After 10 years, more than 100 ceremonies and shaking the hands of more than 36,000 graduates, convocation hasn’t gotten old for Brock University President Jack Lightstone.
The final ceremony of Spring Convocation Friday afternoon also marked the last graduation as president for Lightstone, whose term ends on June 30.
After Lightstone shook hands with the final graduate Friday — Nursing graduate Elsa Zawady — a ceremony was held to switch his presidential garb out for a professor’s robe.
Lightstone addressed the crowd of Faculty of Applied Health Sciences graduates and their families and said his time as President had been a pleasure.
“It has been a distinct honour and pleasure to serve this university as president over the past 10 years,” he said. “It has been an honour to serve extraordinary students.”
In an interview earlier in the day, Lightstone said he enjoys the tradition of convocation.
“Every convocation is new. Whenever I get up in front of that microphone, from the moment I’m there in front of them, it’s as fresh and as exciting as the first time. I’m just more relaxed than I was the first time,” he said with a laugh.
Despite the repetition of years worth of ceremonies, even Lightstone still gets surprised sometimes. He was taken aback Wednesday afternoon when the Faculty of Education graduates were louder than their families during a point of the ceremony when the president encourages those in attendance to cheer.
“This class is truly unique,” Lightstone told the students. “When I ask the question of the graduates in every other ceremony I get this whimper and then I get this roar from the families behind them. So congratulate yourselves. You are the most lively group I have experienced in 10 years.”
Reflecting back on that Friday, Lightstone said the fact it was Faculty of Education students was a good sign.
“What went through my mind was that we need to get these young, bright, enthusiastic, well-trained teachers in front of the classes of our province and our nation. What if all that energy we had in that room was in every one of our classrooms across this province? How much better would our educational system be?”
Lightstone said he wraps up his convocation duties with a sense of accomplishment.
“I’m proud of where the University is at this point. That’s not due to me, I think that’s due to the hard work of all of the people who work here,” he said. “I really leave this last convocation with a sense of joy about our students and our faculty and staff and our future.”