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May 5, 2014

St. Thomas campus officially opens new labs thanks to generous donations.

On Friday, May 2, 2014, the St. Thomas/Elgin Campus of Fanshawe College celebrated the opening of its new Dorothy Fay Palmer Renewable Energies Lab and John W. F. Palmer Welding Lab.

The labs were made possible through private donations from the Estate of Dorothy Fay Palmer, totaling more than $1,000,000.

"Fanshawe is very grateful for the donations that we have received from the Estate of Dorothy Palmer," said Catherine Finlayson, Executive Director of the Fanshawe College Foundation. "We are proud to share in her legacy by supporting education programs and learning labs that will provide opportunities in St. Thomas, responding to the changing needs of employers for specialized skilled labor. These gifts are truly inspirational and demonstrate the difference that private donor support can make in our communities."

Guests at the event included St. Thomas mayor Heather Jackson, Elgin County warden David Marr and local MPP Jeff Yurek. Also present was St. Thomas resident Andrew Gunn, trustee for the Estate, who originally announced the donation of funds to help establish the new facilities. In addition to this major contribution, the Estate has provided funds to help the College develop a new program in Power Engineering.

Fanshawe has identified welding and renewable energies, among others, as high-demand career sectors throughout the province.

"The new learning labs will enable the College and the St. Thomas/Elgin Campus to prepare students for emerging labour market needs in the region and the country," said campus chair Ross Fair. "The fact that our last two Welding class graduates and our first Renewable Energies Technician graduates have all obtained full-time employment within their chosen fields so soon after graduation attests to the excellence of our programs and the quality of students we are attracting."

Fair also noted the state-of-the-art labs can help the campus to increase continuing education and contract training options for local industry.

More than 75 students each semester are expected to use the new labs, including students in the Welding Certificate, Pre-Apprentice and Apprentice Millwright programs and High School Dual Credit students.

Welding at St. Thomas campus
Welding at St. Thomas/Elgin Campus