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Graduates recognized at COTR convocation ceremony

184 attendees make for one of the largest convocation ceremonies in 43 years at the College
Brenda Cortes Vargas accepts the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal from David Walls, President and CEO o the College of the Rockies, on Friday night at the Cranbrook campus convocation ceremony. Tyler Zhao photo.

Over 184 graduates from certificate, diploma and degree programs crossed the stage during the College of the Rockies convocation ceremony on Friday, with more grads to come once other programs wrap up in June.

It was the largest convocation ceremony in 43 years, with 575 credentials handed out for the 2018/19 academic year, with 255 more to come by the end of the month, according to a College press release.

David Walls, College of the Rockies President and CEO, presided over the ceremony, while diginitaries such as fellow College executives, students and board members also spoke and participated in the event.

Heather Hepworth, acting vice president, opened the ceremony with welcoming remarks, followed by Daniel Denegri Estrata, a student representeative who spoke about the benefits of attending post-secondary at COTR.

“The College has provided us with an unrivaled personalized learning experience which has improved our ability to understand and retain the course material,” he said. “This is largely thanks to the professors and faculty who tirelessly work to make the learning experience for all students and engaging and enjoyable one.”

Walls also addressed the graduates to remind them that critical thinking is more important than ever in what some would call a post-truth era.

“Information has always been vulnerable to manipulation and a misfortune of the times we live in is that instant access to information, and its sheer volume, has wrought increased potential for manipulation,” Walls said. “My hope is that College of the Rockies has armed you with not just the technical aspects of your discipline, but also the ability to be discerning.”

Brenda Cortes Vargas, a graduate of the post-degree program in sustainable business, was awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal, which recognizes a student who promotes diversity, inclusion, reconciliation, civic engagement and the advancement of human rights.

Cortes, an international student originally from Mexico City, wishes to stay in B.C. to pursue an entrepeneural career, support economic and social development and enjoy the region’s natural surroundings.

Sarah Clarricoates was the recipient of the Governor General’s Bronze Medal, which is awarded to the student with the highest academic standing upon graduating from a two-year diploma or associate degree program. Clarricoates graduated out of the two-year Business Management Accounting diploma program with a grade point average of 9.67 out of 10. Clarricoates is planning to return to COTR in the fall for the Bachelor of Business Administration: Sustainable Business Practices program.

Rebecca Suzanne Barron was recognized with the President’s Award of Excellence, who graduated from the Business Management Certificate program with a perfect 10 out of 10 grade point average. Barron moved from Scotland to the Elk Valley last year in order to enjoy the backcountry lifestyle while pursuing her education out of the Fernie COTR campus.

She will continue her educaiton next year in the Business Management Accounting diploma program.

Jesse Nicholas, Chair of the College’s Board of Governors assisted Walls with the presentation of academic medals.

“It was a great thrill to recognize these three worthy recipients,” says Walls. “I am proud of each and every one of our graduates and of the terrific team we have in place at the College who played a part in their success stories.”

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Trevor Crawley

About the Author: Trevor Crawley

Trevor Crawley has been a reporter with the Cranbrook Townsman and Black Press in various roles since 2011.
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