Fall Convocation a day of celebration, reflection

MEDIA RELEASE: 18 October 2019 – R00162

There were smiles, cheers and some tears of joy as more than 1,000 Brock University students received their degrees Friday, Oct. 18 during Fall Convocation.

The two ceremonies in Ian Beddis Gymnasium marked Brock’s 106th Convocation overall and 50th Fall ceremony.

Unlike Spring Convocation, which is spread over five days, Fall Convocation includes just two ceremonies covering all seven Faculties in a single day.

Distinguished Teaching Award recipient Kirsty Spence, who delivered the morning Convocation address, expressed what many were feeling Friday when she said “there are few other events that I love more at Brock than Convocation day.

“To share in the pride and joy that graduates emanate as they walk this stage and to meet parents and family members after all this time they have entrusted their own to us as Brock students is monumentous to me and I feel much gratitude,” said the associate professor of Sport Management.

Spence encouraged the graduands to stay authentic to themselves and work to discover their purpose.

“Be inspired with the knowledge that it is you who gets to learn what is a good enough purpose for yourself and be full in yourself in doing so,” she said.

Delivering the afternoon address was Associate Professor of History Elizabeth Vlossak, who acknowledged that the new graduates might be feeling overwhelmed.

“Right now, you may feel scared and alone. The world and our future may seem pretty bleak. All around us, we’re confronted with challenges that seem insurmountable,” she said.

As a historian of 20th century Europe, Vlossak said she is sometimes saddened by society’s inability to learn from its past mistakes, but believes studying the past also provides us “with powerful reminders of the amazing achievements humans are capable of and locates the inspiration we need in these dark times.”

“You are responsible for becoming attuned to what people are telling you is impossible and deciding if they’re actually right,” said Vlossak. “If they’re not, you must work as a society and a community to make the possibilities that will change the world for the better. You leave Brock University today equipped with the skills, knowledge and experience to take up this challenge.”

Among the awards handed out were Governor General Silver Medals to Math and Science students Rachel Van Herk and Ashley Kapoor, the two undergraduate students with the highest academic standing of everyone in the class of 2019.

For 22-year-old Van Herk, the award was the result of four years of early mornings, late nights and a dedication to academic achievement.

“I think it’s really a reflection of how much effort I put into my degree, so I’m truly honoured to win this award,” she said. “It’s a great way to end my degree.”

Van Herk finished her degree with a 99 per cent average. Of the 40 classes she completed, she had 100 per cent averages in 21 of them and 98 or higher in another 13.

Also awarded Friday were Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock medals to students who best represent the spirit of Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock. Recipients included Media and Communication Studies student Sophie Hassanali, Social Justice and Equity Studies student Aniqah Zowmi and Education master’s student Larry Nie.

Both ceremonies are available to watch on the Brock University YouTube channel.

For more information or for assistance arranging interviews: 

* Dan Dakin, Manager Communications and Media Relations, Brock University ddakin@brocku.ca, 905-688-5550 x5353 or 905-347-1970

Brock University Marketing and Communications has a full-service studio where we can provide high definition video and broadcast-quality audio.

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