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Celebrating the accomplishments of University of Regina’s Spring Class of 2020 graduates

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: June 25, 2020 12:00 p.m.

For the first time in the history of the University of Regina, in-person Convocation ceremonies will not be able to take place. Unique alernatives have been developed to allow graduates and their to celebrate.
For the first time in the history of the University of Regina, in-person Convocation ceremonies will not be able to take place. Unique alernatives have been developed to allow graduates and their to celebrate. University of Regina

Normally, twice a year, University of Regina Convocation ceremonies recognize and celebrate the achievements of graduating students. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U of R was not able to hold Convocation in a physical setting, but worked with partners to create innovative and meaningful ways in which to celebrate our approximately 2,500 graduates and welcome them into now 78,000-strong family of alumni.

On June 25 at 1:00 p.m., video recognition of U of R’s Class of Spring 2020 graduates will be broadcast on Access Communications Channel 7 and posted on the University’s website at: https://www.uregina.ca/student/registrar/graduation-convocation/convocation/index.html.

Each new graduate will receive in the mail, along with their parchment, a special commemorative program. Virtual electronic #UofReginaGrads2020 swag is available on the U of R website to download, providing unique ways for our graduates, their family members, and friends to create their own special memories.

A virtual yearbook has been launched so that Spring 2020 graduates are able to share their University of Regina memories from and stay connected with their colleagues – and several students went above and beyond to encourage their fellow classmates to share their experiences. Taylor Istace BBA’20, a graduating accounting student from the U of R’s Hill School of Business, worked tirelessly to reach her fellow graduates to ensure they were part of the virtual yearbook.

Taylor Istace BBA’20

“It isn’t anyone’s fault that convocation can’t be safely held at this time,” says Istace. “The U of R has gone through so much trouble to help us celebrate. I wanted to help to show my appreciation for everything that has been done to celebrate our accomplishments.”

Braden Massé BASc’20, a graduate from the Faculty of Engineering’s electronic system’s engineering program, was equally invested in ensuring that his classmates didn’t miss the opportunity to celebrate their academic accomplishments.

“Our achievements deserve to be appreciated and celebrated,” said Massé. “I was more than happy to help with in any way possible. Seeing my fellow graduates smile and celebrate was my biggest motivation.”

Noting that this will be the first time in the 46-year-history of the institution that a graduation ceremony will not be held in person, Dr. Thomas Chase, Interim President and Vice-Chancellor, shared that U of R faculty and staff wanted to find ways for graduates and their famies to celebrate this milestone in their lives.

“This in no way diminishes the pride the University community and the family members of our Spring 2020 graduates take in celebrating their accomplishments, said Chase. “We look forward to seeing their continued success as they begin new chapters in their lives and careers.”

Braden Massé BASc’20

At previous Convocation ceremonies, graduates would normally walk across the stage and shake hands with the University’s Chancellor – a gesture currently not recommended during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the graduation experience looks a little different this year, U of R Chancellor Pam Klein shared a message of hope for graduates. 

“The countless hours of study, hard work, and collaboration shaped your emotional, social, and intellectual capacity to forge through,” said Klein. “The value of your university experience and your new credential remains unchanged by the pandemic. You did it!”

Istace, who will soon be starting her accounting career at Virtus Group LLP before pursuing her master’s degree in accounting, is excited for the unique opportunity to celebrate in a virtual space.

“I will be at home watching the ceremony with my family,” says Istace. “I’m really excited that I will still get to share this experience with them.”

Massé, currently working at Viterra as an Automation Specialist, noted that the challenges caused by the pandemic are in the best interests of the public and should not be discouraging for the graduates.

“You have faced down so many challenges in University and conquered them all to obtain your degree,” said Massé to his fellow grads. “I know each of you will overcome this challenge. I look forward to seeing each of you succeed in your respective careers!”

Pam Klein, University of Regina Chancellor

Among this year’s outstanding student award recipients are:

Tara Nicole Racette White (Nicole) who received the University of Regina President’s Medal, which is normally awarded at each Spring and Fall Convocation to a student receiving a first degree who has shown academic excellence as well as major leadership and commitment to extra-curricular activities while a student. With a cumulative grade point average of more than 85%, White is graduating with a Bachelor of Indigenous Social Work. She is also the recipient of the Faculty of Social Work Dean’s Medal.

Dr. Michelle Teale Sapach is this year’s Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal recipient. This award recognizes the outstanding academic performance of a graduate student based on the quality of the thesis or exhibition, external examiner’s report, quality of the defense, course work, cumulative grade point average (CGPA), publications and presentations deriving directly from the research done for the thesis or exhibition, and on awards received. Dr. Sapach, is graduating with a Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology with a CGPA of over 90%. 

Joseph Ashworth, Bachelor of Science, Actuarial Science with Great Distinction, is the recipient of the Governor-General’s Academic Silver Medal. This medal is awarded to the most distinguished graduating student receiving a first degree and is based on academic excellence. Ashworth graduated at the Fall 2019 Convocation with an undergraduate grade point average of over 95%.

Nigel Olesen received the University Medal, which is normally awarded at the Spring Convocation to the most distinguished student based on academic achievement during the previous 12 months. Oleson, a Luther College student, has completed 72 credit hours of a Bachelor of Science Honours degree majoring in Economics. Nigel achieved more than 95% SGPA in the previous academic year.

Visit: https://www.uregina.ca/student/registrar/graduation-convocation/convocation/index.html for more information on the University’s Spring 2020 graduation.