More than 850 graduates received their degrees and certificates from Brock this past Saturday as the University celebrated its fall convocation.
At the day’s 10 a.m. ceremony for the faculties of Applied Health Science, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Goodman School of Business, Chancellor Ned Goodman spoke to the graduating class about the hidden wisdom they have acquired during their time at Brock.
“As a graduate of this fine school you have received a tremendous amount of wisdom,” said Goodman. “But you have to remember that there is a big difference between wisdom and cleverness.”
“Wisdom is a matter of awareness. It’s a matter of knowledge, of choice, and values and direction of which you make some effort. Cleverness, on the other hand, is the use of the wisdom you’ve attained for the advantages you need to succeed.”
“Be confident that you will be successful,” he added. “Remember that there are many things to your life which may change, but you can always start and begin again because you have the wisdom that is required. Keep it.”
During the morning ceremony, Joe Robertson, Chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, presented the Spirit of Brock medal to undergraduate student Miso Gostimir who was graduating with a bachelor of science degree.
Spirit of Brock medals are presented to an undergraduate and graduate student at Fall Convocation who posses the qualities that best embody the spirit of Sir Isaac Brock – leadership, courage, innovation, inspiration and community involvement.
In his remarks about Gostimir’s achievements, Robertson noted, “Miso’s hard work and passion for learning, and more importantly his overall character, have already earned him recognition through awards such as a President’s Surgite Award and National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada student research awards.”
“This past summer, Miso earned acceptance into the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ottawa. The letter of admission stated ‘Your personal qualities and achievements indicate that you have the ethical and social values that will allow you to make a significant and important contribution to the society in which you live.'”
“I couldn’t have said it any better,” added Robertson.
Brent Faught, professor of epidemiology and chair of Brock’s Department of Community Health Sciences, who was recently recognized by the Ontario Confederation of Faculty Associations (OCUFA) with a teaching award, delivered the day’s first convocation address.
“Serendipity is the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it all,” said Faught. “What a powerful presence in our lives if we only choose to embrace the opportunity to discover through chance.”
“Say yes to things you don’t normally say yes to. Consider the idea of volunteerism rather than always expecting to be paid of your efforts. Ponder stepping out of your comfortable social confines to help a stranger for no other reason because you can.”
The morning ceremony also saw Prof. Michael Bidochka in Biological Sciences presented with the Brock University Award for Distinguished Research and Creative Activity.
In presenting the award, Joffre Mercier, Associate Vice-President Research, said Bidochka exemplified all the criteria for award, demonstrating outstanding research achievements, contributing to the training of future researchers, and being consistent in scholarly or creative performance.
Two Governor General’s Silver Medals, which are awarded to the students who achieve the highest academic standing at the undergraduate level, were also presented during the ceremony to Laura Broley and Jacinta Peel.
At Saturday’s afternoon convocation ceremony for the faculties of Education and Social Sciences, President Jack Lightstone welcomed the graduating class, their families and friends, and guests “who’ve come from nations around the world to watch your loved ones graduate today.”
He also noted, “as we sit here in Brock University on top of the escarpment, we are sitting on the traditional lands of the First Nations people of this region and I want to also welcome all of the indigenous people who are in attendance today.”
At the afternoon ceremony, Board Chair Robertson, presented a Spirit of Brock Medal to graduate student Roxolana Chwaluk, who graduated with a Master of Education.
“Her continued leadership in the Turn Around Projects of the Arts, or TAP as it is known, exemplifies the criteria for the Spirit of Brock Award,” Robertson said.
“Rox co-founded the TAP organization with a mission to create integrated arts programs to strengthen communities, locally and internationally, with a focus on the idea of reciprocal exchange. To date, TAP has executed 11 empowering programs in Jamaica, Japan, India, and Canada with over 800 participants from around the world.”
Saturday’s afternoon ceremony also saw an honoray degree conferred upon Canadian defence lawyer James Lockyer, who has been involved in exposing more than 20 wrongful convictions in Canada.
“All of you and I we are all just human beings, we are indeed fallible,” he said in a speech. “We all have and will continue to make our own mistakes from time to time. Mistakes that may affect us, mistakes that may affect others as well, but within our limitations, it’s our task, both yours and mine fellow graduands, to make our society a better place.”
“There are any number of ways that we can do that,” he said in closing. “Whether it’s improving our environment, helping the vulnerable, encouraging the arts, or, in my case, trying to correct injustices of the past.”
“We all have a lot to do and good luck to all of you in doing it.”
Saturday’s afternoon ceremony also saw Associate Prof. Darlene Ciuffetelli Parker, Department of Teacher Education, Faculty of Education, presented with the Brock University Award for Distinguished Teaching.
“A great many students, I suspect some here today, colleagues and other professionals have testified to the fact that Prof. Ciuffetelli Parker is exemplary in terms of the art of teaching, but as well as the science of teaching,” said Murray Knuttila, Provost and Vice-President, Academic, who presented the award. “Her commitment is to the highest ethical standards of teaching and learning.”