Some of Manitoba’s top researchers and educators will be honoured at Brandon University’s Spring 2021 Convocation, which is being celebrated virtually this week.
Many highlights will be featured as part of a pre-recorded video Convocation ceremony, which will be posted online Thursday afternoon. Graduates, along with their families, friends, and the community will be able cue up the video and watch it whenever convenient. Graduates have also been provided the opportunity to get a cap and gown for the occasion, so they can participate safely at home, as well as get photos taken around the BU campus. Official degree parchments will be mailed out afterwards.
“We can’t come together to celebrate in person, but we can certainly celebrate,” said University Registrar Andrea McDaniel, who will read out each graduate’s name as part of the video. “We are also taking the opportunity to think of new ways to recognize how special this day is. For example, the degree parchment packages will include a few extra treats to recognize students who completed their studies during a very tumultuous year.”
During the video Convocation ceremony, two BU Senate Awards will be presented for Excellence in Research, and one for Excellence in Teaching. Three Manitoba educators from the K–12 school system will also receive Distinguished Teacher Awards.
The Senate Awards for Excellence in Research were established to emphasize the importance of research at Brandon University and to recognize and honour those individuals who excel in scholarship and research. This year’s award recipients are Dr. Doug Ramsey from the Faculty of Arts, and Dr. Rachel Herron from the Faculty of Science.
Dr. Ramsey is being recognized for his varied and extensive research output, which has included tourism, agricultural restructuring, well-being, downtown revitalization, and pedagogy, as well as for his success in sharing the results of his research with the people and places who can benefit most directly from it.
Dr. Herron is being recognized for her focus on community research, in particular rural and remote regions, and especially on mental health and quality of life issues in those areas. Her current research examines the vulnerability and complexity of care relationships, social inclusion and meaningful engagement for people living with dementia, and the diversity of lived experiences of rural mental health.
The Senate Award for Excellence in Teaching affirms the importance of teaching at Brandon University, while recognizing and honouring those faculty members who excel in this endeavour. This year’s award recipient is Dr. Rick Baker from the Faculty of Arts.
Dr. Baker is being recognized for his broad and expansive approach to teaching excellence, which includes a deep commitment to student accessibility, and for going above and beyond in his determination to connect with students, encouraging them to participate in their own learning, and bringing out the best in each of them.
The three Senate awards will be presented in faculty-specific portions of Convocation.
Three of the province’s top teachers in the K-12 system will also receive Distinguished Teaching Awards, which will be presented during the Faculty of Education portion of Convocation. Nominated by their principal and members of their student body, these awards are presented annually to teachers who have inspired students in their school to continue their education.
This year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards are being presented to Penny Dixon from Hamiota Elementary School, Kristin Harris from Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute, and Yuri Sudermann from Dufferin School.
Brandon University’s Convocation ceremony will also honour longtime professor Dr. Meir Serfaty, who will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades of devoted service to both Brandon University and to the wider community.
Two honorary doctorates will be conferred at Convocation.
Legendary Canadian entertainer and philanthropist, Tom Jackson, will receive an honorary degree for his rich contributions to music, film and television, as well as for his ongoing drive to leverage his entertainment stature to raise money for worthy causes.
And Dr. Brent Roussin, the face of Manitoba’s Covid-19 response and the province’s top doctor, will receive an honorary degree for his tireless efforts rallying Manitobans to combat the pandemic, while balancing public health, politics, economic needs, and our evolving scientific understanding of the virus.
The pre-recorded video portion of this year’s virtual Convocation will be posted to BrandonU.ca/Convocation on Thursday afternoon, May 27, at approximately 2 p.m. Links to the video will also be shared on social media, and the video will remain online perpetually.
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