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Saint Paul University Celebrates the Class of 2020!

OTTAWA (Ontario), Wednesday, September 2, 2020 – Last Friday, Saint Paul University celebrated its 304 new graduates in a virtual celebration.

Chantal Beauvais, Rector


Members of the University’s leadership were joined by a small delegation of professors in the De Mazenod Chapel on campus to host the ceremony, which was livestreamed for students and their families.

“I have never been more proud of our graduates,” said Chantal Beauvais, rector of Saint Paul University. “To the very end, they worked hard and demonstrated their commitment to learning by overcoming the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19. Their resilience and determination will serve them well in all of their future endeavours.”

In addition to being part of SPU’s first virtual graduation, the 2019–2020 cohort is the largest graduating class in the University’s history.



Stéphane Vézina Gaudreault, valedictorian


Looking Forward

Graduation marks a new chapter in the lives of all students – a fact that this year’s valedictorian, Stéphane Vézina Gaudreault, highlighted in his speech.

“Through this pandemic, a new era is beginning – an era of self-awareness, awareness of others and acknowledgement that we must work together. Our future is linked to our actions, to our solidarity,” he said. “Do not be afraid to move forward with confidence. You have within you all of the knowledge and capabilities to succeed in this life.”

Vézina Gaudreault, a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Studies.


A Personal Touch

Grad Balloons

While physical distancing measures prevented students from attending the ceremony in person, Saint Paul University took a creative approach to represent its graduates.

A slideshow featuring photos of the graduates played as their names were called during the ceremony. As the University mailed the printed diplomas in July, graduates were encouraged to submit a photo of themselves with their diploma to be included in a presentation.

A wall of 304 balloons was also a prominent feature in the chapel. Each balloon represented one of the graduates and was colour coded to indicate the faculty in which they studied. At the end of the ceremony, the balloons were released to the song “Rise Up” by The Parachute Club. These balloons will be repurposed and transformed into an art piece that will commemorate the class of 2020.


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.

Erin Joy Whyte, who completed the Honours Bachelor of Arts in Human Relations and Spirituality, is the recipient of the Silver Medal.

The Gold Medal was awarded to Jhorly Alejandra Vargas, a graduate of the Master of Arts in Public Ethics.

Congratulations to all of our graduates!


For more information, please contact:

Julie Bourassa
Communications Officer, Saint Paul University
613-236-1393, ext. 2310

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