University of Regina’s largest convocation ever

By Dale Johnson Posted: June 4, 2015 6:00 a.m.

Our newest graduates celebrate Convocation 2015.
Our newest graduates celebrate Convocation 2015. (Photo courtesy of Trevor Hopkin - U of R Photography)

It’s the culmination of years of study – convocation, when students receive their degrees, cheered on by family and friends.

The first day of the University of Regina’s 41st Annual Spring Convocation was held on Wednesday, June 3, at the Conexus Arts Centre.

As the students proudly walked across the main stage, they were congratulated by Chancellor Jim Tomkins and President Vianne Timmons.  

In his remarks, Chancellor Tomkins talked about things that have changed since the very first Convocation held in Regina 50 years ago, at the Regina Campus of the University of Saskatchewan, the forerunner of today’s University of Regina.

For example, he said at that time the women were awarded their degrees first, and then the men. And the males outnumbered the females by a two-to-one margin, while these days there are more women graduates than men.

But he also said that many facets of Convocation are unchanged, including dignitaries, ceremonial gowns, the awarding of honorary degrees, and the personal introduction of each graduate.

Most of all, Chancellor Tomkins said, “Convocation always has been and will always be a time for reflection, pride and celebration.”

President Timmons told the audience: “Our role is to help our students develop in a holistic way – as well-rounded people connected with and sensitive to the world around them.  We help them become tomorrow’s leaders.”

She praised the graduates for being “concerned about our world, inspired to make it a better place, and ready and willing to get involved in our communities.”

President Timmons cited some examples of students making a difference in the larger community, including business students who took part in “5 Days For the Homeless” raising more than $30,000 for Carmichael Outreach; UR Guarantee students who organized the fourth annual “Relay for Life” and have now raised more than $100,000 for cancer research; and student-athletes who volunteered to coach and mentor children in community sports programs.

During the three days of Convocation a total of 2,057 students will be awarded degrees, diplomas and certificates, making it the University’s largest graduation ceremony ever.

As well, three honorary degrees are being conferred. Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees are being awarded to Regina businessman Donald Black, former Parliamentary sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers and Saskatchewan-born educator, nurse and advocate for Aboriginal health Anne Blair Thomas Callahan.

After the official ceremony, graduates, family, faculty and staff mingled at a reception.

There were laughs, tears, hugs - and lots of pictures taken - as the newest graduates wrapped up their university days and prepared to launch the next chapter of their lives as the newest University of Regina alumni.