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University of Guelph-Humber celebrates 1,200 graduates at 2018 Convocation

Students celebrate with their degrees and diplomas

Nearly 1,200 of University of Guelph-Humber new graduates recently gathered with friends, family and faculty at the stately Pearson Convention Centre to celebrate the Class of 2018’s Convocation.

With three joyful ceremonies taking place over the course of the day, UofGH’s latest grads walked across the stage to claim their honours degrees from the University of Guelph and their diplomas from Humber College before celebrating together, snapping selfies and, of course, ringing the UofGH bell that they first sounded during Orientation. If you missed the ceremonies or would like to revisit them, you can watch them in full online.

“Congratulations to each and every one of our 2018 graduates and their families,” said Dr. John Walsh, Vice-Provost of the University of Guelph-Humber.

“With your degree, diploma and practical work experience in hand, you are now uniquely positioned to enter career employment or go on to pursue graduate studies. I wish you much success in your future endeavours.”

Celebrating student success

During Convocation festivities, winners of the prestigious 2018 Vice-Provost Award – presented to the graduating student with the highest cumulative average in each program – were also singled out for recognition. This year’s Vice-Provost Award winners were: Thi Ngoc Huyen Le, Business; Elizabeth Ericka Deakin-Poot, Early Childhood Studies; Lakhan Bali, Family and Community Social Services; Joey Villella, Kinesiology; Jasmine Irven, Media Studies; Sarah Cool, Psychology; Sarah Beck, Justice Studies BAA; and Emma Kelly, Justice Studies.

Attendees were also treated to keynote addresses from several distinguished speakers.

Dr. Shawna Coxon addresses the audience

Dr. Alvina Cassiani, Dean of Humber College’s Business school, shared her journey from becoming the first person in her family to pursue a post-secondary education to eventually completing her PhD. Patricia Parsons, a veteran public relations professional and published author, encouraged the graduates to be bold and to take control of their own stories. And Dr. Shawna Coxon, an instructor for more than a decade in UofGH’s Justice Studies program who was recently appointed Toronto Police Service Deputy Chief, urged students to be resilient in the face of adversity.

“The best things in my life have come through accidents or failure,” Dr. Coxon shared. “I want you to leave here today knowing that unexpected things are going to happen to you, and they’re going to leave you in awe. Some will be awesome, some will be awful, but they will lead you to places you haven’t even imagined yet.”

How time flies

As students looked back on the years they spent on UofGH campus – not to mention the hundreds of hours they spent completing field placements – many felt that it seemed like just yesterday that they first booked a campus tour or showed up for the first day of class.

“Four years have gone by so fast,” said Family and Community Social Services graduate Jerome Johnston, who was celebrating with his parents and grandparents.

Students pose for photos with UofGH mascot Swoop

“This is the day they have all worked so hard to reach and the feeling of pride at this event is almost palpable,” said Leah Murdock, Department Head of Student Services, whose team spent months preparing for the event. “Everyone is smiling, everyone is happy, and the ceremony provides a sense of closure on a very important and formative time in their lives, so it can also be a little bittersweet for some.

“Organizationally, there is a lot of work that goes into making this day happen,” she added. “It’s a very long day, but staff continue to volunteer year after year to be a part of this milestone. Personally, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to making this day come together.”

While many graduates said they were planning to jump straight into the workforce, others were inspired enough by their studies at UofGH that they decided that further education is on the immediate horizon.

“I’ve learned so much personally and academically,” said Nic Graham, a Kinesiology graduate who now plans to attend the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. “I’m so glad my program set me up for that education. I’m ecstatic.

“Now I’m just excited to go learn more.”

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