Our Leadership: Conestoga Presidents

Dr. John Tibbits

1987 - present

Dr. John Tibbits has served as president and chief executive officer of Conestoga since 1987. Under his leadership Conestoga has become one of Ontario’s fastest growing colleges and evolved into a multi-campus institute that delivers a full range of programming to support the region’s labour market needs.

A respected civic and community leader, he is active on multiple boards and has been honoured for his leadership by area Chambers of Commerce and the Rotary Foundation. He was the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. Prior to joining Conestoga, he held senior administrative positions at Dawson College in Montreal, Touche Ross & Partners in Ottawa and Canada Post Corporation in Ottawa.

Joseph Martin


Joseph Martin, director of Conestoga’s three Waterloo County campuses, served as president from 1981 through 1984 during the period when Kenneth E. Hunter was appointed to work with the Ontario government.

During his term Martin was credited with supporting expansion projects at the college that included the completion of the Detweiler centre for electrical skills training, and programs to support faculty development and new faculty orientation.

Kenneth E. Hunter

1974-1981 and 1984-1987

Kenneth E. Hunter was named as president in 1974. Prior to assuming his role at Conestoga, Hunter held positions in geophysics and aerospace engineering. In 1980, he established the Mastercraft Award to recognize student achievement of excellence in program-related skills.

Hunter left the presidency in 1981 to fulfill an appointment as assistant deputy minister with the Ontario government; he returned to Conestoga in 1984 and served until 1987. Conestoga’s Recreation Centre at the Doon campus, which Hunter was instrumental in developing, was renamed in his honour upon his retirement.

James W. Church

1967- 1974

In 1967, engineer, WWII veteran and university professor James W. Church was selected by Conestoga’s Board of Governors as the founding president of the college. He held the position until 1974.

Church was known among peers as a visionary and humanitarian. In his honour, Conestoga established the James W. Church award in 1976. The award recognizes students that excel in three areas deemed by Church to be the most important: achievement in a program of study, concern for the dignity of the individual and a personal contribution of benefit to society. Recipients are recognized annually at convocation.

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