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Thousands help UOIT celebrate historic graduating class

Degrees conferred on first-ever class of four-year undergraduate and graduate students; three honorary doctorates

OSHAWA, ON. - Thousands of guests helped mark postsecondary history today, as the province's first new university in 40 years, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), held convocation ceremonies for its first-ever class of four-year undergraduate and graduate students.

With graduates' family members and friends, university officials, other academic leaders, politicians and community leaders in attendance, UOIT Chancellor Lyn McLeod conferred Bachelor's and Master's degrees upon 658 students and bestowed three honorary doctorates during two ceremonies at Oshawa's General Motors Centre. Less than four years after UOIT began classes, the centre was alive with excitement for the graduation of these next-generation professionals and the promise they hold as the global leaders of tomorrow.

"It is with great honour that I confer degrees upon this historic class," said McLeod. "These students will forever hold a special place in UOIT history as the university's pioneers. At UOIT our goal is to inspire and encourage our students to their greatest potential and so it is with great pride that we celebrate this important accomplishment in their lives, graduation day. Just as these graduates grew academically and personally during their time here, so too did UOIT. We've quickly established a tremendous reputation and our future looks exceedingly bright."

It was in the early 1990s when prominent Durham Region leaders began working to realize the vision of a student-focused institution dedicated to great teaching, groundbreaking research and the use of leading-edge learning technology. By preparing students for critically needed, knowledge-intensive careers, the new university aimed to ensure bright futures for its graduates while generating economic growth for Durham Region, Northumberland County and all of Ontario.

Start-up funds were announced by the provincial government on May 9, 2001 and Bill 109 - the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Act - officially passed on June 27, 2002, making UOIT a postsecondary reality for the province of Ontario.

The first class of 947 students began studies on September 4, 2003 on a campus shared with Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario. In the months and years since, UOIT has rapidly built a national reputation for its high-tech learning environment that includes a laptop with industry-specific software for every student, a commitment to research excellence that has resulted in millions of dollars in grants and bursaries, and a globally experienced faculty that collectively speak more than 20 languages and hold degrees from over 20 countries.

"This is a historic day for our graduates, for everyone at UOIT and for postsecondary education," said Dr. Ronald Bordessa, president of UOIT. "These graduates possess an aptitude for critical thinking, hands-on research experience and a high-tech skill set that is already putting them in demand by today's leading businesses and industries. UOIT's unique mission also ensures they are graduating as competent thinkers and doers, aware of the importance of both of these two life disciplines."

Today's graduates will go on to careers in the nuclear and health-care industries, engineering, and several innovative fields including science, education, criminology and justice, business and commerce, and information technology security among many others. The following is a list of degrees conferred and the number of UOIT class of 2007 graduates:

Degree Graduates
Bachelor of Arts (Honours)
Bachelor of Commerce (Honours)
Bachelor of Education
Bachelor of Engineering
Bachelor of Engineering and Management, Nuclear Engineering
Bachelor of Engineering, Nuclear Engineering
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Honours)
Bachelor of Science (Honours)
Master of Information Technology Security

In addition to conferring Master's and Bachelor's degrees, the ceremonies also saw the conferral of three honorary degrees which recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions in their chosen field of academic eminence, to greater society or in areas relevant to the mission of UOIT, Durham Region and Northumberland County. The morning ceremony saw an honorary Doctor of Science bestowed upon Dr. David Scott, while the afternoon ceremony honoured Bob Baun and James O'Donnell with honorary Doctors of Laws.

Founding director of the Institute for Integrated Energy Systems at the University of Victoria, Dr. Scott has made numerous important contributions to the study of hydrogen. He is the author of an influential report, Hydrogen: National Mission for Canada, and serves as a consultant to the federal government, major U.S. laboratories and multinational consulting firms. He is currently vice-president for the Americas of the International Association for Hydrogen Energy and was recognized by that body with the prestigious Jules Verne Award in 2006.

A National Hockey League legend, successful businessman and great philanthropist, Baun has positively impacted countless lives throughout his career, selflessly helping others achieve their dreams and supporting organizations that make a difference in the community and around the world. He has assisted many different charities over the years, notably those that benefit individuals with disabilities. In Durham Region, residents are particularly grateful for his many efforts to provide scholarships and bursaries for postsecondary students.

O'Donnell's pioneering spirit, professional achievement and deep devotion to enriching the lives of others have made him a model and inspiration to others. Along with founding the multibillion-dollar Mackenzie Financial Corporation, he is currently chair of the O'Donnell Capital Group. In 2002 he was presented with the prestigious Canadian Investment Funds Career Achievement Award. O'Donnell has made substantial contributions to amateur sports, children's causes and a variety of other philanthropic initiatives throughout his career.


About UOIT
As an innovative university, UOIT delivers a leading-edge learning environment that uniquely combines academic knowledge, research opportunities, hands-on skills and a vibrant student life. UOIT's 4,300 students are taught by professors who are experts in their fields from around the world. As Ontario's first laptop-based university, the university offers more than 30 challenging undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of Business and Information Technology, Criminology, Justice and Policy Studies, Education, Engineering, Health Sciences, and Sciences. UOIT's commitment to research excellence has resulted in millions of dollars in grants and awards, including five Canada Research Chairs. To find out more, visit or call 905.721.8668.

About Ontario Tech University
A modern, forwarding-thinking university, Ontario Tech advances the discovery and application of knowledge to accelerate economic growth, regional development and social innovation. We inspire and equip our students and our graduates to make a positive impact in a tech-focused world. For us, it’s not only about developing the next tech breakthrough. Understanding and integrating the social and ethical implications of technology differentiates us as university. Learn more at

Media contact
Tony Doyle or Allison Rosnak
Communications and Marketing
Ontario Tech University
905.721.8668 ext. 2209 or ext. 2513