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Farewell for president of Centennial

Centennial College President Richard Johnston is retiring this month after five and a half years of leading Ontario's first college -- but not before he receives a proper sendoff from many of the friends he's made in this and previous careers spanning 35 years in public service.
Retiring Centennial College president Richard Johnston bestows a Fellow Of Centennial College designation upon Dr. Sheela Basrur, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health and Assistant Deputy Minister of Public Health.

Former Ontario premier Bob Rae, former education minister Bette Stephenson, Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Mary Anne Chambers and Maureen Kempston Darkes, General Motors group vice-president and president, GM Latin America, Africa and Middle East, are among the dignitaries who roasted and toasted Johnston last week at the Delta Toronto East Hotel.

Many accomplishments

Johnston accomplished much in his time at Centennial. He initiated close ties with the University of Toronto at Scarborough; launched nine degree programs; developed the stunning Centennial HP Science and Technology Centre and renovated a former hotel as a student residence. Johnston forged numerous partnerships with the private sector and the community, as well as advocated better college system funding.

Last Wednesday's fundraising dinner was attended by some 400 guests.

All of the proceeds --which will be matched dollar for dollar by the government's Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund -- will be used to establish an endowment in Richard Johnston's name to aid college students in financial need.

Busy days ahead

Even in retirement his days promise to be busy ones. Bob Rae has asked him to join a comprehensive review of the design and funding of Ontario's post-secondary education system, taking his seat beside former premier Bill Davis, among others. Johnston will also be working on his fledgling vineyard in Prince Edward County. He recently launched his own wine label, By Chadsey's Cairns.

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