Three people wearing graduation gowns smile and pose for a photo beneath a sign that reads ‘grad.’

The Toronto Congress Centre was filled with beaming graduates and their excited loved ones there to celebrate as part of Humber College’s Fall 2023 Convocation ceremonies.

Nearly 3,000 graduating students, their families and friends gathered to celebrate the moment on November 2 and November 3. The graduation ceremonies were also livestreamed on Humber’s YouTube channel for those who wanted to attend but couldn’t.

Fe Regina graduated from the Retirement Home Management program and was all smiles as she chatted with classmates. A former university professor in her home country of the Philippines, Regina decided to shift careers after caring for her mother who was living with Alzheimer’s.

Three people wearing graduation gowns and holding pieces of paper pose for a photo with Humber College’s president and CEO.

Her co-op was with a retirement community company, and she went on to land a coordinator position there. She says many of her peers in the program have already found employment in their sector.

“Graduating is a proud moment”

“It really is a great program,” said Regina. “Graduating is a proud moment for me.”

Humber President and CEO Ann Marie Vaughan told the graduating students that they will play a critical role in our collective future.

"Throughout your time with us, you have learned about leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and many key skills that will set you apart," said Vaughan. "Take the knowledge and skills you gained here at Humber and become a beacon of humanity in everything you do. We are confident that you can make our world a better place. You are poised to be changemakers and we need your leadership."

A person presents a student wearing a graduation gown with a framed credential. A screen reading Humber is in the background.

There were countless cheers, happy dances and big waves from the graduates as they crossed the stage to receive their credentials.

Following the ceremonies, the graduates and their loved ones gathered to enjoy the moment. Many of them took selfies with classmates or posed for photos with their family in front of Humber banners.

Fulya Bilir was working as a personal trainer in Turkey when she realized there was lots to learn about the business side of the industry. She enrolled in Humber’s Global Business Management program with the goal of one day opening her own studio.

Bilir was joined by her parents, husband and her eight-year-old twins. Asked how she felt upon graduating, she laughingly said she felt free following a packed schedule that included studying full time while raising two little ones.

“I’m pretty happy graduating today,” said Bilir with a smile.

“A real sense of pride”

Joanne Tuck and Kristine Fenning, Early Childhood Education program coordinators, said one of the best parts of convocation is getting to see the students beaming upon graduating. It’s special for them to watch as their students celebrate their achievements.

“They have a real sense of pride in what they’ve accomplished,” said Tuck.

A person wearing a graduation gown holds a piece of paper in their hand as they walk across a stage.

Harika Kuppala graduated from the Research Analyst program and was excited to celebrate the moment with her classmates. Kuppala felt the program provided her with all the tools and knowledge needed to be successful in her field.

“I was excited to go on stage to receive my certificate after I worked so hard,” said Kuppala.

Humber presented students who self-identify as Indigenous with Indigenous medallions to wear during convocation. The College first gave them out during 2022 Spring Convocation as a way for the students to display pride in their history and culture and to also acknowledge the graduates’ accomplishments.

For many graduates, convocation was an opportunity to mark the occasion with peers who have become friends.

The Humber Hawk mascot poses for a photo giving a thumb’s up with another person wearing a graduation gown.

Phillip Horemans graduated from the Building Construction Technician program. The mature student spoke about what a great collection of students in his class and how they welcomed and supported him.

“It was a wonderful group and this is a program I’d absolutely recommend to others,” said Horemans. “Being here today is important because it’s a lot of hard work coming to fruition.”

The convocation page has more information and links to rewatch the ceremonies.