NSCC Pictou Campus names new wing after former premier
A new trades and innovation centre at the NSCC in Stellarton has been named after former premier John Hamm for his contributions to the Pictou County campus.
As Ray Ivany drove into Pictou County, he thought of 2003.
In the history of the Nova Scotia Community College, that year marked a turning point he believes has reshaped the face of not only education, but also the economy in Nova Scotia.
Ivany was a guest at NSCC Pictou Campus in Stellarton where his longtime friend John Hamm was honoured by having the new Trades and Innovation Centre at the campus named after him. In Pictou County, Hamm is a prominent political figure, having served as the MLA for Pictou Centre from 1993 to 2006, and as premier of Nova Scotia from 1996 to 2006.
But what led to the Friday, Nov. 30, announcement was the role he played, along with Ivany, who was president of the NSCC in 2003, in having $123 million invested into the community college.
“To me it was more than an investment in a college, rather an investment in our province’s future — an investment to help deal with an increasingly competitive, diversified world,” Hamm said Friday.
Reflecting, Ivany recalled how at the time unemployment numbers were relatively high, yet there was a skilled labour shortage in the province.
“The reason for that frankly was we had an underdeveloped college system,” Ivany said. “When the economy said we need these people, they weren’t there.”
Both Hamm and Ivany concluded it needed the investment from the provincial government for a transformation that would bring the NSCC in line with other community colleges in the country.
Thankfully, Ivany said, that investment was made under Hamm’s leadership and there was the transformation they had predicted. Driving into Stellarton, Ivany could see it at a campus that has grown in size and numbers and now offers more programs than ever before.
“It’s a pretty remarkable change.”
Speaking at the event, Hamm said he was honoured to have his name attached to the community college.
“A college diploma is more than a piece of paper,” he said. “It’s the key to a better and more productive life. College teaches you how to do things. Innovation leads to, how can we do them better. College training leads to better skills, allowing transition to more complex activities. The Pictou campus is an integral part of building an economy that will be a future for rural Nova Scotia.”
Ivany is sure that without the 2003 investment, that wouldn’t be the case.
“I think we would have seen a continuation of having economic opportunity and not having the people to take advantage of that opportunity,” he said.
Former premier John Hamm and former NSCC president Ray Ivany speak with each other at the NSCC Pictou Campus in Stellarton where, on Friday, Nov. 30, a new wing was named in honour of Hamm.