Dozens of volunteers who helped pull off a seamless Spring Convocation were feted recently at an appreciation lunch in their honour.
“Convocation is the best event of the year for me,” said York President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri in his remarks to the volunteers. “But these events cannot happen without your hard work.”
This year’s Spring Convocation saw 6,281 students cross the stage to receive their diplomas, with about 35,000 guests in total. More than 8,000 students earned their degrees.
“These are 8,000 new potential households, 8,000 new careers, 8,000 new contributors to society. We at York are really in the business of strengthening Canadian society and building a better world,” said Shoukri. “No convocation I have ever seen comes even close to the quality of convocations at York University. This is another source of pride for me…. This pride is certainly due to the incredible work you do.”
York University Chancellor Greg Sorbara extolled the virtues and necessity of volunteers. “The world, the country, the province, the city works on the energy of volunteers,” he said. “The way in which we organize our society depends fundamentally on people volunteering their time and their energy to make good things happen… For me this convocation made my heart swell.”
York convocation, like many events, can only take place because people volunteer their time, he added.
Some 85 people from across the University volunteered their time to make this convocation a success. That, said Vice-President Advancement Jeff O’Hagan, is the most volunteers to date and included many new ones. He figures together they worked about 700 volunteer hours.
“Convocation is one of the most exciting times of the year for many of us,” said O’Hagan. “It’s one of the most important things we do at the University and it also requires an enormous amount of effort. The success of the event wouldn’t be possible without you.”
As a student on the receiving end of all that work volunteers gave this June, alumnus Umar Khan told the volunteers that “there wasn’t a single person who had the pleasure of being at one of the 13 ceremonies who didn’t appreciate what you all did and, furthermore, wasn’t impressed by the level of kindness they received.” Khan received his honours bachelor degree from the Law and Society Program at one of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies ceremonies.
“It is often said that volunteerism is the backbone of a community and I think it is true of our wonderful community here at York University as well,” said Khan. “Further, I think volunteers are a central tenant behind the entire institution of the historical and prestigious convocation event. Volunteers are both invaluable and indispensable.”
Khan thanked the volunteers for their hard work. He was in awe of their professionalism and their kindness. “You all managed to treat the first graduate with the same level of respect and kindness and the same life-lasting experience as the last graduate. This deserves recognition.”
The theme of this year’s Convocation Appreciation Luncheon was “you’re a star,” with volunteers being given the royal treatment.