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Algonquin College Event Management Program Celebrates Milestones –25 Year Anniversary & Raising $1M and 100 Wishes for the Children’s Wish Foundation

Over the years, the Event Management program at Algonquin College has graduated many very innovative and involved meeting and event professionals, of which some have been very active and contributing members to the MPI Ottawa Chapter. On Saturday, May 13, 2017 at the college’s Minto Hall, graduates, along with current students, and guests celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Event Management program and the amazing contributions made, while studying, to raise funds for various charities.

The Event Management program includes a variety of relevant curriculum incorporated with hands on work placement. A critical aspect of the program is experiential, which provides the opportunity for students to form teams and put the skills and knowledge they develop in the classroom into “live” community projects. The teams create, plan and execute an event in the community on a zero-based budget, with the help and assistance of industry mentors, suppliers, partners and donors.

Funds raised through these community projects have been donated to various projects and organizations, including: building a school in Africa; developing a student bursary; MADD Canada; CanHave; The Royal Mental Health-Care & Research; and Muscular Dystrophy Canada. For the past 10 years, the majority of the money raised has been directed to a special partnership with the Children’s Wish Foundation. When the “Creating Magic” partnership was developed, these student events became known locally and nationally as the “Wish Events”.

And at this event, not only did guests celebrate the 25th Anniversary milestone of the Event Management program but also their contribution of having raised $1 million for the Children’s Wish Foundation. Guests, who included many grads and MPI Ottawa Chapter members, were extremely moved to be on hand to hear that this unique accomplishment meant that one hundred wishes could be granted for children with life-threatening and life altering illnesses.
Guests were invited to the event via a special personalized video message from Canadian television personality Rick Mercer, and a message from Aliya-Jasmine Sovani, FOX Sports West reporter and past host & producer at E! News, talk show host for Bravo, reporter for Discovery, and Senior Correspondent at MTV.

Event highlights:

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  • Mouthwatering hors d’oeuvres, succulent four-course meal and beverage service.
  • Interactive networking activities.
  • Primary emcee for the evening, none other than MPI Ottawa Chapter member Brian Henry who sat on the planning committee as well as contributed to the sound and lighting requirements at the event. Joining him was our special co-host Sovani who flew in from Los Angeles especially for the event

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  • The attendance of several political dignitaries including Anita Vandenbeld, Member of Parliament for Ottawa West and His Worship Mayor Jim Watson who proclaimed May 13, Algonquin College Event Management Day to recognize the milestone of 25 years and the contributions made to the City of Ottawa by alumni of the program.


  • Entertainment provided by Sax Appeal, Soprano Devon Saulis, and Pianist Cynthia Tauro
  • A variety of speakers including Altaf Sovani, Chair of the School of Hospitality & Tourism; Jim Kyte, Dean of the School of Hospitality & Tourism; Chris Kotsopoulus, Chief Executive Officer of the Children’s Wish Foundation; and Kathyrn Leroux, Chair, Algonquin College Board of Governors who presented students of the Event Management program with the “Change Makers Award”.

A very memorable part of the evening was the granting of a wish to a young boy named Colin whose wish was to have a “Man Cave” built in his home. Colin, accompanied by his parents, was on hand to hear the news that his wish was going to be granted and to receive a few of the smaller items, including an autographed Ottawa Senators jersey with a video message from Chris Phillips, a strong supporter of CHEO and the Children’s Wish Foundation.


The Event Management program would like to extend a sincere thank you to all of the grads and industry members who joined the planning committee, and to the event sponsors and suppliers: LouLou Lounge Furniture Rental, Quality Entertainment, Algonquin College (AC50 & AC Alumni) and the School of Hospitality & Tourism, Adup Display, Trius Winery, Centurion Conference & Event Centre, D.E. Systems Ltd., Pendleton Translations Limited, The Hot Potato Company, to our entertainers, Sax Appeal, Devon Saulis and Cynthia Tauro, and to our photographer Kim Hoye of Fun And Fancy Photography.

sandyouelletteArticle Written by Sandy Ouellette Algonquin College

Article Edited By Cynthia Beaudin, Canada Foundation for Innovation