Algonquin’s 50th anniversary will be commemorated throughout 2017 with innovative projects and a strong focus on students, both past and present.

With a focus on Algonquin alumni and continuing Algonquin’s commitment to finding new ways to improve, 2017 will serve as a year to reflect on and celebrate the past 50 years, said president Cheryl Jensen in an interview with the Times Jan. 13.

Algonquin will celebrate the themes of pride, connection, giving back and diversity during its 50th year, she added.

Jensen says the pride of Algonquin’s students and staff has been a factor that sets the college apart from other schools she has come to know over the years.

The school’s pride will be commemorated with limited edition 50th anniversary merchandise in the Connections store throughout 2017 for staff and students to purchase.

Algonquin’s alumni network has been an important part of the college community over its 50 years in Ottawa.

To recognize the significance of Algonquin’s alumni, the college will host a gala later this year, that will serve as a celebratory event for the school’s past students, employees and employers and a fundraiser for the school. The funds raised will go back into the school with a portion going towards financial aid for students.

Good Morning Algonquin, a newsletter for the staff of Algonquin, will have feature profiles celebrating some of the college’s alumni throughout 2017.

“We want to try to recognize our alumni individually over the year,” said Jensen. Alumni and current students will have an opportunity to celebrate Algonquin’s 50th anniversary together during College Day in the City.

The event will encourage past and present members of the college to wear green on the designated event date to celebrate 50 years of Algonquin College.

The 50th anniversary is an opportunity to create goodwill in the city by giving back to the community, said Jensen. Algonquin provided training programs for volunteers involved with Ottawa’s 2017 celebrations as a way to enact the theme of giving back to the greater community of Ottawa.

“We’ll be encouraging volunteerism for our students and for our staff during our 50th,” said Jensen.

Within the Algonquin community, the college can expect the completion of the new library by the spring of 2018.

The launch of Algonquin’s partnership with the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre that will have students in the personal support worker program doing hands-on work within the hospital is one of many partnerships the college will have moving forward, said Jensen.

Jensen wants Algonquin to continue finding innovative ways to improve the school and its programs.

“We can’t rest on our reputation. We have to continue innovating and improving,” said Jensen.

About $45 million has been pledged for the Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Centre and Institute for Indigenous Entrepreneurship at Algonquin.

The centre will provide assistance for students interested in business with resources available specifically for Aboriginal students to help with their future careers.

Jensen added that celebrating Algonquin’s Aboriginal students and their heritage is an important aspect to the theme of diversity being celebrated throughout 2017.

A new college coat of arms will be revealed in the spring. The design will commemorate the school’s history and will contain a special element paying homage to the school’s aboriginal heritage.

The coat of arms will symbolize Algonquin’s past successes with its mission to constantly better itself as an innovative institution for staff and students.

“What a year to capture our past and where we’re going in the future,” said Jensen.