A celebration of the generosity of donations from the Estate of Dorothy Palmer and the Alma College Foundation was held Friday morning at Fanshawe in St. Thomas. Acting college chair, Donna Gates noted “I could barely keep the smile off my face this morning.” It is a sentiment that was echoed by each of the other speakers who included Catherine Finlayson (Executive Director, Fanshawe College Foundation), Bruno Castellani (Program Coordinator), Mayor Heather Jackson-Chapman and Susan Cluett (Dean, Centre for Community Education & Training Services) as they recognized the contributions and the vision which have made the new program possible.
Gunn also spoke about the appropriateness of having found this use for the Alma College Foundation fund. It had originally been established to find another purpose for Alma College, but the destruction of the building by fire necessitated finding a new application for the money. The motto of the college “Toujours En Avant” (always moving forward) seemed to fit well, he said, with the establishment of a program in renewable energy.
Gunn addressed the audience with son Charlie propped on one hip, noting “my wife had to work today.” It was a suitable back-drop for the celebration of a new program with an eye on education and on a sustainable future.
Plaques commemorating the two donations were unveiled and they, as well as a print of Alma by Peter Robson on display, will be hung at Fanshawe.
The Renewable Energies Technician program will "provide students with a solid theoretical and practical understanding of evolving renewable energy technologies, with an emphasis on systems that harness and generate solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal energy". A portion of the funds will be used to purchase state of the art equipment which will supply surplus power to the electrical grid.