TRURO - An unexpected sound of church music arises from seemingly nowhere. A banner welcoming his presence looms large.
Those are precious memories Kevin Quinlan will take with him as he retires as principal of the Nova Scotia Community College, Truro campus this summer.
Thirteen years ago Quinlan arrived in Truro, with his family still in Regina for the next four months. As he settled comfortably into his new office on a Sunday the day before he officially was to take over, a burst of music came from the nearby lecture theatre in the basement of the college.
“It was a church group who had service every Sunday morning using our lecture theatre. I thought, ‘that’s what community colleges are about. Hosting and welcoming the community,’” Quinlan said of an early impression of his new environment.
It was shortly after that Quinlan was presented with a banner welcoming him to the college.
“I still have it in my garage,” he said.
Now, after many precious memories were made, it’s time to retire, said the 64-year-old.
“I starting working as a 16-year-old as a power engineering apprentice and I haven’t been off work a day in my life since then.
I’ve thought about this for the last four years. There comes a time when you know what is right for you.”
Although Quinlan will officially retire in August, he will not leave until December. He will spend that time organizing and overseeing a community college Dragons’ Den.
“I’ll do one in each NSCC campus … with farmers, fishermen, homeowners … we’ll pick an inventor in each campus to help market their potential and our (courses and students) will help them with patents and testing and those sorts of things.”
He anticipates financing will come from government and multiple agency assistance.
After that, Quinlan will travel with his brother to places such as Peru, Chile, Panama and Costa Rica. Despite the excitement of travelling, Quinlan said he’ll miss life at the college.
“It’s a great place to work … we are touching
the lives of 800 to 900 adult learners, many who are the first graduates in their family.”
Quinlan is also thrilled with the advancements made at the college since he’s been there.
“Before 2001 this building (McCarthy Hall) was a wide open space and now it has a library, classrooms, testing centres and an art centre,” he said.
In addition, he said, it was in the early 2000s that $5 million was put into upgrading the campus’s Forrester Hall. A “more comfortable” learning space was created as were a student lounge and “better” internal, electrical and air systems.
Advancement in enrolment has been a highlight as well.
“It was 504 when I came and it’s been up to 1,000 students. It’s on average 850 to 900 students a year and we have off-campus programs now too.”
Quinlan’s successor has not yet been named. He or she will take over the role of principal in August.
Who: Kevin Quinlan
Resident of: Salmon River
Family: Wife Sharon, three sons and a daughter between the ages of 27 and 45; and three grandsons ages four to 13.
Other jobs: Six years at the University of Regina in the faculty of education department; faculty member, superintendent and principal at Newfoundland and Labrador’s Community College system; work online with Walden University in Minneapolis as a mentor and teacher.
Hobbies – Travelling, golfing, boating.
Hundreds set to graduate from local community college in June
TRURO: More than 300 students will be crossing the community college convocation stage next month in Truro.
The Nova Scotia Community College Truro campus will hold its annual graduation ceremony on June 9 at 10 a.m. The event will take place at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre and is open to family, friends, special guests and the overall community.
According to statistics from the college, there will be 325 graduates receiving diplomas and certificates. The school of access program has 62 graduates; there are 86 in the school of business; 29 grads are from the school of applied arts program; and 148 grads are with the school of health and human services program.
College principal Kevin Quinlan warns parking at the RECC will be “real tight” and three buses will make scheduled runs from the campus to the RECC for the event.
For more information, call the college at 893-5385.