London, ON – Brescia University College acknowledged the achievements of its graduates and graduands in a two-day celebration this past weekend. On Sunday June 12, 2011 Brescia held its 89th Baccalaureate ceremony and first-ever Magisterial service at St. Peter’s Basilica. On Monday June 13, 2011 Brescia students participated in an Alumnae Luncheon and outdoor Awards Ceremony before processing to Convocation at Western’s Alumni Hall.
The Baccalaureate and Magisterial Ceremony
The Baccalaureate Service is a long-standing tradition at Brescia University College and provides Brescia students, faculty, staff, and family members a chance to celebrate the success of its graduands before they convocate the next day. This year for the first time Brescia also honoured graduate students in the same ceremony. The service incorporated students who had earned post-graduate MSc degrees in Foods and Nutritional Sciences, so the name Magisterial was added to the ceremony. (A ceremony relating to, or characteristic of a Masters student.)
Laura Vandervet, a graduate from Brescia’s Masters in Foods and Nutritional Sciences program, was Brescia’s first-ever Magisterial speaker. Laura may not have realized the legacy she was leaving behind as she stood at the lectern to speak. She spoke of the Masters students’ collective experiences and ended on an inspirational note, “As women with strong voices and strong values we are in a unique position to support those who do not have the same resources we do. What we’ve learned here at Brescia is that in spite of our differences we are all connected. We leave here today bound by our shared experiences – accepting the fact that in order to see change in the world we must be leaders.”
Next to speak at the service was Natalie Symons. Natalie was the Class of 2011 Valedictorian. Natalie paid homage to her time at Brescia by outlining the challenges that every student faces and the ‘band-aids’ that Brescia provided along the way. She also encouraged her classmates to change the world, saying, “Although we have successfully completed another chapter in our life, there is still much work to be done. We are graduating into a world filled with opportunities but also faced with challenges. These challenges are complex in nature. Globally, poverty, war, and disease are at the roots of many battles our generation will be called on to fight. The good news is we leave Brescia privileged with the power and potential to make changes so that one day we too may see our own children walk across a stage such as this one.”
The Baccalaureate and Magisterial service was also the time that Dr. John Mitchell, Academic Dean, announced the Honor Society Members. They are: Alysha Christina Canton; Kelly-Ann Coxson; Kelly Louise Ferguson; Jemma Hunter; Rhiannon Elizabeth Lane; Elizabeth Catherine Leasa; and Stephanie Ouwehand.
Convocation Day Activities
On Monday June 13, 2011 the celebrations continued with a luncheon hosted by the Alumnae Association that welcomed over 500 students, parents, and friends. It was followed by an outdoor Awards Ceremony at Brescia University College.
The Awards Ceremony recognized those students who were top-achievers in their chosen areas of study. The Brescia University College Council of Trustees Gold Medal was awarded to Kathleen Larion. Kathleen had the highest standing in an Honors Program and she is currently waitlisted for a position at medical school. The Merici Award in Arts and Social Science was bestowed upon Nadia Maiolino. Nadia had the highest standing in an Honors Program in Arts and Social Science and earlier this year she attended the Ontario Universities Undergraduate Thesis Conference, where she gave a very well- received talk. The Sister Felicitas Award was awarded to Lyndsay Schouten for having the highest academic standing in a three-or-four program. She was described by her professors as thoughtful and challenging in her responses to her academic studies. The Foods and Nutrition Award went to Lisa Mannik. Lisa already has a Masters degree. In addition, she has done volunteer work with the Alzheimer’s Society, on a program called “Food for Thought.” Finally the first-ever Masters in Science Leadership Award, presented by Dr. Alicia Garcia, was given to Lauren Fleming. Lauren was nominated for the award based upon feedback from peers, faculty, and internship preceptors. She is described as a supportive leader both in academic and workplace environments.
The Awards Ceremony concluded with the presentation of Brescia University College’s Award for Excellence in Teaching earned this year by Dr. Leslie Janes. As a professor at Brescia for almost a decade Leslie was described by Dr. John Mitchell, Academic Dean, as a mentor and ‘role model.’ John says, “Dr. Janes continues to make a truly special contribution to the lives of our students and to the vibrancy of our Psychology program.”
Following the Awards Ceremony, Brescia’s graduates and graduands processed as a group to Convocation held at Western’s Alumni Hall. The procession was led by bagpiper, Eileen Robertson, followed by Brescia’s Registrar, Marianne Simm, and the 105 graduating students. All walked down Brescia Lane, cheered on by proud parents, faculty, and staff members, and friends.
As Dr. Colleen Hanycz, Brescia’s Principal, wished the graduates and graduands well she left them with a final parting word, “More than anything, I believe that through the enriched and close-knit environment you have experienced at Brescia, you have all learned those critical thinking skills that will be so valued wherever life leads you. You know how to think. You know how to read. You are good at reasoning and forming logical responses to problems and issues. You have developed strong analytical skills. You are good speakers and know the need for strong inter-personal relationships. And most of you have already learned how important it is to nurture the world around us through volunteer activities. Giving back is such an important issue when it comes to creating a successful tomorrow.”
For more information about Brescia’s Baccalaureate and Magisterial services or the Awards Ceremony please contact Jocelyn Lagerquist, Communications, Marketing & External Relations Officer at 519-432-8353 extension 28280 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brescia University College, Canada’s premier women’s university college, is affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. The 1,100 women registered as either full- or part-time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in Arts, Social Sciences, and Foods & Nutrition in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred, and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic College welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more information, please visit www.brescia.uwo.ca