“If there’s a lesson we can learn from missing out on so many things over these last couple of strange, wacky years, it is to please show up. Show up and celebrate whenever you can.”
– Greg Pretty, MEd, Student Speaker
Convocation ceremonies are a rite of passage. But for many who graduated during the COVID-19 pandemic, they were among the life celebrations put on pause.
Universities worked hard to replace these missed moments with creative alternatives. At MSVU, we delivered graduation celebrations in a box, hosted parchment pick-up events with the President, and showcased our grads in celebratory videos. And while we knew that marking each pandemic graduation was important, we also knew that nothing could replace crossing the convocation stage to cheers from classmates, family and friends.
On May 25, 2022, MSVU made sure that each pandemic graduate who wanted that moment could have it.
Hosted by the MSV Alumni Association, in partnership with the MSVU Convocation Committee, our “Graduation Re-Do” celebration invited graduates from the spring and fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021 back to the Seton Auditorium for a celebration just for them. It featured all of the usual convocation trimmings: a processional set to celebratory live music, inspirational addresses from the podium, individual graduate moments on stage, and photo ops galore.
Greg Pretty, a familiar face to many at MSVU as a long-time staff member and instructor, graduated with a Master of Education degree in Lifelong Learning in the fall 2020. He was named the valedictorian for his virtual ceremony that year, and delivered the student address to graduates at the “re-do” event.
“If there’s a lesson we can learn from missing out on so many things over these last couple of strange, wacky years, it is to please show up,” he said. “Show up and celebrate whenever you can. Acknowledge each other and be willing to acknowledge yourself, because we don’t always want to do that… Attend ceremonies. Be part of every rite of passage that’s available to you, and partake in those little rituals. They form our social circles, and they tie the fabric of our cultures together.”
Retired Judge Corrine (Connie) Sparks also addressed the graduates. Connie holds a BA from MSVU and recently received an honorary degree from the university. “Success belongs to each one of you today,” she said. “And so we extol your educational accomplishments and we know most assuredly that education provides a solid foundation and can be the key to a successful life. Each of you should savour and delight in your academic and educational reward.”
Said MSVU Interim President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Sheila Brown, “The past few years have brought challenges, triumphs, and self-discovery. Be proud of all that you have accomplished during one of the most difficult periods in our history – you have proven that you are capable of more than you had likely ever imagined.”