June 23rd, 2024

University celebrates newest graduating class

By Lethbridge Herald on May 30, 2024.

Sharanpreet Singh Mann waves to supporters as walks along with his fellow graduands during the convocation procession on Thursday morning the University of Lethbridge. Herald photo by Justin Sibbet

Justin Sibbet – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Every good story starts with the beating of drums and for the latest graduates at the University of Lethbridge, though their educational journeys may be ending, the drums are loud as the story on the rest of their lives is only beginning.

Spread over two days and four ceremonies, the U of L’s convocation events kicked off Thursday morning as students in the School of Graduate Studies and the Faculty of Arts and Science were given their chance to cross the stage.

One of the men beating the drums as graduates marched in procession was Troy Delaney. Along with his father Julius, Delaney performed a traditional Indigenous honouring song to kick things off.

“We’re always grateful to do a lot of the occasions and events for any university, college, even the school systems here in Lethbridge, he said.”

He says it is an even bigger honour to be performing songs created by people he holds in such high esteem, like Leroy Little Bear.

“A lot of our elders compose songs and we just honour that by singing their songs,” said Delaney. 

Once the procession snaked its way inside, family and friends were seated, ready to greet the graduates with clapping, cheering and whooping. 

One current university student who was eager to watch a family member receive his degree was Ramec Nicimpaye, who says his brother, Prince, is graduating from the neuroscience program and he put in a colossal effort for this opportunity. 

“He got there and I’m proud of him,” said Nicimpaye ahead of the ceremony, adding the mood circling the First Choice Savings Centre was nothing short of jubilant.

“Everybody’s here to see their family members, just like us and I can’t wait to see (Prince) walk up on that stage with his cap and gown.”

Indeed, hard work and perhaps a few tears are often the recipe for a successful journey toward graduation. Digvir Jayas, president of the U of L says students should be proud of what they achieved.

“I’m honoured to be here today to celebrate work completed, knowledge acquired and experience gained,” said Jayas during a speech at the ceremony. “Graduation is, of course, a significant milestone. It’s time to look forward to your next steps, but also to recount your journey to this moment.”

He says many of the current graduating students were forced to begin their post-secondary education in a virtual setting due to the COVID pandemic. However, he recounts how they were able to overcome such adversity to make it to where they are today.

“You have changed since you started your own program, as has your perspective. That is as much part of education as the degree you are about to receive,” said Jayas.

For many parents, this is the first and possibly only post-secondary convocation ceremony they will attend for their child. However, for Dennis Gable, taking in the atmosphere at the U of L is almost like DeJa’Vu.

“This is (my daughter’s) second degree,” said Gable while awaiting the procession. “She did her first degree for kinesiology and now she’s graduating with her (bachelor of nursing).”

He says this seeing his child succeed is what parents strive for.

“Prouder than dickens, aren’t we?”

Karen Gable, Dennis’ wife, expressed her pride in not just her daughter, but everyone crossing the stage.

“I see that it’s a lot of work,” said Karen Gable. “It’s something for (graduates) to be so proud of and put them on a good path for the rest of their life.” 

Today sees the university hosting a ceremony beginning at 9:30 a.m. and another at 2:30 p.m.

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