Ceremony highlights unique interests of academic achievers
Students, faculty, staff, family and friends gathered on the evening of April 11th to the celebrate the academic accomplishments of many Mount students at the annual academic awards.
“I’m glad we have an event devoted to academics,” explained DeNel Rehburg Sedo, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies, before presenting the Dr. Patrick O’Neill Award in Public Speaking to Erika Murray, a student in the Bachelor of Public Relations program. “This gives us an opportunity to recognize the achievements of our students and what they have been able to accomplish throughout the year.”
Although students were recognized for academic excellence, the award presentations made clear that GPA and academic projects were but one piece of the bigger picture. Many faculty and instructors who introduced each award were eager to mention the passions that shaped each student outside of the classroom. It became clear that the Mount’s small class sizes had created an environment in which students and their professors developed a relationship that went beyond curriculum.
These relationships were reflected in countless spirited introductions, including that of Chantal Boudreau, winner of the Dr. Mary Shoeneberger Education Prize, who is also a well-loved volunteer at the Discovery Centre. Associate Professor in Economics Nargess Kayhani, praised Bachelor of Science (Honours) student Bill Kidney for his near perfect GPA in Macro and Microeconomics, pointing out his dual life as a musician, and his love of playing the guitar to relax.
As student after student journeyed to centre-stage, being recognized for their individual stories of accomplishment, it became evident that class marks were only a small part of what made them part of something big.
“Abbey (Ferguson) has exceptional marks, but more importantly, she lives what she learns,” explained Dr. Mallika Das after presenting Ferguson with the Certificate of Outstanding Performance in Women’s Studies 1110. “Brenda Hattie, another faculty member in the Department of Women’s Studies, put Abbey’s name forward without a second thought. When we checked her records, it was no surprise she stood out. Abbey’s grades are a reflection of the passion she has for women’s rights.”
The diverse interests of students were celebrated as integral to their overall success.
“Angela (Muise) once told me, ‘I’ve rarely said no to any opportunity to be involved in the Mount community,’” grinned Karen Blotnicky, Associate Professor of Marketing in the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management. “That attitude is why she’s here today.”
As the evening continued, the conversations became more and more focused on the years to come. Some first year students were already talking excitedly about further studies as masters or doctoral degree students; other students were observed looking around the room with nostalgic smiles.
Although their paths will lead them in different directions, both students and their instructors understood that they had been, and will continue to be part of something big.