While thousands of Brock students celebrated Spring Convocation last week, dozens of employees worked on stage and behind the scenes to ensure each day was memorable.
Employees from across the University came together to assist with the five-day event, many setting aside their usual roles for new ones specific to the occasion.
“It was all hands on deck,” said Brock Registrar Geraldine Jones. “Whether employees were in the thick of the gowning room checking on students and providing them with their academic regalia, ushering and greeting guests in the gymnasiums, or back in the office holding down the fort, everyone worked together and supported each other.”
In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Registrar’s Office, several departments were involved behind the scenes to ensure that Convocation ran smoothly. Custodial Services cleaned and polished campus in anticipation of the big day; Print Services printed hundreds of Convocation programs and Order and Form booklets; Facilities Management transformed the gymnasiums and dance studio into parts of the formal celebration; Campus Security Services helped with traffic flow and security; Campus Store sold keepsakes and degree frames; Development and Alumni Relations entertained VIP guests and graduates at a reception following the ceremony; and many more.
For many faculty members, volunteering as a bedel is a special privilege.
“Placing a ceremonial hood on a student’s shoulder and watching them cross the stage to accept their degree is a culmination of the faculty member’s time with the student,” said Greg Finn, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Academic.
In the 33 years he’s been at Brock, Finn has participated in 110 Convocation ceremonies as part of the platform party. At this year’s Convocation ceremonies, he had the honour of hooding several of his past Earth Sciences students.
For those he did not hood, Finn offered congratulations as they crossed the stage.
“It was really special to be a part of my students’ Convocation ceremony,” he said. “When I reached out to shake a couple of students’ hands, they were surprised. They took a second to catch their breath.”
The reward for the huge effort it takes to plan and execute Convocation comes in the form of smiles on the graduates’ faces.
Preparations begin months in advance and the Registrar’s Office continues to wrap up outstanding details over the next couple of weeks.
“Convocation is often one of the last experiences students and their families have with Brock. We want them to leave with fond memories of their time here — especially of the day they’ve been working so hard to reach,” said Jones.
“We couldn’t accomplish this without the collaborative effort of our employees striving to provide an exceptional Brock experience.”