For graduates of York University, convocation is the culmination of their hard work as students and an important reminder of the possibilities that await them as they continue on their professional and personal journeys. It’s no wonder, then, how much preparation and work it takes to ensure that this celebration – a special moment for the students, their families and the York community – is a success. And without the tireless help of York’s convocation volunteers, that success would not be possible.
The more than 80 volunteers who did their part to pull off this year’s seamless spring and fall convocation ceremonies were celebrated at an afternoon tea on Nov. 3 in the Underground Restaurant.
“Convocation is the best event of the year for me and no doubt one of the proudest moments for our students and their loved ones,” said York President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. “But these events cannot happen without your hard work.”
This year’s spring and fall convocations saw more than 7,000 new graduates cross the stage to receive their diplomas, with nearly 35,000 guests in attendance, both in-person and online. In total, more than 14,000 students earned their degrees.
“These are 14,000 new households, 14,000 new careers, 14,000 new contributors to society,” said Shoukri. “Along with our nearly 300,000 other alumni currently living and working in more than 170 countries, these graduates are now on their way to building a better society and bringing the best of York to the world. No convocation I have ever seen comes even close to the quality of our convocation, a source of pride that could only be attributed to the incredible work you do.”
Chancellor Gregory Sorbara, a two-time York alumnus, was also on hand to revel in the important role that volunteers play, not only at convocation, but in general. “Convocation is like a complex engine with hundreds of moving parts, and it is the volunteers who make that engine work. It’s this volunteerism that serves as the backbone of our society, and it is only with the selfless passion and dedication of individuals like all of you that we are able to move forward and achieve extraordinary things,” said Sorbara.
Also celebrated was a new addition to this year’s convocation program – the Zoomph social projection. The technology encouraged graduates and guests to share their photos and well wishes using the #YorkUConvo hashtag in hopes of seeing it up on the big screen in the main hall. With hundreds of posts being shared during each of this year’s 18 convocation ceremonies, it was no doubt that the projection was a huge success.
Sheelagh Atkinson, the University’s associate director of events and ceremonials, closed the afternoon’s remarks by sharing her pride in York’s convocation program and the work of the volunteers. “The University has received a tremendous outpouring of praise from students and loved ones who delighted in their convocation experience – and that’s what this is all about,” she said. “With your help, we’ve created a moment that our graduates will never forget.”