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University Advancement | January 2019  

 

The future in print

Ryerson GCM student, Adele St-Pierre accepts Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship Trust Fund award from the trust’s chair, Jeff Ekstein, alongside former Graphic Communications Management chairs Mary Black and Ian Baitz.

Ryerson GCM student, Adele St-Pierre accepts Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship Trust Fund award from the trust’s chair, Jeff Ekstein, alongside former Graphic Communications Management chairs Mary Black and Ian Baitz.

 

The Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship Trust Fund (CPISTF) recently renewed support for Graphic Communications Management (GCM) students in the Faculty of Communications and Design with a gift of $120,000. The trust has been a longstanding and generous partner with Ryerson University, supporting students in the program for more than 30 years.

“The industry is 100 per cent behind GCM,” says Jeff Ekstein, president and CEO of Willow Printing Group and chair of CPISTF. “We enjoy an excellent partnership with Ryerson.”

Initiated by the Canadian Printing Industries Association in 1971, the goal of the Fund is to attract promising young students to the printing industry by giving them the opportunity to receive a scholarship while enrolled in a graphic arts management or technical program at a qualifying institute. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been donated by firms and individuals from the Canadian printing industry.

“It’s a two-way street,” notes Ekstein. “Students receive financial assistance and build a network that includes leaders in the field; and the industry helps create a talented pool of professionals to draw from who will ultimately ensure its future growth and prosperity.”

In addition to the financial component of the trust, members also participate in outreach activities at schools and exhibitions to build awareness about the printing industry. Ekstein recounts how he commonly asks students how many times in a day they come in contact with print. The typical answer is once or twice, but once he breaks down their day, they realize it’s closer to 60 or 70.

“Did you use a tube of toothpaste this morning?” he asks. “That’s print. Did you eat cereal or oatmeal this morning that came out of a box or package? That’s print. Milk carton? Print. Signage on the bus you took to school? Print. By the end, they see print has become part of the landscape. It’s everywhere.”

People think it’s a “dirty job” — guy next to a hot press, ink under his fingernails, he adds. But today it is this very high-tech, cutting-edge industry. It’s exciting with lots of potential.

“The industry is working closely with schools to ensure they are up to date with the latest technology,” says Gunther Sturhahn, a trustee at CPISTF and recently retired veteran of the industry. “It’s a continually evolving industry because of pace that technology has been moving since the digital revolution. We work with schools to ensure curriculums embrace and reflect those changes.”

“The CPISTF scholarship was an enticing feature when selecting GCM at Ryerson,” says Adele St-Pierre, a scholarship recipient originally from North Bay, Ontario and now in her third year of the program. “I was going to be away from home, and therefore my expenses were going to go up immensely. Knowing I was getting some extra financial assistance was reassuring.”

Being a recipient of the CPISTF scholarship opened up several networking opportunities for St-Pierre as well. She was selected as a volunteer for the annual Canadian Printing Awards. There she was able to meet prospective employers from industry-leading companies and learn how they earned their place at the top. She also was selected to volunteer to host the CPISTF booth at the 2017 Graphics Canada Expo and share with others in the industry how the scholarship has impacted her post-secondary experience.

“It’s hard to put into words or even actions when thanking someone that has done such a kind gesture for you,” adds St-Pierre.