Smiles were plentiful and the mood was celebratory as Humber College graduates and their loved ones attended Spring 2023 Convocation ceremonies.
The Humber community welcomed the more than 5,000 graduates who crossed the Toronto Congress Centre stage to receive a degree, diploma or certificate and become one of the College’s more than 300,000 alumni.
The 10 graduation ceremonies, held June 13 to June 16, were also livestreamed for those who were unable to attend.
“At graduation, you expect to receive advice – and this is mine for each of you,” said Humber President and CEO Ann Marie Vaughan. “Take the paths less travelled and be open to anything. Think about what you learned in your programs here at Humber, and your experiences and contributions in your courses and work placements – or maybe as a varsity athlete, club member, student or residence leader. Each of you has what it takes to navigate through unfamiliar territory, and you are strong enough to weather the storms that come your way.”
“It’s ok to fail. It’s ok to change course. And it’s ok to start over. At Humber, you learned to be flexible and resilient,” she continued. “Give yourself permission to not have all the answers today or the destination figured out yet.”
“Be proud of your accomplishments”
Graphic Design for Print and Web graduate Nagwa Ahmed joked that the “third time was the charm” when it came to finally attending a convocation ceremony. Ahmed had to miss two previous graduations at other post-secondary institutions but was thrilled to be at Humber’s ceremony.
“For me, today is a huge deal,” said Ahmed, who added her family in Saudi Arabia couldn’t attend in person but were watching the livestream. “I’ve done it – I’ve graduated and I’m ready for the next chapter. I did always want to attend one of these ceremonies and see what it felt like.”
Faculty of Social & Community Services professor Natalie Snow has a unique perspective on convocation as she is a graduate of the Bachelor of Social Science – Criminal Justice program and is now teaching it as well. It was her first time at convocation as a professor.
“I think I’m just as excited as the students,” said Snow, who has attended five of her own graduation ceremonies previously. “Convocation is a time to celebrate and really be proud of your accomplishments.”
Snow has fond memories of her Humber graduation and how her niece was waiting for her with a big bouquet of flowers. She still has a photo of the moment and hopes that the current crop of graduates will make special memories of their own.
Areeba Shahzad, who graduated from the Business Management program, wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to attend college at first but was glad she did as she found the Humber experience rewarding. Shahzad said the College’s environment and the professors made the program fun and engaging.
“It feels kind of unreal today because now I’ve actually graduated,” said Shahzad.
General Arts and Science program graduate Veronika Szymczak thanked her mother, father and boyfriend for their love and support throughout her studies.
“They always supported me and when I had a moment where I felt like maybe I couldn’t do it, they reassured me and that really helped and made me want to do my best,” said Szymczak. “I’m feeling pretty proud right now. I actually didn’t think I would go to college, but I’ve shown myself I’m definitely capable of more than I thought.”
Honour song played for graduates
During convocation ceremonies, a video was played featuring the Ninjiichaag Drum Group, who are all members of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, performing an honour song to recognize the Humber graduates and their accomplishments. Jason Seright, Humber’s vice-president of Inclusion and Belonging, has said that the song is played on special occasions by Indigenous peoples to pay tribute to individuals.
“We see you, we honour you and we celebrate you today,” Seright told graduates.
Humber also presented students who self-identify as Indigenous with Indigenous medallions to wear during convocation.
Jiaye Qu graduated from the Pharmacy Technician program and was joined at convocation by her husband and daughter. Qu gave birth during her studies and said Humber and her professors allowed her to defer her work placement by a year, which was a big help during that time. The mature student now holds three post-secondary credentials.
Humber bestowed several honorary degrees as part of this year’s ceremonies. The recipients of Humber honorary degrees are inspiring Canadians who have made their mark in the fields of business, arts and culture, and education. Find out who is part of this group, along with a list of past recipients, by visiting the Convocation webpage.