Dr. John Strasser - Life Long learner
Dr. John A. Strasser leads a team of innovative faculty, administrators and support staff at St. Clair College who value student success as their top priority. Originally from Sydney, Nova Scotia, Dr. Strasser is a life-long learner and his post-secondary education includes an Engineering diploma from St. Francis Xavier University, an Associate Degree in Business Management from LaSalle University, a Master of Science degree from Pennsylvania State University and a Doctorate degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the Technical University of Nova Scotia.
Dr. Strasser began his professional career as a Research Scientist with the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources in Ottawa. After spending more than two decades in the public and private sectors serving in operating and senior management positions in quality controls, energy management and international sales and marketing, he was appointed the President of St. Clair College on August 1, 2000. His strong leadership skills and breadth of experience in management, science and technology, education, international business and economic development are a tremendous asset to St. Clair College. He has a proven track record as a team builder and in working collaboratively with government, business and educational institutions.
During his first decade of service as President of St. Clair College, he has contributed to the strategies that have resulted in an enrollment increase of more than fifty (50) percent and has directed the construction of the first student residences in Windsor and in Chatham. Since 2000, St. Clair College has completed the construction of the Ford Centre for Excellence in Manufacturing, a new addition to the Student Centre, a Centre for Construction, Innovation and Production, a MediaPlex in the downtown Windsor core and has established the St. Clair College Centre for the Arts on Riverside Drive. In addition, in 2011, the College will complete the construction of the Trades and Technology Center in Chatham, the HealthPlex in Chatham, the Truck and Coach Repair Centre in Windsor and the Applied Health Sciences Centre in Windsor. The entire construction and acquisition value of these initiatives surpasses one hundred and sixty (160) million dollars. To ensure that St. Clair College students have a choice of global pathways to reach their maximum potential, the College has signed articulation agreements with educational, medical and industrial institutions in Canada, the United States of America, Central America, Mexico, Australia and China.
Student success has matched the achievements in enrollment and capacity growth. During the past ten years, St. Clair College has captured more than fifty gold medals in provincial or national championships in academics and athletics. In that same period, St. Clair College graduates continue to make a significant contribution on the provincial stage. Since 2000, Hazel McDonald and Mary Jo Haddad, two Alumni of Distinction in the field of Health Sciences, have joined former Alumni of Distinction members, Dr. Ken Schneider and Andrew Faas as Premier Award winners in the Province of Ontario. As an institution, St. Clair College has received the Minister’s Award for Excellence in 2006 for its delivery at the Youth Employment Centers, has been the recipient of the Yves Landry Award for Excellence and in 2002, was the only Canadian college recognized in Washington D.C. by the International Centre for Resource Development for the partnership with Ford Motor Company that culminated in the creation of the St. Clair College Ford Centre for Excellence in Manufacturing.
In the same decade, the community has benefited from College initiatives that have supported not-for-profit organizations. The College has raised more than $250,000 for United Way and $130,000 for the Haiti Relief Fund and has donated proceeds from the annual St. Clair College Foundation Charity Golf Tournament, created in 2002, to the Windsor-Essex Therapeutic Riding Association, Special Olympics, Windsor Police Camp Brombal, Brentwood, Children’s Safety Village, the John McGivney Children’s Rehabilitation Centre, Hospice and the Alzheimer Society. During December 2010, the College also raised the sum of $50,000, in two weeks, to support the efforts of Goodfellows in the region.
Dr. Strasser has authored or co-authored dozens of papers presented at national and international conferences and symposiums from Rio de Janeiro to Oxford, England and from Mexico City to Washington, D.C. Much of his volunteer time has been dedicated to serving on Boards that have focused on economic development. He was one of the founding members and the first Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Group for Research in Industrial Materials, a founding member of the Board of Directors of New Dawn Enterprises, a community development agency on Cape Breton Island, a founding member of the Board of the Atlantic Coal Institute and a federally appointed member of the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).
Dr. Strasser currently sits as a member of the Executive Committee of the Ontario College of Presidents and as a member of CONNECT Strategic Alliances, the Ontario Colleges agency established to develop strategic partnerships between Ontario’s colleges and business, industry and government.
Dr. Strasser was awarded a Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 in recognition of his contribution to education and to the community. In 2008, he was recognized as a “Downtown Hero” by the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association. Also, in 2008 he was inducted as one of the first four members, into the Wall of Honour at Sydney Academy High School. In 2007, Dr. Strasser was profiled in a book entitled “The House that Sexton Built”, which focuses on the history of engineering education in Nova Scotia. The book, written by A. Marble and V. Ellis and sub-titled “A Century of Outstanding Graduates” highlights, according to the authors, the various graduates of Tech, TUNS and Dal Engineering who went on to become some of Canada’s most accomplished and influential engineers. In 1998, he was recognized for his contribution to the minerals industry in Canada with an induction as a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum.
Dr. Strasser has a keen interest in the game of hockey and has authored two books on the subject: “Leopards and Lions” (A Parent’s guide to Hockey from Novice to the NHL”), in 1998; and “This is Academy Hockey”, the historical account of Sydney Academy hockey on the occasion of the 150th Year Anniversary of Sydney Academy in 1991. Dr. Strasser has contributed to many community leisure activities by volunteering his time and energies as a fundraiser, statistician and coach in football, baseball, soccer and hockey.
Dr. Strasser and his wife Gayle, an elementary school teacher at Southwood School in Windsor, have two sons, Andrew and Kirby, a daughter-in-law Amy (Burkholder) and three granddaughters, Leah, Andrea and Addison.