BU will recognize more than 550 graduates at 2023 Convocation

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A row of graduates stand side-by-side in their gowns and caps
Convocation will take place over two days, with four ceremonies planned.

Brandon University (BU) will spend two days celebrating success as members of the Class of 2023 prepare to receive their degrees at next week’s Convocation.

Beginning on Thursday, June 1, this year’s Convocation will be split into four ceremonies at the Healthy Living Centre (HLC) as 559 graduates are honoured for their academic achievements.

“Convocation is my favourite time of the year, it is a thrill and an honour that I personally get to congratulate each of our graduates as they cross the stage and receive their degrees,” said BU President Dr. David Docherty. “We ask our students to be agile, to be courageous, and to be inclusive — lessons they will take with them to succeed in the future. I’m so proud to send off such a wonderful group of alumni to represent BU.”

The celebrations begin on Thursday at 10 a.m., with students from the Faculty of Science and School of Music being the first to officially graduate. Following that, the Faculty of Education ceremony will take place at 2 p.m.

Friday’s schedule includes ceremonies for the Faculty of Health Studies at 10 a.m. and the Faculty of Arts at 2 p.m. All ceremonies take place at BU’s Healthy Living Centre.

“I’m so proud to send off such a wonderful group of alumni to represent BU.”

BU President Dr. David Docherty

The entire community is invited to help the graduates celebrate. With large crowds of grads, friends and family, faculty, BU staff and volunteers, and the community, the intersection of Louise Avenue and 20th Street will be closed to traffic to ensure the safety of those in attendance, and to give everyone the chance to freely explore the campus. Signage will be posted to guide visitors to the parking areas, which are free during Convocation. For those unable to attend in person, the ceremonies will be livestreamed at BrandonU.ca/Convocation.

This year’s Convocation will be the first to incorporate the migizii mikit, or sacred Eagle Staff, into the ceremonies. The BU Chancellor, Mary Jane McCallum, will carry the Eagle Staff during the processional, and it will officially open and close the ceremonies.

While the Eagle Staff adds a new tradition to Convocation, which is steeped in history, the day also features more recent additions, such as the gift of artwork for each graduate. That was begun during in 2020, when an in-person ceremony was impossible, and continues this year with a piece by IshKaabatens Waasa Gaa Inaabateg Department of Visual Art student Kaelin Grill. Grill’s work is an interpretation of the “Healing Together” Reconciliation sculpture, by artist and BU faculty member Kevin McKenzie, which was installed last year across from the HLC. Grill’s artwork will be included with the parchment packages the graduates receive when they cross the stage.

“Some of our traditions date back to the founding of Brandon College in 1899, and draw on academic customs that are centuries old, but the event continues to grow and evolve each year,” said University Registrar Andrea McDaniel, whose office oversees Convocation. She also noted that Indigenous influences at Convocation include greetings from a knowledge-keeper and a traditional honour song.

“I am proud of the dedication of the staff and volunteers who strive to make Convocation better every year,” she said. “Many work countless hours throughout the year and on the day to bring our graduates the memorable and rewarding occasion that they deserve.”

Convocation is also an occasion to recognize excellence among students and educators. Each of BU’s four faculties plus the School of Music will be represented by a valedictorian, who will speak during their ceremony. Many other students will be acclaimed for their exceptional academic performance. Significant awards, including recognition for excellence in teaching and research, will also be presented to outstanding faculty.


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