By Jensen, Randy on August 22, 2020.
Convocation ceremonies at the University of Lethbridge have taken on a new look since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and as the annual fall convocation approaches, the university will once again celebrate its graduates virtually.
“From faculty and staff, to board and senate members – convocation, and all it symbolizes – is our purpose and the reason behind the work we do at the University of Lethbridge,” says U of L President and Vice-Chancellor, Mike Mahon in a news release. “One of the highlights of my position is I have the honour of congratulating personally each of our graduates as they cross the stage at our in-person ceremonies. This, unfortunately, is not possible right now and we will celebrate our students’ remarkable achievements in various ways online.”
In October, graduating students will receive a special package from the university. Inside, they will find ceremonial items such as their cap, tassel and parchment, and for those who are graduating with distinction or great distinction, they will also receive their honour cords. A celebration video will be shared with all graduates, and the university’s social media accounts will be dedicated to highlighting the achievements of the fall graduating class, inviting students to share their celebrations from home using the #ulethgrad2020 and #ulethalumni tags.
The blueprint for the virtual celebration was established for Spring 2020 Convocation by U of L faculty and staff in consultation with graduating students and proved to be extremely successful.
“We realize these efforts, although celebratory, do not replace the physical experience of convocation and we invite all of our graduating students back to campus to attend any in-person convocation ceremony over the next three years,” adds Mahon. “We want to ensure they have the opportunity to don their caps and gowns, walk up the hill, cross the stage and hear family and friends cheer their names as they are called.”
U of L Chancellor Charles Weaselhead says it is important for everyone, from faculty and staff to the families and friends of the graduates, to have an opportunity to recognize the hard work and perseverance this group of graduates has displayed in achieving its academic goals.
“We cannot come together, but it is essential we find a way to celebrate together this momentous occasion,” he says. “Our students are supported in so many ways and by so many people throughout their academic journey. It is essential we find a way to acknowledge this significant step in their lives and the people who helped them along the way.”