July 15th, 2024

Past students return to walk the stage at U of L convocation

By Lethbridge Herald on June 3, 2022.

Herald photo by Al Beeber Chief Marshall Michelle Hogue and piper Tom Wilson lead the procession of University of Lethbridge graduates up the hill towards the 1st Choice Savings Centre for Sport and Wellness for their convocation ceremony Friday morning. It was one of two on Friday that wrapped up three days of convocation events at the university.

Al Beeber – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – abeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

COVID-19 couldn’t stop        University of Lethbridge students from convocating this year. For the first time since 2019, the U of L staged in-person convocation ceremonies this week.

Over the course of three days, 1,220 students from three graduating classes walked the stage from Wednesday through Friday with two ceremonies each day.

The class of 2022 consisted of 934 students while there were 286 others from the ’20 and ’21 graduating classes. The U of L invited past grads to walk the stage after missing that special experience because of COVID-19 limitations which had prompted the school to do online ceremonies.

Wednesday’s ceremonies were for 2020 grads in the morning and ’21 grads in the afternoon.

On Thursday, the morning ceremony recognized students from the School of Graduate Studies – PhD and MSc and the Faculty of Arts & Science – BASC BSc. Honourary degree recipient was Kevin Van Tighem.

On Thursday afternoon, the university recognized the achievements of the Schools of Graduate Studies – MA and MN, the Faculty of Arts & Science – BA; Faculty of Health Sciences – BHSc and BN and the honourary degree went to Ruth Collins-Nakai. Trevor Harrison received the speaker research medal.

On a calm Friday morning under clear skies, a large crowd outside the 1st Choice Savings Centre for Sport and Wellness cheered grads as they walked up the hill from University Hall led by Chief Marshall Michelle Hogue and piper Tom Wilson in the traditional procession.

The morning ceremony recognized graduates from the School of Graduate Studies – MC, MEd, MFA and MMus; Faculty of Education – BEd; and Faculty of Fine Arts. The university volunteer award was given to Trushar Patel while an honourary degree was bestowed upon Waneek Horn-Miller who gave an inspirational address to students.

The afternoon ceremony was for grads in the School of Graduate Studies – MHSM, MSC (Mgt); graduate certificates; Dhillon School of Business; and Faculty of Health Sciences. Honourary degree recipient was Jack Major.

A full crowd filled the stands and many stood above during the morning ceremony which included the declaration by chancellor Charles Weaselhead. Medicine Hat native Jocelyn Walters, who graduated Friday with a Bachelor of Music degree, performed the national anthem.

University president and vice-chancellor Mike Mahon told students they felt the burden of challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic during an era of unprecedented change for the U of L, the community and the world.

But through perseverance they succeeded by graduating during one of the most challenging times in recent history which adds to the special meaning of the convocation, he said.

The degrees they received “attest to the hard work completed, knowledge acquired and experience gained,” said Mahon.

He said the university continues to deal with the impact of the pandemic and the recent labour disruption.

“I know the students felt the burden of these challenges over the last two years. These years did not provide you with what I think you expected when you arrived on campus,” he added.

He said by convocating, students have brought the community back together, Mahon said.

He said their return to campus “reflects the spirit of hope and resilience that helped get us through the last couple of years.”

Mahon said while some students will return to continue their studies, others will be embarking on the first steps of their professional careers.

“Whatever path you choose, and wherever you go next, I hope all of you think about sharing the benefits of your knowledge, discoveries and ideas because that is our university’s greatest strength, its greatest gift to our community,” he added.

“You are graduating into a world full of change and uncertainty with many complex challenges and few easy answers and you have an extremely important role to play” in shaping the future, Mahon said.

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