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Alumnus, former president recognized during Georgian convocation

More than 2,800 graduates celebrated Georgian College convocation over three days this week

More than 2,800 graduates celebrated Georgian College convocation over three days this week, with the college also bestowing prestigious awards at the ceremonies to former president and CEO Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes and alumnus Ali Khonsari.

West-Moynes, who was Georgian’s president and CEO from October 2012 until June 2022, received a Board of Governors’ President Emerita Award at a ceremony Monday to acknowledge her exemplary service to the college and its communities.

“I’m extremely humbled and grateful to be recognized with this prestigious award,” said West-Moynes. “It was a privilege to serve Georgian and I remain a steadfast champion of this great college, our students and campus communities.

More than 2,800 graduates celebrated Georgian College convocation over three days from June 17 to 19 at the Gateway Entertainment Centre in Rama. Photo supplied by Georgian College

"I had a wonderful career full of amazing opportunities, surrounded by fantastic teams and rich with memorable experiences. It was deeply meaningful work helping to transform lives and support students to achieve their goals. Receiving this award is a true honour.”

Among her many accomplishments at Georgian, West-Moynes championed a partnership with Lakehead University to increase access, post-secondary participation and degree pathways in Central Ontario; engaged in substantial advocacy that resulted in Georgian and other eligible colleges launching honours bachelor of science – nursing degrees; and drove the opening of the Peter B. Moore Advanced Technology Centre.

“MaryLynn has dedicated her career, spanning more than three decades, to improving the lives of others and made exceptional contributions to post-secondary education and communities regionally, provincially and nationally,” said Mary-Anne Willsey, chair, Georgian College’s board of governors. “She’s an exceptional leader who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to putting students first, increasing access to post-secondary education and improving the many communities in which she has worked in Ontario.”

This year’s spring convocation took place at a new venue, the Gateway Entertainment Centre in Rama. Alumna Nadia George (class of 2009), an Indigenous actor and activist, was a keynote speaker.

At a ceremony Wednesday, alumnus Ali Khonsari received a Board of Governors’ honorary honours bachelor of business administration degree for being a recognized community leader, successful business owner, generous philanthropist, staunch Georgian ambassador, and proud alumnus of our business administration – marketing program (class of 1997).

“I’m extremely honoured to receive this prestigious recognition and to be acknowledged for my contributions to Georgian and the wider community,” said Khonsari. “The college has been an integral part of my story and I remain a dedicated champion of its mission and students. I’m proud to be an alumnus, motivated to continue to give back however I can, and humbled by the opportunities Georgian has provided.”

Khonsari has made many significant contributions to Georgian, including as the chair of the Georgian College board of governors, the advancement committee and a program advisory committee. He has also hired numerous Georgian co-op students and co-chaired Georgian’s fundraising gala last fall, helping to raise a record-breaking $410,000 to support student financial awards and the on-campus student food bank.

“Ali has been highly engaged with Georgian for nearly three decades as a student, alumnus, loyal volunteer, mentor, member of our Board of Governors, and generous philanthropist,” said Kevin Weaver, president and CEO, Georgian College. “He’s the very definition of a changemaker, having made a positive impact in countless ways on the college, our students and community. We’re proud of his accomplishments, appreciative of his ongoing contributions, and pleased to recognize him for his outstanding successes.”

Learn more about Georgian’s alumni community of 100,000-plus grads.