Brandon University Convocation celebrates Music, Science, and Education graduates

The first day of Brandon University’s Spring Convocation celebrated graduates from the Faculties of Science and Education, as well as from the School of Music.

In today’s morning ceremony, nearly 90 Science grads and nearly 40 Music grads received their degrees, followed by nearly 190 Education degrees bestowed in the afternoon ceremony. Although not all graduates attend Convocation, the stage and stands at BU’s Healthy Living Centre were filled with cheering and celebration.

“I am forever grateful for the friendships and connections I have made, the experiences I had, and the opportunities that came my way here at Brandon University,” Science valedictorian Julie Van Den Bussche said to her fellow graduating class. “I would also like to give a thank you for all the support I have received from friends, family, professors, and fellow peers throughout these past four years… It’s about the little things, and it’s those little things that I greatly appreciate.”

Her sentiments of thanks and appreciation was echoed by the Music valedictorian, Faith Colobong, who was briefly overcome by emotion during her address.

“I say this often, but I often pinch myself and think that I lucked out having you all as not only my colleagues, as my peers, but as my friends, as my teachers,” Colobong told the Class of 2024. “As people, your existence alone elicits so much awe. So much wonder. You are so full of goodness, curiosity, creativity, grit. So full of kindness, gratitude, grace, and humility.”

The afternoon’s Education valedictorian, Robert Dinsdale, focused on the future responsibilities of the teachers who were graduating, and their future students.

“It is so easy to get caught in the ‘process’ of educating. Plan, teach, mark, write report cards… rinse and repeat,” he cautioned. “As educators, we need to remember our students are more than a process, or number. They are the most valuable resource we have in society. Our students are the individuals who will shape the future.”

At the morning ceremony, the university also presented Phyllis Webstad, the originator of Orange Shirt Day and the Every Child Matters movement, with an honorary Doctor of Education degree.

Webstad spoke powerfully about the ongoing legacy of the Canadian residential school system, and paused for a moment of silence specifically in memory of the Brandon Indian Residential School.

“This is a call to action for all Canadians and for you, to view the residential school system and the effects of colonialism as a Canadian issue — not an Indigenous issue,” she said. “You have already demonstrated hard work and perseverance in achieving this tremendous milestone and I am confident that we can work together towards a future of reconciliation.”

In the afternoon, three Manitoba K–12 teachers were presented with Distinguished Teacher Awards, and a Lifetime Achievement Award was received by Dr. Nancy Stanley, a Professor in BU’s Faculty of Education who had a 54-year career at Brandon University, from 1969 until her retirement just last year. She is most well known as the creator of BU’s Mini University program, or Mini U, which she launched in 1984.

Convocation continues tomorrow, Friday, May 31. The Faculty of Health Studies ceremony will take place on Friday at 10 a.m., with the Faculty of Arts ceremony following at 2 p.m. In total, about 560 students are graduating from BU this year as part of the Class of 2024.


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