Close to 900 College of the Rockies graduates were celebrated during a pair of virtual Commencement ceremonies on Friday, June 25.
“Though we would prefer to applaud the achievements of our students in person at our typical ceremony, we were grateful to still find a meaningful way to commemorate this important day,” said Paul Vogt, College of the Rockies President. “We recognize the hard work students put in to get to this milestone in their lives and were delighted to have graduates join us online with their families to watch the ceremonies and celebrate together.”
The College partnered with StageClip, the world’s number one provider of virtual graduations, to help ensure the virtual ceremonies would be memorable ones. Ceremonies were divided by program areas, with graduates of Business, University Arts and Sciences, Trades, Technology, and Adult Upgrading being acknowledged at 10:30 a.m., and Health and Human Services graduates at 1:30 p.m.
The ceremonies opened by honouring the traditional lands upon which the College sits, and the Indigenous peoples who reside in the region, through a moving song and images of ceremonial dance provided by Adrumnik.
Hosted by Robin Hicks, Vice President, Academic and Applied Research, the ceremonies then saw College Board Chair Randal Mcnair present academic medals to three deserving students.
The Lieutenant Governor’s Medal is awarded to a student who has made an outstanding contribution on campus to the promotion of diversity and inclusion, democracy and/or reconciliation. Bachelor of Business Administration graduate Sarah Clarricoates was this year’s recipient.
The student with the highest academic standing upon graduating from a two-year diploma or associate degree program is awarded the Governor General’s Medal Collegiate Bronze. This is considered the greatest honour that can be bestowed upon a graduate of a two-year program. This year’s recipient was Criminal and Social Justice diploma graduate Malik Dhami.
Finally, McNair presented the President’s Award of Excellence. This award is presented to a full-time student who has achieved the highest cumulative grade point average (GPA) and who will be continuing on to complete a degree. Caleb Tam, who graduated from the Engineering certificate program with a 9.91 GPA, was presented with this prestigious award.
Additional speakers during the virtual ceremonies included Kathryn Teneese, Chair, Ktunaxa Nation Council who reminded graduates that as the leaders of tomorrow, they should never lose sight of what a fair and just society requires.
“Your education at College of the Rockies has put you on the path of understanding. It will be a long journey, but we will get there together,” she said.
In a pre-recorded message, the Honourable Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training stated that empowering people through education is a value close to her heart. She then reminded graduates that the skills and knowledge they gained at the College primed them to take their place as community leaders.
Lieutenant Governor’s Medal recipient Sarah Clarricoates spoke on behalf of the Class of 2021.
“Today marks a major transitional moment in our lives, it marks a major milestone, and it represents everything we’ve worked so hard to achieve,” she said.
College President and CEO Paul Vogt was the final speaker. He celebrated the adaptability and perseverance of graduates.
“This is a very special group of graduates. The world changed on you at a critical moment in your lives. For the past year and a half, you’ve had to pursue your studies and your career goals under conditions that are unprecedented,” he said. “Hopefully all of us will look back at this as a unique time. One that we’ll remember as testing us, but that we came through with flying colours.”
Prior to the ceremonies, the College provided access, by appointment, to a Graduation Selfie Station. Graduates were able to don a cap and gown and have their photos taken in front of a College-themed backdrop. More than 100 students took advantage of this opportunity to celebrate their achievement.
Recordings of College of the Rockies’ Commencement ceremonies can be found on the College’s YouTube channel: youtube.com/COTR1
College of the Rockies is preparing for a full return of students to its campuses this fall with applications currently being accepted. Updates about the fall semester, and the online application form, are available at: cotr.ca