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Confederation College in a great place, says outgoing president

With more than 7,100 students, new programs launching, Kathleen Lynch likes the direction the award-winning school is heading
Confederation College president Kathleen Lynch delivers her final report to the community on Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY — Kathleen Lynch is confident she’s leaving Confederation College in a position of strength.

Lynch, who is stepping down next month as president of the Northwestern Ontario institution, on May 22 delivered her final State of the School address to the community of Thunder Bay, citing new partnerships, the college’s economic impact and the launch of new programs as good indicators of where the college is at.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to highlight some of our successes. Of course, we can’t go through everything we’ve achieved, but I think giving people a sense of what the college is doing is really important,” Lynch said.

“People are interested in the college, and they want to see that we’re responding to local needs and the needs of Northwestern Ontario.

"And I’ll be going on the road after this to do this in all of our regional communities where we have campuses to show them the work that we’ve done in the region as well.”

Looking at the report, Lynch pointed to the college’s sustainability development gold award from Colleges and Institutes Canada.

“We’ve worked really hard on sustainability on the campus, and a lot of people put a lot of work into this, including our faculty and our students.

"It’s great to be recognized. I’m really happy with the launch of our bachelor of science in nursing program and that it’s been so well received, that it’s been full and we’ve had great retention in the program this year,” Lynch said.

By the numbers, the report indicates the college has an annual economic impact of about $700.6 million and has a hand in one in 13 jobs in Northwestern Ontario.

The school boasts 7,141 learners and has 340 apprenticeship students across nine skilled trades programs.

The report also highlights the launch of the pharmacy technician and office administration streams programs.

It’s not all rosy, Lynch said.

While things are looking OK for international enrollment at the moment, there is concern that could change if rules are changed again.

Lynch cited a recent announcement by Immigration Minister Marc Miller capping study permit applications for the coming year at 606,250.

The college should be OK for now, Lynch said.

“We’re really happy with our permit allocation, but I think it remains to be seen how Canada is perceived by international students.

"So, I anticipate there will be a bit of a rocky road ahead until we regain some equilibrium in the international market,” Lynch said.

While happy with current enrolment numbers, she added the future does come with some uncertainty, though she’s confident the college’s reputation in the community, the region and across the country will help its cause.

— TBnewswatch