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Saint Paul University Celebrates the Class of 2022!

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OTTAWA, Friday, June 24 – For the first time since the pandemic, Saint Paul University professors, graduates and their families were able to gather on campus to celebrate a new graduating class.

On Friday, June 17, over two separate ceremonies – one held in the morning and one in the afternoon – the University celebrated 379 new graduates, the largest graduating class in the University’s history.

“It is such a pleasure to celebrate this happy occasion in person once again,” said Chantal Beauvais, Rector of Saint Paul University. “For some, this is the first time they are meeting their peers in person. However, despite two years of mostly virtual learning, I know each of our graduates have made meaningful connections with their professors, and each other. I am glad that we are able to celebrate their achievements together.”

A Community Effort

In each ceremony, the valedictorians acknowledged the perseverance and resilience of each student – but also the support that they received from their friends, loved ones and professors.

During the morning ceremony, Iness Orchidée Impundu Ishimwe — a graduate of the M.A. in Conflict Studies — said in her farewell speech:

“I know I would not have made it here today without my support system, so I want to thank my family and friends for their prayers and encouragements. And on behalf of all students, I specially want to thank all the professors who gave us extensions, replied to panicked late night emails, and understood when one needed to disconnect […] Your accessibility, your compassion, your understanding, and your selfless desire to help your students grow are all part of what makes this institution so special.”

Mariam Moussa — a graduate of the M.A. in Counselling and Spirituality — echoed this sentiment in the afternoon ceremony, saying:

“In our struggles with online learning, life transitions, and constant flux, we still found a way to form meaningful connections with one another, and became a part of the cycle of help, the cycle of giving, working together, and helping one another, and we learned to share our vulnerabilities, to open our hearts to one another and to accept help, realizing that we cannot do this life alone.”

Honouring Resilience

As a special gesture to the graduating class, members of the University’s Indigenous Centre hand-crafted a medicine pouch for each graduate who attended the ceremony. This gift is meant to acknowledge and honour the resilience and perseverance each student demonstrated throughout their academic journey.

Each medicine pouch contains sage, sweetgrass, tobacco and cedar – plants that are held sacred by First Nations and Métis Peoples.

Marie-Louise Perron, a Knowledge Keeper at the University, explained the significance of these medicines during the ceremony:

“Tobacco is offered to the Creator, Elders or Knowledge keepers as a respectful way of asking for guidance or advice. Sweetgrass teaches kindness and can be used for purification. Cedar is a healing medicine that promotes personal balance and attracts positive energy and emotions. And sage, considered women’s medicine, offers strength, wisdom and clarity of purpose. We offer these to you, our graduates, with our very best wishes for success in your chosen fields.”

The Governor General Academic Medals

Each year, Saint Paul University awards two graduates with the Governor General’s Academic Silver Medal and Gold Medal. These medals are awarded to the students who achieve the highest academic standing at the undergraduate and graduate level, respectively.

Tara Wallace, who completed the Honours B.A. in Human Relations and Spirituality, is the recipient of the Silver Medal.

The recipient of the Gold Medal is Katherine VanLeeuwen, a graduate of the M.A. in Counselling and Spirituality.

Félicitations à tous nos diplômés!

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