of the dual credit program, a partnership between the college and the Rainy River District School Board, which allows students to obtain both college and high school credits.

She said it is very popular for students who want to get a head start on their post-secondary education.

Overall, Confederation College boasts some 7,800 students, including 3,400 full-time students across nine campuses, and more than 60 full-time programs in 11 different areas of study.

The regional economic impact and contribution is valued at $411.2 million annually.

Wednesday’s launch event here was held in conjunction with similar events at the main campus in Thunder Bay and most of the regional campuses.

The rest of the regional ones held their launch events in the days following.

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