Durham College celebrates graduate success at first in-person Convocation since 2019

Durham College’s (DC) most exciting event of the year returned this June, complete with confetti canons and inspirational guest speakers, as the college hosted its first in-person Convocation since 2019.

During this momentous occasion, more than 3,500 students crossed the stage to the cheers and smiling faces of their friends, family, and special guests. During the ten ceremonies held over the five-day event, DC’s 2022 graduates celebrated new beginnings as they received their credentials, and the 2020 and 2021 graduates returned to acknowledge how far they’ve come and experience their ceremonies that were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Not only did our graduates complete their program – setting their sights on a tremendous goal and meeting it with resolve – but they made it to the finish line during a once-in-a-century global event that has impacted all of us to varying degrees and in different ways,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC during his remarks to the graduates. “As COVID-19 changed the way we live, work and learn, our graduates showed the world that they have an undeniable amount of drive and determination that will continue to serve them in their career and life for many years to come.”

Held at the Tribute Communities Centre in downtown Oshawa from June 13 to 17, the events honoured graduates from programs in the schools of Hospitality & Horticultural Science; Business, IT & Management; Professional and Part-time Learning, Health & Community Services; Interdisciplinary Studies; Justice & Emergency Services; Media, Art & Design; Science & Engineering Technology and Skilled Trades, Apprenticeship & Renewable Technology.

Ceremonies on June 14 marked an important milestone for the Durham College Alumni Association as it reached 100,000 members with the graduating class of 2021. The ceremony on June 17 also celebrated the inaugural graduating class of DC’s first degree program, the Honours Bachelor of Health Care Technology Management.

The first and last ceremonies of the week also featured a Big Drum performance by John Snake and drummers from the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, welcoming graduates and guests as they entered the building.

The opening song was performed to offer positive thoughts as DC honoured all graduates and their achievements, and the closing performance symbolized safe travels for graduates as they move on to new endeavours. An Indigenous student graduation celebration also took place on June 10, prior to Spring Convocation week, with a reception and Indigenous Heritage Celebration on campus.

Guest speakers at the ceremonies included:

  • Nicole Blackman, DNP, MN, RN – graduate of DC’s Registered Nursing program in 2004, provincial director of the Indigenous Primary Health Care Council, former sessional instructor at Ontario Tech University, and member of the provincial Children’s COVID-19 Vaccine Table, Chief Medical Officer of Health Advisory Table, provincial Hepatitis C Working Group, and Durham Region Aboriginal Advisory Committee.
  • Brent Lessard – graduate of DC’s Mechanical Engineering Technology program in 2014, co-founder and project manager for rLoop, director of programs and operations at Venture Development Institute, 2017 Premier’s Award winner, and member of the Durham College Alumni Association.
  • Thao Nghiem – graduate of DC’s Music Business Management program in 2018, founder and managing director of the Vietnam Music Industry Network and Vietnam Music Week, co-director of the Oshawa Music Awards and marketing manager for Small World Music.
  • Cameron Munro – graduate from the Business Administration – Operations Management (now Supply Chain & Operations Management – Business Administration) program in 2012, plant manager at FibreCorr Ltd., president of Munro Strategy Group Inc., and former chair and member of the Supply Chain & Operations Management – Business Administration Program Advisory Committee.
  • Hannah Elkington – graduate from the Police Foundations program in 2014, K-9 handler with the Durham Regional Police Services, volunteer with the Imire Elephant and Rhino Sanctuary’s K-9 anti-poaching unit, 2016 Premier’s Awards nominee, 2016 Alumna of Distinction and winner of the Public Hero Award form the Intercultural Dialogue Institute.

Over the course of Spring Convocation, the college also awarded three deserving recipients with Alumni of Distinction awards based on their extraordinary contributions to society while achieving career success:

  • Nicole Blackman – a 2004 graduate of the Registered Nursing program.
  • Kristin Atwood – a 2017 graduate of the Advanced Baking and Pastry Arts program and 2016 graduate of the Culinary Management program.
  • Andrew McNamara – a 2004 graduate of the Business Administration – Accounting program.

For more information about Spring Convocation, including links to videos of each ceremony, visit www.durhamcollege.ca/convocation. To learn more about this year’s Alumni of Distinction winners visit www.durhamcollege.ca/alumniofdistinction.