It was a Convocation for our COVID-19 times, held virtually and watched from around the world.
The University of the Fraser Valley celebrated grads from the classes of 2020 and 2021 on June 18 with an online ceremony featuring insights from student speakers and honorary doctorate recipients, and stories of student medalists.
Approximately 2,400 students graduated in 2020, and another 2,997 followed in 2021.
The graduates all received a celebration package in the mail, and were invited to submit photos of themselves for the graduate roll and to post on celebration walls.
President Joanne MacLean shared a message that acknowledged the tough times faced by students during the pandemic, but emphasized a brighter future on the horizon.
“You graduate with a credential that will enable your success in the next chapter of your life. You have worked hard over the course of your studies, and this past year against an immense challenge to your mobility and ability to engage with one another in your academic programs,” she noted.
“But during the course of your studies you have worked hard, you’ve been challenged to learn in breadth and depth, to think in different ways through a different lens, to understand complexities and to consider new ideas. You have tested conventional thinking, embraced new knowledge, and above all, you have persevered in the face of challenge.
“And, although our celebrations are virtual this year, please know that our happiness is real and comes from our hearts. For this is a day of joy and celebration, of happy endings and new beginnings, of family and friends, of successes and hopes.
“Your accomplishment glows in all of us at UFV — the faculty who teach and mentor you, and staff from across the university whose work supports your learning journey. I hope that you can feel our pride radiate across the digital distance.”
The Governor General’s Gold Medal for top student in a master’s degree program went to Ryan Buhrig of Surrey, who earned a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice. The Governor General’s Silver Medal for top bachelor’s degree student went to Tanner Boos of Chilliwack, who completed a Bachelor of Science. The Governor General’s Bronze Medal for top student from a two-year program went to Alona Gurieva of Langley, who earned an Early Childhood Education diploma. The Lieutenant Governor’s Medal went to Faria Firoz of Chilliwack, who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
Dean’s Medalists were Anmol Sharma (Science), Samantha Stables (Health Sciences), Yuki Yamazaki (Professional Studies), Sharon Timmermans (Integrated Studies), Isabelle St-Martin (Applied and Technical Studies), Gurgina Dinsa (Social Sciences), and Arsalan Sadiq (Humanities).
Student speakers were Monik Jaura (Health Sciences), Veronica Kobes (Science), Pip Robertshaw (Professional Studies), Terisha Mitchell (Applied and Technical Studies), Belle Hernberg-Johnson (Humanities), and Paul Jaku (Social Sciences). Watch their speeches here and here.
UFV presented honorary doctorates to four Canadians who have made a significant contribution to their field and Canadian society.
Retired general and humanitarian Roméo Dallaire, filmmaker Andrée Cazabon, teacher and LGBTQ activist James Chamberlain, and helicopter pilot and aviation entrepreneur Cathy Press were honored by UFV in a private ceremony on June 4. Their remarks were featured in the video celebrating Convocation.
View the online ceremony here.