Arlene Dickinson - Honorary Degree

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Arlene Dickinson Presented with Honourary Degree

Olds College’s 102nd graduating class accepted their parchments in the annual graduation ceremony held in the Ralph Klein Centre on Saturday, June 3 in front of a crowd filled with friends, family members and community supporters. A total of 896 students graduated from Olds College this spring. Highlights of the celebration included bestowing a number of awards, including the Olds College Honorary Degree to College friend and supporter Arlene Dickinson.

Arlene Dickinson - Honorary DegreeArlene Dickinson, owner and CEO of Venture Communications, a company she grew from a small, local firm to one of the largest independent agencies in Canada, is also the CEO of District Ventures and, companies aimed at helping market, fund and grow entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies. She is a two times best-selling author, accomplished speaker and is best known to Canadians as one of the venture capitalists on the award-winning CBC series Dragons Den.

As title sponsor of Arlene’s District Ventures, Olds College has had the opportunity to send students to the small business incubator to consult with member businesses and mentor with staff. Arlene is also a supporter of the College’s Beyond campaign, sitting as Honourary Co-Chair of the campaign committee.

“Arlene Dickinson’s passion for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship reflects the values that we hold as an institution,” explains Dr. Jason Dewling, Vice President, Academic and Research. “Her organizations have been tremendously supportive of our students, and she has become a valued partner, advocate, and friend of the College. As such, she is deserving of one our highest honours, our honourary degree.”

Accompanying graduation each year is a number of Olds College’s most prestigious student and faculty award presentations. Congratulations to:

  • Valedictorians – Mackenzie Argent, Agricultural Management – Marketing & Emily McKinnon,  Land & Water Resources, Dual Major – Environmental Stewardship and Rural Planning, Land Reclamation & Mediation
  • Governor General’s Academic Collegiate Bronze Medal – Jenae Doyle, Land and Water Resources – Land Reclamation and Remediation Major
  • Olds College Alumni Association Proficiency Award - Mackenzie Argent, Agricultural Management – Marketing & Madison Nesom, Business Administration – Sports Management
  • Olds College Alumni Association Graduation Prize - Tyson Corti - Land & Water Resources program, Environmental Stewardship and Rural Planning Major
  • Olds College Faculty Association Outstanding Student Award – Ivan Schlag, Land Agent
  • Presidential Instructional Excellence Award – Carmel Maloney, Communications

Olds College would like to offer our congratulations to the Class of 2017.


  • Olds College Valedictorians are selected based on four categories - Campus and Community involvement; leadership and teamwork; public speaking experience; and of course Grade Point Average (GPA).
  • The eldest of three kids on a family farm Northwest of Cremona, AB. Mackenzie has is an avid lover of agriculture and animals, the outdoors, and her friends and family. She is a recent graduate of the Agricultural Management program with a major in Marketing, and plans to pursue her career in communications and marketing in her future. She served as Internal Vice President of the Students Association of Olds College in 2017.
  • Emily McKinnon grew up on a family farm in Dalemead, Alberta. She is a graduate of the Land and Water Resources program, and the most recent of several generations of the McKinnon family to have attended Olds College. She has a strong love for breakfast and adventures and is beyond honored to be representing the Class of 2017. Emily was the Academic Vice President of the Students Association of Olds College in 2017.
  • Olds College is committed to acknowledging individuals and groups who make extraordinary contributions that support the mission, vision and outcomes of the college. The Board of Governors, upon recommendation, may confer Honorary Degrees to individuals who are identified as deserving of acknowledgement for their contributions to the betterment of Olds College.
  • The Governor General’s Academic Collegiate Bronze Medal is presented annually to one student in each post-secondary institution in Canada. The Bronze Medal is awarded by Olds College to the student considered to have achieved overall excellence both academically and within the college community.
  • Olds College Presidential Instructional Excellence Award recipient Carmel Maloney is a Communications instructor at Olds College and is respected among her students and peers for using a variety of teaching techniques to increase and maintain student engagement in class. She maintains a high standard for her students. Carmel cultivates a relationship of trust with each of her students, helping students build confidence in their abilities and ensuring that they reach their full potential.