2016 spring convocation celebrates success

This year’s spring convocation ceremonies saw more than 3,800 Durham College (DC) graduates embark on the next leg of their journeys. Whether beginning their career or pursuing further education, these individuals will continue with the confidence and knowledge represented in their DC post-secondary credential. Proud friends, family and DC employees gathered at the General Motors Centre in Oshawa on Monday, June 13, Tuesday, June 14 and Wednesday, June 15 to witness students from more than 160 programs receive recognition for their accomplishments.

Graduates from the schools of Interdisciplinary Studies; Justice & Emergency Services; Media, Art & Design; Continuing Education; Science & Engineering Technology; Skilled Trades, Apprenticeship & Renewable Technology; Business, IT & ManagementHealth & Community Services and the Centre for Food were honoured with diplomas and certificates during five ceremonies across the three days.

DC President Don Lovisa, who shared words of advice from Jon Acuff’s article, 20 Things Nobody Tells You When You Graduate College as part of his convocation address, said “It’s become a handy stereotype to say that this generation has a sense of entitlement when it comes to their work and personal lives. Don’t accept that. Don’t accept for a minute that your generation, and those who follow you, are any less prepared, any less capable and any less willing to work than previous generations. I know this to be true because of my work at DC, and when I look at you here today, I see individuals who are ready to take on the important issues of the world and make a positive difference.”

In addition to celebrating the success of its graduates, the college also recognized Hannah Elkington, Anna Forder, Melody Gaukel and Philip Pritchard with Alumni of Distinction Awards.

Elkington, a 2014 Police Foundations program graduate, is a police constable with Durham Regional Police Service. During her studies, she participated in the Impossible2Possible Botswana expedition, running 200 km across the Kalahari Desert over a four-day period. In her graduation year, she also received the prestigious Public Hero Award from the Intercultural Dialogue Institute.

Forder, a 1971 Public Relations program graduate, represented Canada in figure skating at the 1968 Olympic Games in Grenoble, France. She has worked as a professional figure skating coach mentoring young skaters in Durham Region for 45 years, including World gold medalist Barbara Underhill who also represented Canada at the Olympics and was inducted into the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame in 1988 and recognized with the Canadian Women’s Mentor Award in 2000.

Gaukel, a 1998 Public Relations program graduate, is the vice-president of Corporate and Finance at Environics Communications where she played a major role in promoting the Ontario Tire Stewardship program, and makes time to mentor many DC graduates. She has been recognized with two Achieving Communications Excellence Awards from the Canadian Public Relations Society and three International Association of Business Communicators Ovation Awards.

Pritchard, a 1985 Sport Administration graduate, has visited more than 35 countries promoting the Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum as well as exhibits in its collection, but is best known for his position as Keeper of the Cup. In this role, he travels with the Stanley Cup during the National Hockey League playoffs and walks it out onto the ice to be presented to the winning team. In addition, he served for many years on the board of directors for the International Sports Heritage Association (ISHA) as well as the Canadian Association of Sport Heritage. In 2009, he received the Schroeder Award, the ISHA’s highest honour.

In addition, Katherine E. Cummings, former professor in the School of Health & Community Services, was granted the title of Professor Emeritus. This honorary designation recognizes the contributions and service of DC’s retired employees and was awarded to Cummings for her tireless pursuit of enhanced math literacy in nursing students. In 2012, she received the Registered Nurses of Ontario Leadership Award in Nursing Education and the Council of Ontario Universities’ Programs in Nursing Award for Excellence in Collaborative Education. Cummings, known for her passion for health care and innovation, has served as an inspiration and mentor to both students and colleagues alike for 35 years.

The five convocation ceremonies were broadcast via a live stream on the DC website so those unable to attend could celebrate with the successful graduates. Before concluding each ceremony, DC President Don Lovisa asked the class of 2016 to join him in a group selfie.

“I have always had mixed feelings about endings and often times in my life I have found myself reflecting on them with both joy and sadness,” said Elkington, guest speaker and Alumna of Distinction. “For it is only in the moments that we are walking away from something that we realize the significance it has had in our lives. It is only in endings that we are able to hold ourselves up to the light and reflect on how far we have come.”

With the spring convocation ceremonies, DC boasts more than 76,000 alumni over its 49-year history.