Another batch for the real world

By Emily Senger

Spirits stayed high despite soggy weather hampering spring convocation plans for some University of Calgary students.

“The best part is sharing this moment with my family,” said Bachelor of Kinesiology Graduate Jeff Barett. Unfortunately for Barett, not all his family members were able to attend his convocation; his father was home in High River filling sand bags as the Highwood River swelled over its banks.

Despite the unending rainfall, the Spring Convocation will see 4,673 U of C graduates cross the stage in nine separate ceremonies from June 6-10, and has one of the greatest participation rates on record, according to Ceremonies Officer Brenda Tweedie.

Tweedie attributes the high turnout to changes in this year’s ceremonies making them smaller and more faculty specific.

“More of the ceremonies are just for one faculty,” said Tweedie. “We’re hopeful that it means the number of people at each ceremony will be a bit smaller and hopefully people will find it a bit more personal.”

Jon Downton donned crimson robes to cross the convocation stage and receive his PhD in Geophysics on Tue., Jun. 7. He said this ceremony means more than both his undergraduate and graduate degrees because his two daughters, aged seven and nine, watched from the audience.

Downton’s mother-in-law, also of High River, was able to brave the weather and attend her son-in-law’s ceremony by putting her neighbours on high alert.

“I just had to bring my umbrella,” said Downton. “My mother-in-law’s next door neighbour is on flood watch.”

Graduates were not the only ones to give accolades to their friends and family for continued support. U of C President Dr. Harvey Weingarten noted the importance of family and friends to all graduates.

“Congratulations to you on the floor­­–the graduates­­–but also to you in the audience,” said Weingarten. “There are very few people who succeed in environments like this all alone.”

Honourary degrees were conferred to Calgary business leader Steve Snyde­­­r, medical researchers Dr. Marco Marra and Dr. Frank Plummer, former Olympic athlete John Simpson, actress Tantoo Cardinal, former U of C dean Dr. Norma Mickelson, opinion columnist Catherine Ford, playwright John Murrell, university administrator Myer Horowitz and former Chair of TransCanada PipeLines Gerald Maier.

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