Vicki Heyman addresses over 800 graduates and family at Niagara College Commencement


Niagara College Press Release

June 19, 2018

Spring Convocation ceremonies begin at Niagara College

“Everything outside of yourself is community – engage with it!”

Those words, originating from a fortune cookie, exemplify the inspirational journey Vicki Heyman shared with graduates of Niagara College’s School of Food and Wine Sciences and School of Tourism and Sport during day one of NC’s Spring 2018 Convocation ceremonies on June 19.

Heyman, who is married to former U.S. ambassador Bruce Heyman – who also attended the ceremony – was a cultural envoy during their time in Ottawa from 2014-2017, playing a leading role to help strengthen the bond between Canada and the U.S., leading cross border conversations and programs related to the arts, social innovation and youth engagement. A long-time resident of Chicago, she is co-founder of Uncharted, a valued-driven family office that convenes and connects a diverse group of Americans and Canadians. Her lifelong belief in the power of art and storytelling to inspire community took her from a successful business career to becoming a key part of former U.S. President Barack Obama’s election and re-election campaigns.

She spoke about how she applied her own dreams, through her passion for the arts and storytelling, and how it led her to represent her country in Canada.

“Hearing each other’s stories brings us together with deeper understanding and respect,” she said. “It is each of these stories that make up the fabric of humanity on this diverse, beautiful, and threatened planet. And the only way that we will move forward together is to share those stories and to listen to what we hear.”

She encouraged the new NC graduates to do the same by following their own passions. “Many of you have already discovered your passions while you have been at Niagara College, so hold onto those as you move forward,” she said. “There is no prescribed path to success, but if you are willing to be creative, share your stories, and be open to new opportunities at all times, I know you will get there,”

Heyman received an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies from Niagara College President Dan Patterson during the morning ceremony. Her parting words to students: “Have the courage to be fearless.”

Vicki Heyman at Niagara

A total of 829 students crossed the stage at NC’s Welland Campus at two ceremonies June 20 to become proud Niagara College graduates. In his address to the newly minted alumni, College president Dan Patterson commended graduates for their hard work and accomplishment, and urged them to remain involved in their community through their life and career.

“Your work touches every part of our society,” he said. “You have much to offer in your chosen field and the world around you.”

Patterson also encouraged students to not to take the path of least resistance, but rather to make the most of every opportunity, while at the same time striving for a life of balance.

“I hope you look back on your time at Niagara College with very fond memories.”