Partner of the Decade

2013 Olds College Student Association


The Olds College Student's Association (OCSA) represents the Colleges Student body and plays a key role in supporting their goals and values. The OCSA pledged $1.01 million to the Community Learning Campus (CLC) during the College's impressive 2005 Capital Campaign - making this the largest, non-government donor at that time. For this gesture, they were nominated as the Philanthropic Group for the Generosity of Spirit Award by Olds College.

In 2010 the OCSA launched the Hands Elevating, Leading & Providing (HELP) project that gave regional organizations access to student volunteers. The initiative widened participation and student engagement within the community.



Partner of the Century

Alberta Government

Alberta Government


Partner of the Year 

2017 Partner of the Year

David Werklund and Susan Norman

Every year, Olds College presents a very special award at our ‘Growing the Legacy’ Gala - Partner of the Year. This award is determined by a process that consults College staff, faculty and alumni. Senior Administration deliberates over the nominations and makes their recommendation to the Olds College Board of Governors, who chooses the recipient. It is with great pride that Olds College announces David Werklund and Susan Norman as our 2017 Partner of the Year!

Through their transformational gift of $16M, the largest ever personal donation to an Alberta college or technical institution, Olds College will establish the Werklund Agriculture Institute (WAI) and will specialize in smart agriculture. With a vision to be the world’s premier destination for an integrated agricultural leadership learning experience, the WAI will engage students, researchers and industry in smart and sustainable agriculture and agri-business solutions, leadership, and education to contribute to Western Canada’s leadership position as an agriculture and food powerhouse.

“Mr. Werklund and Ms. Norman’s generous donation will accelerate engagement, innovation and
technology adoption within the agriculture and food industry, and open up new agriculture
enterprise in Alberta and around the world.”

- Dr. H.J (Tom) Thompson, President, Olds College




Past Years

2016 - Ben Meyer

 Shunda Construction Profile

Ben Meyer, 2016

Ben Meyer, President of Shunda Consulting & Construction Management Ltd. and College Housing (Olds) Co. (CHOC) will be honoured as the 2016 Olds College Partner of the Year at the College’s 14th Annual Growing the Legacy Gala.

In 2013, in a move demonstrating fiscal responsibility and long-term vision, Olds College proceeded with outsourcing on-campus student housing, establishing the first private housing model on a college campus in Alberta. This decision by Olds College was focused on future-proofing the campus to ensure that student housing is efficient,
effective, and has the capacity to continue meeting student needs well into the future.

Meyer’s two companies, Shunda and College Housing (Olds) Co. (CHOC), collaborated to design and build the innovative new Centennial Village student housing facility, along with the renovation of the existing College Courts townhouses.

With the completion of Centennial Village in 2015, Olds College relinquished the management of all campus housing at the main campus to CHOC. This management structure allows Olds College to allocate resources towards educating students rather than the infrastructure and management of College housing facilities.

Shunda and CHOC

2015 - O-Net

O-Net, 2015

Our community prides itself on being innovative, a leader in Alberta’s rural development, and O-NET and Olds College share part of the credit for that. O-NET has proven that it is possible to build a reliable high-speed network that meets the needs of the community without relying on large national corporations.

The O-NET fibre network permits everyone enough bandwidth to meet their needs, whether for personal or business use, or, as the College does, connect hundreds of students and staff at once. The capabilities of the network are infinite and Olds residents and businesses along with Olds College can expand with no limitations.


2014 - 4-H

4-H, 2014

The relationship between Olds College and 4-H was established early on in the life of both institutions.  The first 4-H Club in Canada was established in Roland, Manitoba in 1913, the same year that Olds College first opened its doors. The first Albertan 4-H club was founded in 1917, by Olds College founder Mr. W. J. Elliot, on the Olds College. Campus. The partnership between Olds College and 4-H has developed naturally on a basis of common goals and values.

The shared commitment to developing technical skills, leadership in rural communities, fostering of entrepreneurial skills, and high level communication and teamwork skills, while following the 4-H motto, “learn to do by doing” has resulted in long term success for both institutions, and a partnership that has included co-promoting dozens of events, and consistently working together to ensure that rural Albertan youth have the best opportunity to reach their full potential.

2013 - Pomeroy Lodging

Pomeroy Lodging, 2013

The Pomeroy Inn & Suites is one of the fastest growing hospitality companies in Western Canada. It’s been two years since the official partnership was announced. Olds College welcomed the community of Olds and our campus community to join together in celebration for the opening of the Pomeroy Inn & Suites at Olds College in July of 2013.

This four star hotel and conference centre will boast first-rate food services and commercial kitchen, will serve the many visitors in the growing community of Olds, and double as the learning centre for the Canadian Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship (CIRE). This multi-million dollar facility has been integrated into the academic programming by housing the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management Diploma.

2012 - J.C. (Jack) Anderson

J.C. (Jack) Anderson, 2012

In 2007, Mr. Anderson donated $1 Million to the College to use without restrictions – the largest individual gift in Olds College’s 99 year history. In January 2012, he exceeded his own record by donating his life-long collection of 100 vintage cars and trucks for the celebration of the College’s 2013 Centennial year. 

“He’s not an Olds College alumnus, but in so many ways he might as well be,” notes Olds College President, Dr. Tom Thompson. “It is rare in giving and philanthropy that a donation is given to use without restrictions, even more rare, for it to happen twice.” Barry Mehr, Chair, Board of Governors, states adding, “It’s very flattering that he trusts in the governing capacity and wisdom of our Board and administration. ‘Thanks’ is simply not enough to express the gratitude and extent of this gift.”

Jack unquestionably has the College’s best interest in mind explaining the intent of his gift. “I was very impressed with what was offered here [Olds College]. Money is easier to raise in Calgary. Olds is a good school and it would be of more benefit to them than it would be to somebody in Calgary.” To be the recipient of Partner of the Year, a nominee must reflect the mission of Olds College and support the values, mandate and mission in a manner that has a positive, measurable and lasting impact on the College.

When Olds College asked Mr. Anderson if he would accept the award as Partner of the Year, he humbly responded “I guess that would be fine. ”News of Jack Anderson’s $2 million vintage car and truck donation generated national, international and local headlines stretching as far as Toronto and New York City and has been mentioned on countless auto and financial websites extending as far as Germany. 


2011 - The Government of Canada

The Government of Canada,  2011

Olds College was the grateful recipient of substantial investment from multiple departments and granting bodies of the Federal Government throughout 2009 and 2010.  Nearly $9 Million of support has been invested in the development of the College’s Botanic Garden and Treatment Wetlands, to assist facility maintenance and upgrading and to fuel applied research efforts in the last several months alone.  “One of the things we are really keen to do is something that perhaps others might take for granted in dealing with the government, and that is to simply say thank you,” said Mehr.

Furthering this synergy, added Mehr, is the fact that the Federal Government has designated 2011 as the “Year of the Entrepreneur,” calling on the private sector – particularly small-and-medium sized businesses – to “lead the charge.” In December 2010, Olds College announced its intentions to play a key role in such development by launching the Canadian Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship.

2010 - Heavy Equipment Industry

Heavy Equipment Industry, 2010

"We are especially pleased to name the Heavy Equipment Industry our 2010 Partner of the Year;" says Dr. Tom Thompson, President of Olds College.  "In addition to the industry's contribution of millions of dollars in equipment and cash donations in any given year, the connection between their employment needs and the real-life, hands-on learning offered by Olds College couldn't be more clear and direct."

Following an inquiry from a local construction company who needed operator training, Olds College began its first Heavy Equipment Operator program in February, 2007. Since that time, the College has prepared a continuously steady stream of students for industry careers. Fruitful partnerships have been forged with dozens of industry organizations and companies, with specialized courses being created for diverse groups such as Metis organizations and women-specific training programs. College staff, faculty and industry partners concur: An amazing amount of synergy has developed in a very short period of time and it promises to grow exponentially in the years to come.

Wendy Walls, a respected member of the Heavy Equipment Industry, has signed on as volunteer Chair of the Gala event.  Co-owner of Red Deer's Border Paving, Walls has a long track record of community voluntarism and governance leadership, including terms as Chair of the United Way (Red Deer), the YMCA, the Red Deer College Foundation board and the first-ever female President of the Red Deer Golf and Country Club.  

2009 - Olds College Alumni

Olds College Alumni, 2009

Olds College Alumni

For 2009, the Olds College Board of Governors has approved a pluralistic or somewhat abstract concept that does not succinctly fit into “individual, corporation or not for profit.”  The Partner of the Year will celebrate the Olds College alumni as a collective or at large group.  There are approximately 22,000 Olds College alumni, living and deceased over the 96 year heritage of Olds College.

While this Partner of the Year “Olds College Alumni – 22,000 Strong” was approved by the vote, there was a contingency of the board that “didn’t get it”?   There was actually a recorded vote as the Board endorsed the concept on a “leap of faith” in Administration/Advancement and, in a rarity, it was not unanimous

2008 - The University of Alberta

The University of Alberta, 2008

Almost a century of collaboration for the benefit of students and the province is just one of the reasons Olds College is proud to name the University of Alberta its Partner of the Year for 2008.

The most visible facets of the partnership between the U of A and Olds College are the agreements that enable students to transfer credits between the two schools. Over the years many students have completed Olds College diplomas before continuing their education, sometimes to the doctorate level, at the U of A. The University is also a vital partner in the Community Learning Campus (CLC), a visionary project that will enhance rural development and access to education. 

Research and teaching agreements have also ensured collaborative use of research facilities at Olds College by University of Alberta researchers, and involvement of University of Alberta faculty in teaching Olds College courses.

 Like most strong relationships the connection between the University and Olds College is vibrant and growing. Plans for the future include expanding the joint research capacity of the schools in value-added agri-food, providing access to U of A Science programs in Olds, and more.

2007 - The Calgary Exhibition & Stampede

The Calgary Exhibition & Stampede, 2007

The Calgary Exhibition & Stampede helped Olds College celebrate a significant achievement – the first new campus since Olds College’s founding in 1913. 

The history of Olds College and the Calgary Exhibition & Stampede has been intertwined since the two organizations began. Each is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of agriculture, or learning, and of the rural experience. Together the Calgary Exhibition & Stampede and Olds College have paved an undeniable historical legacy – a legacy built on a pioneering spirit which continues today at the Olds College Calgary Campus.