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More than 300 soon-to-be UofGH graduates celebrate at Last Lecture

Two impending graduates smile

More than 300 soon-to-be-graduates of the University of Guelph-Humber recently gathered at the 14th annual Last Lecture to toast their impending graduation, reflect on their university experience, and celebrate all that they had accomplished together.

Amid award presentations, entertaining video tributes, and speeches from students, staff and alumni, UofGH’s Class of 2019 cheered, snapped selfies and commemorated one of the last times the whole group would gather together.

“Welcome to the 14th annual Last Lecture,” said Student Life Coordinator Jessica Pilfold, who was an animated and lively host for the evening ceremony. “Tonight is all about celebrating you, your successes and achievements, and your time here at the University of Guelph-Humber.”

A fitting sendoff

Each of UofGH’s seven programs created light-hearted farewell videos that received big responses from the graduating class.

Program heads from Business and Justice Studies presented amusing skits, Early Childhood Studies invited graduating students to listen in during story time, and Kinesiology celebrated its graduates with imagery of their time at UofGH. Meanwhile Media Studies opted for a spoof of the opening credit sequence of “The Office,” Psychology created a congratulatory movie trailer, and Family & Community Social Services bid graduates farewell with a country song.

Video tributes to the graduating class were also created by all of UofGH’s other departments, including Academic Advising, Career and Placement Services, Library Services, IGNITE, Recruitment and Admissions Services, Finance and Administration, Student Life, Alumni Services and Student Financial Services.

Business student Dilshan Jayasinghe received the Michael Nightingale Community Enrichment Award, which was presented by UofGH’s first Vice-Provost Michael Nightingale to honour a graduating student who has made significant contributions to the UofGH community.

Laura Litherland

Dr. Glenn Barenthin received the Outstanding Mentorship Award to a large ovation from the Justice Studies students in attendance. In his speech, Dr. Barenthin – who plays a major role in preparing UofGH students for success at mooting competitions, including the recent McGill Cup – paid respect back to the “phenomenal” and dedicated students he’s had the opportunity to teach.

The Class of 2019 also heard from Alumni Speaker Laura Litherland, a 2017 Media Studies, PR grad who is now Digital Marketing Coordinator at global cloud software company D2L. Litherland spoke about navigating bumps in the road as students enter the working world and begin to make decisions about their careers, noting that sometimes we can be pleasantly surprised with where life takes us.

“Everyone here has learned so much from the University of Guelph-Humber, and I did as well. I didn’t realize how many structured courses would play a role in my professional life after graduation, or how many life experiences I had here at UofGH that played an even bigger role in my professional life,” Litherland reflected.

“My story won’t be like yours, but we’ve all been at UofGH, we’ve all had lots of great experiences and acquired lots of skills here. And if you’ve learned anything, I hope it’s that you have an incredible support system here that you can hold onto in the future.”

An annual tradition

Last Lecture has become a beloved annual tradition for UofGH students ahead of Convocation.

A student poses with Swoop

“Last Lecture is a chance for graduating students to celebrate their accomplishments and hard work with their friends, peers and faculty. It’s an opportunity for faculty and staff to wish graduating students well on their journey after UofGH,” said Shannon Ho, Student Services Coordinator, Student Life.

For the students who attended, the event felt like a closing chapter that was both festive and nostalgic.

“It’s one of the last opportunities where everyone is in the same place together,” said Kinesiology student Parvish Gill. “Everyone’s so busy during the school year, but everyone makes time for this because it’s one of the last memories. That’s why I came to Last Lecture. I thought: ‘I’m definitely not missing out on this.’”

“It kind of hits you in the face that school is almost done and I finally made it after the four years. This is the end,” added Psychology student Azmiveth Duran. “So we get to celebrate and we get to see all the faces we’ve been seeing for the past four years.”                                

Jessica PilfoldSwoopDr. Leslie AugerDr. Paul ShermanMichael Nightingale and Dilshan JayasingheDr. John Walsh and Michael Nightingale congratulate Dilshan Jayasinghe and his parentsDr. Glenn BarenthinA group shot of the graduatesDilshan Jayasinghe