by Lori Larsen, Camrose Booster
On June 5, distinguished guests, family members, friends, and members of the community gathered at the University of Alberta, Augustana to celebrate the achievements of 153 graduates including 10 indigenous students.
As guests entered the gymnasium they were greeted by the melodic tunes of the Capital Brass.
Following the ceremonial procession and the singing of the national anthem by graduate Bailey Kuhn, Chancellor Ralph Young opened the ceremonies with the invocation, welcome address and message to the convocates. “Your family and friends are witness to your commitment, and all of the history and tradition of today’s ceremony is in honour of you- today’s graduates.”
Representative from the board of governors LeRoy Johnson congratulated the graduates on their tremendous achievements in obtaining a degree from the University of Alberta. MLA for Wetaskiwin-Camrose Bruce Hinkley also congratulated the graduates on behalf of himself, Premier Rachel Notley, advanced education minister Marlin Schmidt and colleagues of the Alberta government. Hinkley referred to education as a tool of empowerment especially during times of economic uncertainty and that graduates would help develop economic, science, social and creative solutions that can and will benefit everyone. Learning is the foundation of a life well lived it forms the deep roots of a vibrant community and the best promise for a stronger Alberta.”
The convocation address of his success in his first year as the new president of the University of Alberta. “In his first month in office president Turpin has already commented on both the essential value of a liberal arts and sciences education and on the importance of a multipurpose vision for the University of Alberta, so I knew he was an appropriate choice.”
Dr. Turpin was the president of the University of Victoria and vice-principal of academic, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science at Queen’s University, and the head of the Department of Botany at University of British Columbia among a vast amount of other accolades.
In his address Dr. Turpin spoke about the importance for graduates to be able to change and be resilient in these uncertain times and an ever changing world. “To change yourself is a difficult task and yet it is essential that our society be full of people with the capacity to change and transform otherwise how would our world, our communities and societies be resilient, renew themselves and continue to thrive.”
With reference to recent events throughout the world including the Syrian refugees, the terrorist attacks in Brussels and closer to home the Fort McMurray wildfires, Turpin spoke about the ability of societies and communities to react quickly and adapt to crises. “As new graduates resilience is a skill you will need,” said Turpin. In describing where resilience derives from Turpin explained that strength and compassion were key factors as well as skill, nimbleness, change it makes it possible to imagine an alternative route forward. “When we ignore the value of diversity we lose the capacity of resilience.”
In conclusion, Turpin provided three considerations on how graduates can remain resilient including; continuing to learn and experience new perspectives, be empathetic and compassionate and be part of and support community. “Know that you are part of a community, a big diverse supportive community. It will continue to help you learn, think differently and be resilient.”
After the address by Turpin was the conferring of degrees which included the presentation by Dean Allen Berger, the pledge by President David Turpin and the admission by Chancellor Ralph Young, after which 133 graduates, representing the class of 2016 walked across the stage shaking hands and proudly accepting their degrees. The ceremony concluded with congratulatory remarks from president Turpin, induction into the alumni association by alumni representative Sandra Gawd Gad and final remarks from Dean Berger. “Along with all the other speakers I extend my congratulations to all of the graduates the class of 2016. We have discovered that teaching is way for us to make a meaningful investment in the future. It is, for most of us, our means of committing to the construction of a better world. You, our graduates, give us many reasons to be hopeful and for that all of us on the platform say thank you.”