With the symbolic shift of a tassel from one side of their mortarboards to the other, nearly 600 Brandon University students became Brandon University graduates, receiving their degrees at today’s Convocation ceremonies. It was Brandon University’s largest graduating class in six years.
The pair of ceremonies at BU’s Healthy Living Centre conferred degrees on 583 graduates. The morning ceremony included students from the Faculties of Science and Health Studies with the afternoon ceremony for students from the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Education and School of Music.
Brandon University Interim President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Steven Robinson reminded graduating students that their diploma was also a letter of reference, representing their skills, knowledge and judgment.
“A degree is not a piece of paper, it is a type of measurement. Not of temperature, like the degrees on a thermometer, but a degree of membership in the Academy, that community of all universities and their members,” Dr. Robinson said, noting that some were being admitted to the degree of Bachelor, others to the degree of Master. “These are people whose minds have been cultivated in very particular ways: to ever seek new knowledge; to seek truth above all; and to share freely what you have learned. The world needs your good judgment.”
Morning valedictorian Rebecca Storey, who received a Bachelor of Science degree, spoke of fond and funny memories, and also gave thanks to the many people who supported her and her classmates during their studies.
“Many of us have one or two people whom we consider as mentors … a parent, a friend, a professor, a relative, or a close family friend. Some graduates probably have someone who in-stilled a good work ethic in us, even if that meant a bit of nagging,” she said. “But we thank them for this, because we know they have our best interests at heart. I imagine that plenty of us have special people in our lives to thank for their support through our academic journeys, people who have been there through our best and worst moments and never left our side.”
Afternoon valedictorian Abby Ziprick, who received a Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Education concurrent degree, also spoke of the value of a positive community.
“A positive community encourages and motivates each other to succeed. Throughout my degree I have been blessed with professors, friends, and family members who have continually pushed me to strive for excellence and be the best version of myself,” she said. “Being a member of this positive community has also given me chance to encourage the people around me to go for the gold, and relish in new experiences and opportunities. Everyone has dreams, but not everyone has an outstanding support system like we do at BU that encourages us to make those dreams happen.”
The afternoon ceremony also included the conferral of an honorary Doctor of Literature degree on Dr. Linda Hutcheon, in recognition of her exceptional career as a writer, a critic and an educator.
“Together all of you here — this sea of blue, it’s wonderful — will touch many aspects of our interconnected lives,” Dr. Hutcheon told assembled graduates during her speech, adding that as students, they have already made a difference in the lives of their professors. “You have taught us. You have taught us to examine the promises of pundits and politicians with open eyes. Not with cynicism, that’s too easy, but with an understanding of whose future is at stake: yours. And yours is longer than ours.”
Several other honours were also presented during the day’s ceremonies, including Brandon University Senate and Alumni Association awards that recognize outstanding teaching and re-search at BU, Lifetime Achievement Awards, and the Distinguished Teacher Awards that are presented annually to teachers from elementary and high school programs.
For those who weren’t able to attend the ceremonies, a video archive is available at BrandonU.ca/Convocation.
Convocation celebrations continue tomorrow with the All Nations Pow Wow taking place on Saturday at the HLC. The Pow Wow will begin with a pipe ceremony at 10 a.m. outside the HLC. The event will include grand entries at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. as well as a ceremony to honour graduates at 3 p.m. More details are available at Events.BrandonU.ca.
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