Hamm hon­oured

NSCC Pic­tou Cam­pus names new wing af­ter for­mer pre­mier

The News (New Glasgow) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ADAM MACINNIS

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.

ADAM MACINNIS/THE NEWS

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.

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