Mount Saint Vincent University celebrated more than 675 graduates from 24 countries during its spring convocation ceremonies on May 16 and 17, 2024.

Students crossed the stage from arts, science, education, and professional programs to accept a range of 35 certificates, diplomas and degrees and join a global network of alumni more than 39,000 strong.

In her address, MSVU President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Joël Dickinson celebrated the power of MSVU graduates to change the world. She called on them to see strength in difference and prioritize kindness while seeking to remove barriers for others.

“Let’s put kindness first. A cliché I know, and something you’ve probably heard before. But I mean it. Our world needs kind people now more than ever. We don’t just need tolerance, we need acceptance. We need empathy and compassion. We need allyship,” said Dr. Dickinson.

Honorary degree recipients

The Honourable Paula A. Cox, speaking at the 2024 Spring ConvocationDuring spring 2024 convocation, MSVU bestowed the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, on the Honourable Paula A. Cox, CBE, JP and Michelle Douglas.

Former Bermuda Premier Cox and 2SLGBTQI+ activist Michelle Douglas have both broken down barriers for equity-denied groups through public service and community leadership. They’ve each had a far-reaching impact on the lives of others and on society broadly.

In her address to graduates, the Honourable Paula A. Cox reflected on what she described as “a global election season” as many around the world are feeling uncertain and fearful because of a number of overlapping issues. Describing MSVU as a “drum major for justice,” she called on the graduates to be innovative, unwavering and principled in their pursuit of the same. And she reminded them that each of them has the capacity for greatness.

“We are living through a period of grave crisis. We live at a time when what is up seems down and what is down seems up. And we live when there is still much injustice. … [But] through our collective efforts we can move from panic to purpose, from chaos to calm, from turbulence to triumph,” she said.

Honorary Degree recipient Michelle Douglas, speaking at the 2024 Spring Convocation ceremonyMichelle Douglas spoke of being honorably discharged from the Canadian military in 1989 because she was deemed “not advantageously employable, due to homosexuality.” She’s been fighting for the rights of 2SGLBTQIA+ people ever since. She reminded graduates of the need to take risks and the importance of allyship.

“When you’re feeling safe in your circumstance, you should look up and around and wonder who else needs your help and be that ally. … Change doesn’t happen by itself. Each person here is called upon to contribute to the type of world that you want to see in the ways you are best suited,” Michelle said.

Student prizes

Valedictorian Morgan Hussey, speaking at the podiumThe Valedictorian Prize for significant contributions to extracurricular activities at MSVU and in the community-at-large was awarded to:

Valedictorian Winny Liang, speaking at the podium.The President’s Prize, awarded to graduates whose generosity, energy, and commitment enrich the university, was presented to:

  • Jillian Mozvik, Bachelor of Science, Halifax, NS
  • Ailish Sullivan, Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) Honours, Florence, NS
  • Milena Pimentel, Bachelor of Arts (Child and Youth Study) Honours, Bermuda

Membership to Kappa Gamma Pi, the National Catholic College Graduate Honor Society, is based on scholarship, leadership, and service, and was presented to:

  • Sarah Haggett, Bachelor of Science (Psychology) Honours, Halifax, NS
  • Nicole Cox, Bachelor of Science (Chemistry), Halifax, NS
  • Jordyn Riou, Bachelor of Arts (Child and Youth Study) Honours, Yellowknife, NT

Valedictorian Stephanie Fernandes, speaking at the podium

The Governor general’s medal is presented once per year for the highest aggregate in the final three years of a degree program, and was presented to:

  • Emma MacPhee, Bachelor of Science (Psychology), Sydney, NS

Faculty awards

Professor Emeritus
The title of professor emeritus is bestowed on retiring faculty who have demonstrated sustained and continued involvement in furthering significant aspects of the university’s mission. This spring, MSVU celebrated three professors with this special recognition:

  • Dr. Katherine Darvesh, Chemistry
  • Dr. Reina Green, English
  • Dr. Donovan Plumb, Education

Teaching Excellence Awards
MSVU’s Teaching Excellence Awards recognize instructors who stand out for their effectiveness and their passion for fostering student learning. This year’s recipients are:

  • Dr. Christine Doe, Education – President and Vice-Presidents’ Advanced Career Teaching Award
  • Dr. Nicholous Deal, Business & Tourism – Alumni Early Career Teaching Award
  • Dr. Reem Abuzaytoun, Applied Human Nutrition – Alumni Part-Time Teaching Award