St. Thomas University Celebrates Summer Convocation - “For One Person, We May Be The World”
By: Cedric Noel (BA'13)
Published: Thursday, Jul 12, 2012
St. Thomas University celebrated Summer Convocation by conferring degrees on 135 graduates in arts, applied arts and education.
On a warm evening, President and Vice-Chancellor Dawn Russell welcomed the graduates, their families and guests to the courtyard, calling the day a milestone for the summer class of 2012. This is the second convocation in two months as more than 400 students graduated in May.
“Today marks a new beginning for all of you and today we formally recognize your achievements and your successful completion of your academic program.”
Russell recognized that many of the graduates have had to overcome tremendous obstacles. She added that she was confident that the graduates had bright futures ahead of them and that she is looking forward to hearing about their upcoming achievements.
“We’re proud of you all. We know that apart from the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired at St. Thomas, life teaches us that success requires personal qualities, talents and skills that we can neither teach nor test in university,” said Russell.
“These are qualities and skills that we know all of you have, combined with the knowledge and skills that you’ve acquired here at St. Thomas, these personal attributes will assist you in achieving future success.”
“For one person, we may be the world” - Jillian Johnston, Valedictorian
During her valedictory, Jillian Johnston from Fredericton, NB, talked about how many of the graduates have chosen their respective careers not just for the money, but because they want to make a difference in this world.
“My favourite quote that drives my motivation is. “To the world we may just be one person, but for one person we may be the world.”
“If we can go through our careers and make a difference in even one person’s life, it will be worth every effort, enthusiasm, every hour of work we put in. We’ve all had someone like that in our lives or we wouldn’t be here today.”
Johnston, who graduated from Education, had a special message for her classmates. She challenged them to take what they have learned and the experiences they have had throughout their education and apply that knowledge. She added that they should continue to learn and develop professionally and pass on the passion that has brought them to St. Thomas this past year.
“As educators, we do more than teach the curriculum, we teach every child where they are at, we inspire them, we empower them, we give intellectual, moral and social instruction, we build relationships. It is a huge responsibility and honour that we have been given.”
“Keep tonight in your heart” - Susan Butler, Honorary Degree Recipient
Miramichi folk singer and community volunteer Susan Butler, was the recipient of an honorary degree. She began by addressing the graduating class and congratulating them on all their hard work and achievement.
“What a wonderful setting; I hope you people will keep tonight in your heart for many years to come. I have to say it’s surreal, I’m honoured and very humbled to address you this evening.”
Butler, who never attended university, also spoke of her struggles.
“Like myself, I’m sure many of you out here tonight have faced many obstacles and mountains to climb to where you are tonight. But the point is you are here because you didn’t give up.”
“The degree you are receiving tonight is not just being handed to you. You worked long and hard for it, but you did not do it alone. Your family, your parents, friends, loved ones, teachers helped you to get where you are. One never gets to the top on his own.”
University Medal Winner Sheralynne Deveaux
The winner of the university medal was Education student Sheralynne Deveaux from Sydney, Nova Scotia.