Life looks a little different since Anita Nwamadi received her degree from Brock.
Although she graduated from the University’s Medical Sciences program in 2020, she returned to campus Wednesday to walk across the legacy Convocation stage — as six-month-old daughter Muna looked on.
The proud new mom is among more than 1,600 graduates from the Classes of 2020 and 2021 celebrating their achievements during Brock’s legacy Convocation Wednesday, Oct. 12 and Thursday, Oct. 13. The ceremonies provide an opportunity for returning graduates to celebrate on campus, as public health restrictions prevented them from doing so at the time of their graduation.
Since leaving Brock, Nwamadi’s time has been focused not only on her role as a new parent, but also on furthering her education. The Scarborough resident completed her post-graduate diploma in mental health and addictions at Humber College, and plans to return to Brock in the near future to pursue her Master of Nursing through Brock’s concurrent Bachelor of Nursing/Master of Nursing program.
“Even though it’s been so long, there’s this little, tiny piece of me saying, ‘I finally did it,’” Nwamadi said of her walk across the stage. “It’s been really exciting. There have been so many changes, but this place still feels so familiar.”
While twin sisters Ashley and Katelyn Soucie-Vukmanich graduated at different times, June 2021 and October 2021, respectively, legacy Convocation meant they were able to come back to campus to mark the occasion together.
The format of the legacy ceremonies allowed for the pair to cross the stage together Wednesday morning, despite Ashley graduating with her Master of Arts in Applied Health Sciences and Katelyn with her Master of Arts in Applied Disability Studies, with a specialization in Applied Behaviour Analysis.
Ashley said celebrating a special milestone such as graduation during a pandemic was difficult, but having it lead to a unique moment she could share with her sister made it worthwhile.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do this together otherwise,” Katelyn added.
Ashley has since returned to school, pursuing a career in social work through Toronto Metropolitan University and working as a domestic violence counsellor, while Katelyn recently took on a full-time position as a board-certified behaviour analyst.
During the Wednesday morning ceremony, Brock University Chancellor Hilary Pearson said it was with “resilience, tenacity and perseverance” that the Classes of 2020 and 2021 overcame such difficult circumstances to earn their post-secondary degrees.
“After the years of pandemic-related disruption and uncertainty, today has taken on even more meaning,” she said as she addressed the graduates. “You may one day look back on the adversity of these times and recognize that the situation you faced with determination will have prepared you for whatever life may throw at you.”
In her ceremony remarks, Brock University Interim President and Vice-Chancellor Lynn Wells urged the graduates to take a few moments to pause and reflect on the significance of what they have achieved.”
“Many of you have headed off to work, starting what I hope will be long, fulfilling careers. Others may be pursuing further education or taking some time to decide what the next steps in life will be,” she said. “Regardless of where life takes you, I encourage you to always remember that you are part of a wonderful, diverse community of people here at Brock. The relationships you’ve made here will last a lifetime and will help you to navigate life’s twists and turns.
“Grads, I’m so glad that so many of you took the time to come back to campus for this very special day,” Wells said. “It is hard proof that, no matter how long it’s been, you are always welcome back home.”
Brock University’s legacy Convocation continues Thursday, Oct. 13 with three ceremonies — at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. — held throughout the day. Legacy ceremonies are followed by Brock’s Fall Convocation on Friday, Oct. 14.
All Convocation ceremonies are livestreamed online at brocku.ca/livestream