Emotion, Excitement and Pride on Display at Annual Graduates’ Dinner
Published: Monday, Apr 2, 2012
With just a few weeks until they officially complete their degrees, the St. Thomas University “Class of 2012” gathered together to celebrate their upcoming graduation at the Graduates’ Dinner.
St. Thomas University President Dawn Russell welcomed the students to the dinner and congratulated the class on its many successes, thanking them for the academic and social contributions they’ve made over the past four years.
Grad Class President Camila Vasquez, from Peru, encouraged her fellow classmates to enjoy the remainder of their time at STU.
“Let’s enjoy the time we have left together as a grad class, good luck on exams, work hard and don’t lose sight of the end, which is coming—we all have new and exciting things coming up.”
Tom McCann Memorial Trophy
Each year at the Graduates’ Dinner, the Tom McCann Memorial Trophy is awarded to a graduating student who best portrays the spirit of St. Thomas University by their contributions to university and student affairs, through leadership, character and personality.
This year’s award went to Fredericton’s Alexander Vietinghoff, who will graduate with his major in journalism.
Since starting at STU in 2008, Vietinghoff has been involved in athletics, theatre, Students’ Union, Welcome Week, fundraising, and student leadership.
“Winning the trophy is a huge honour for me. It feels so good to know that the work I've done is appreciated. That's one of the things I love about STU—we're a small, tightly-knit community, and when you get involved or help out at events, people will thank you for it.”
“I started here thinking I would just attend classes, study hard and graduate in four years,” he added. “But the friends I made encouraged me to generally put more of myself into the community.”
With Convocation only two months away, Vietinghoff said he is beginning to feel the bittersweet realities of graduating from a place he has come to call home.
“I'm graduating now with a mixed bag of emotions. I'm nervous about what my future will hold and I'm nostalgic about all the people who are branching off down different paths. But I'm also excited. I'm proud of everything I've learned at STU, and I can't wait to bring my experiences into a new part of my life.”
During the evening, Great Ideas and Aquinas professor Andrew Moore presented valedictorian Elizabeth Fraser with the John Arthur Moore Award, named after his father and STU’s first valedictorian after the university moved to Fredericton in 1964.
A lifetime serving students
The guest speaker of the evening was Dean of Students Larry Batt. Batt, who graduated from St. Thomas in 1969, has worked for the university for more than 40 years and will be retiring this summer.
He spoke about how he came to appreciate the value of education and shared his path to, through and back to STU. After graduating, Batt went to graduate school and in 1971 he happily returned to STU to as assistant registrar.
Batt noted that graduates today face more choices, technologies and career changes than ever before.
“Your future jobs may not even exist yet!” said Batt. “So be open and flexible in your personal and career goals.
“I encourage you to pursue new friendships. This evening, however, pause for a moment and treasure your STU memories, your own highlights over your four years.”