Fall Convocation completes post-secondary journey
Graduates celebrate their next chapterConvocation is what university is all about. The culmination of years of hard work, sacrifice and struggle, a graduation parchment is a point of pride and a symbol of accomplishment.
On Nov. 4, 420 students completed their undergraduate journey by officially becoming MRU alumni. The graduating class of Fall, 2016 was well-represented in Mount Royal’s Triple Gym, with 222 recent grads returning to campus to receive their well-deserved credentials.
Interim Provost and Vice-President Academic Jeffrey Goldberg, PhD, began the ceremony by honouring three faculty chosen as this year’s professors emeriti. Dawne Clark and Marlene Kingsmith were both respected instructors in the Faculty of Health, Community and Education, and Donald Swenson represented the Faculty of Arts.
“All of these faculty members were invaluable resources to Mount Royal and will continue to enhance the reputation of the University as professors emeriti,” said Goldberg.
As has become tradition, David Docherty, president of Mount Royal, took part in the customary grand entrance. Docherty entered with the party platform in his usual fashion, playing alongside the afternoon’s bagpipers.
Docherty, PhD, started his speech by thanking Bryan Pinney, chair of MRU’s Board of Governors, for serving as master of ceremonies. He then thanked honorary degree recipient and current Mount Royal Elder, Clarence Wolfleg, who is better known throughout campus as Elder Miiksika’am, for his outstanding dedication to the institution.
The president continued his speech by noting the honour it has been to watch MRU’s graduands succeed at their studies while also cheering them on at sporting events, sitting down to chat over coffee, applauding them at concerts and events, discussing research projects at poster presentations, and even engaging in the occasional political debate.
Docherty reminisced about his first interaction with some members of the graduating class at New Student Orientation, a day when he encouraged the students to embrace change and, “not be afraid to take risks.”
He thanked each of the students for effectively facing challenges as they completed their undergraduate degrees, and concluded his address by expressing to the crowd that graduating from Mount Royal does not mean, “good bye … just see you soon.”
“Ideally you’ll forge life-long a life-long connection with us,” said Docherty.
“You will continue to be a part of the change that will happen here at Mount Royal.”
Honorary degree recipient Elder Miiksika’am was awarded a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Sociology. Miiksika’am was joined by 88 other platform party members.
Outside of his honorary degree, his contributions span national, regional and local organizations. Viewed as a traditional spiritual leader in Siksika culture and history, Elder Miiksika’am developed many community outreach programs and served on the Siksika Nation Council for 10 terms. He was first an officer, then chief of the Blackfoot Tribal Police.
After the final graduate crossed the stage to receive their parchment, valedictorian Chad Baird took to the podium.
With a deep degree of emotion, Baird thanked his professors, offered congratulations to Elder Miiksika’am and told his classmates, “Today is a victory for each and every graduate.”
“This proves that every graduate in this room is a strong person with so much to offer the world,” said Baird.
“To my fellow graduates, I am so honoured to be your valedictorian and share this victory with you today.”
Baird, who earned a Bachelor of Communication ― Public Relations with a 3.86 grade point average was a regular addition to the President’s and Dean’s Honour Rolls. He also received the Community Service Learning Citation award.
Now employed by YMCA Calgary as their marketing and communication coordinator, Baird appreciates the chance to improve Calgarians’ lives through fitness and community support.
“Today is a stepping stone to fulfilling careers that you love. You will all accomplish things you never thought you were capable of. You will firmly step through each door and never give up. Today is proof that you are all warriors.
“Congratulations everybody, we did it,” said Baird.
Nov. 4, 2016 — Jonathan Anderson