The University of the Fraser Valley sent another batch of its best and brightest out into the world on June 13-14, as more than 2,000 students graduated and more than half of them attended convocation ceremonies, crossing the stage at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.
Laurie Schulz, a member of the first graduating class from the Master of Social Work degree program, reminded her fellow graduates on June 13 that education is not just about preparing to do something, but also about preparing to be someone.
“Take note, specifically on graduation day, of how many times you’re asked, ‘So what now? What are you are going to do?’” she said.
Multi-award winner Sol Sun was the student speaker for the College of Arts ceremony on June 14.
He spoke about the importance of finding a passion for what one pursues.
“I wasn’t the best student in high school, because I didn’t really care about what I was learning. Here in university, I’ve discovered something I am truly passionate about and am intrinsically motivated to pursue. I believe that whatever we do, we should love it and be able to talk all day long about it.”
Derek Froese, who earned a Bachelor of Computer Information Systems degree and spoke at the Friday afternoon ceremony on June 13, told his fellow graduates that they should look for life lessons from those whose time left is limited. He said that people who are dying don’t wish they’d worked more, made more money, or had bigger homes.
“In fact, pursuing simplicity and minimalism can decrease complication and stress,” he noted, saying that those who are dying tend to regret living according to others’ expectations, working too hard, not having the courage to express their feelings, and not spending more time with people important to them.
- Honorary degrees were given to rock musician, activist, and motivational speaker Bif Naked, Cree artist George Littlechild, and science educator and communicator Penny Park.
- The Governor General’s gold medalist for top student in a graduate degree program was Diane Keegan, a Master of Social Work graduate.
- The Governor General’s silver medal, for top student in a four-year bachelor’s degree program, went to Sol Sun, a BA in Psychology Honours grad.
- The Governor General’s bronze medal, for top student in a two-year program, went to Library and Information Technology diploma grad Anna-Marie Krahn.
- The Lieutenant Governor’s medal recipient for outstanding student in a one-year program was Scott Klassen, a Horticulture Production and Protection certificate grad.
- Dean’s medals were given to the following students for high academic achievement: Marin Beck (Arts –Humanities); Sol Sun (Arts – Social Sciences); Kelly McLeod (Science); Mitchell Pfau (Professional Studies); Kimberley Fox (Health Sciences).
- Professor emeritus status was bestowed upon newly elected MLA for Abbotsford South, Dr. Darryl Plecas. Plecas is retiring from UFV after 34 years serving as instructor, department head of Criminology and Criminal Justice, RCMP Senior University Research Chair, and Director, Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research at UFV.
- UFV’s Teaching Excellence award went to communications instructor Linda Pardy, and the Research Excellence award went to chemistry instructor Noham Weinberg.
- Larry Stinson, chair of the UFV Board of Governors, was recognized for his leadership and six years of service on the board.
- A brand new award was bestowed upon Bachelor of Arts graduate Surjit Atwal, who persevered and earned his degree despite the challenges presented by his cerebral palsy. The Surjit Atwal Remarkable Achievement award will be given to future graduates who have also overcome obstacles during their education.
- The Betty Urquhart Community Service award was given to Brittany Clough of Chilliwack for her Beautiful, You project and to Veronica Back of Mission, for her work with the New Heights Church’s Street Hope outreach lunch and dinner program.