Beaming smiles, hugs, and enthusiastic fist pumps were all on eager display as newly minted Brandon University alumni received their degrees at Convocation today.
Today’s initial Convocation ceremony conferred degrees on 181 graduates from the Faculty of Education, including 61 who received Master of Education degrees.
The valedictorian was Gordon Tanner, who also received the Lieutenant-Governor’s Gold Medal, a Brandon University Gold Medal, and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Education.
“Teaching is the most important job in the world,” Tanner told his fellow graduates. “Teachers are responsible for creating the environment that will shape every child … into functioning members of society, providing them with the knowledge and skills that they will need to thrive.
“You want to change the world? Help (your students) become the most compassionate, inquisitive, brave, skilled people they can become — and turn them loose.”
Today’s proceedings also included the formal Installation of Dr. David Docherty as BU’s President and Vice-Chancellor. He was administered the oath of office, donned the ceremonial academic robes for the first time, and shared words of wisdom and inspiration with the assembled crowd.
“Brandon University has such a wonderful future, great partners, a storied history and resides in a vibrant community,” he said. “Let’s go out there and show everyone why BU is the best university of our size in Canada.”
Also at today’s ceremony was the presentation of several awards.
Dr. Pandelis Halamandaris, a Professor Emeritus at BU, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award, for his outstanding contributions in service to education, especially with international and Indigenous communities, that have left a lasting and acclaimed legacy.
The Senate Award for Excellence in Research was presented to Dr. Burcu Yaman Ntelioglou, for her work on students who are in linguistic minorities, both to support Indigenous languages and to support students who are newcomers, immigrants and refugees.
Novell Thomas was recognized with the Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Community Service, for his commitment to growing the sport of basketball in southwestern Manitoba through new youth basketball programs.
Three Distinguished Teacher Awards were also presented: to Val Arthur of Meadows School in Brandon, for Kindergarten to Grade 6; to Kelly Kuzyk of Mackenzie Middle School in Dauphin, for Grades 7 to 9; and to Ryan Ogilvie of Sanford Collegiate in Sanford, for Grades 10 to 12. Distinguished Teacher Award recipients are nominated by their students and their principals, and recognize teachers who inspire students in their school to continue their education.
Convocation continues Friday, with a morning ceremony for the Faculties of Science and Health Studies at 10 a.m. and an afternoon ceremony for the Faculty of Arts and the School of Music at 2 p.m.
Nearly 590 students will graduate during Convocation, slightly more than last year and Brandon University’s largest graduating class since 2013. More than 80 per cent of graduates have indicated they will attend their Convocation ceremonies.
Everyone is welcome to attend any or all of the ceremonies, as Convocation is a community celebration. Convocation is held at the BU Healthy Living Centre, on Louise Avenue at 20th Street. There is no charge to attend.
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