By Jensen, Randy on April 16, 2020.
With in-person convocation ceremonies at the University of Lethbridge being cancelled, the university is still finding a way to celebrate the occasion with its graduating students.
“Convocation ceremonies are my favourite event at the university and it saddens me that we had to cancel the in-person event due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Chancellor Charles Weaselhead in a news release. “Even though this forced us to change our plans, it’s important we still honour our graduating students and acknowledge this significant step in their lives and their academic achievements.”
U of L staff and faculty, in consultation with graduating students, have devised an alternate plan to celebrate with students who are completing their degrees.
“This year, convocation will be different, but we urge students to not let this situation take away from what they’ve accomplished,” says Mike Mahon, U of L president and vice-chancellor. “Convocation is always a time of celebration and this year we will bring the celebration to you.”
Graduating students will receive a package from the U of L in June – their very own convocation in a box. Inside the box, graduands will find a cap and tassel, their parchment, a commemorative program, an alumni pin, an Indigenous stole if requested, and honour cords for those who are graduating with distinction or great distinction. Students are being encouraged to don their caps and take a photo of themselves, along with anyone in their bubble, and post it online using #uleth2020. In addition, the university is preparing a convocation video that will be shared with graduands.
“This graduating class has demonstrated such great resilience and the ability to pivot at a moment in time when the world changed quite suddenly,” says Kathleen Massey, associate vice-president (students). “When asked, our graduating class said overwhelmingly that what matters most as they mark their graduation from the U of L is for their friends and families to be part of that celebration.”
While these alternative plans will help graduating students celebrate the awarding of their degrees, they can’t replace the physical experience of convocation. As a result, this year’s graduating students are being invited to attend any convocation ceremony over the next three years.
“We want to ensure students have the opportunity to don their caps and gowns, walk up the hill, cross the stage and hear their families and friends cheer as their name is called,” says Mahon.