Event celebrates all 2020 graduates

On Sunday, November 1, Mount Saint Vincent University held its first virtual convocation ceremony celebrating both spring and fall 2020 graduates.

The event recognized the academic achievements of almost a thousand students from more than 30 countries. These students have officially achieved their degrees, diplomas and certificates in arts, science, education, and professional programs and become part of MSVU’s network of more than 34,000 alumni worldwide.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the cancellation of in-person convocation ceremonies this year, MSVU made sure to celebrate the significant accomplishments of its 2020 graduates.

“Our graduates have shown incredible resilience as they’ve navigated, and continue to navigate, one of the most challenging times the world has faced in recent history. We want to do everything we can to show our enormous pride and appreciation,” said Dr. Mary Bluechardt, President and Vice-Chancellor. “Through our online convocation broadcast, on-campus parchment and grad gown pick up opportunity, and delivery of special graduate celebration boxes, our aim was to create as memorable a celebration as possible this fall.”

Honorary degree recipients

MSVU bestowed honorary degrees on three notable trailblazers this fall: Anne Innis Dagg, CM, BA (Hons), MA, PhD, Hon DSc, Anna Maria Tremonti, BA (Hons), Hon LLD, and Lynn Jones, BA, Hon D Hum

“Through immeasurable impact in their respective fields, each of this fall’s honorary degree recipients has enlightened and transformed our world. We proudly celebrate their work as women leaders,” said President Bluechardt.

Dr. Anne Innis Dagg is a pioneering zoologist and biologist, animal rights activist and feminist who has received worldwide recognition for her work on giraffes. Anna Maria Tremonti is a long-time investigative journalist who has travelled Canada and the world in pursuit of transformative stories. Dr. Lynn Jones is a Black Nova Scotian educator, community historian, civil and human rights activist, and labour leader. (bios/additional photos)

Each of the honorary degree recipients delivered an inspiring speech to the graduates during the virtual ceremony.

Student Awards

Valedictorian Prizes for significant contributions to extracurricular activities at MSVU and in the community-at-large were awarded to:

  • Tess Spencer, Bacherlor of Arts, Hamilton, Bermuda (Fall graduate)
  • Emily Wright, Bachelor of Science (Honours), Hampton, NB (Spring graduate)
  • Abbie Hodder, Bachelor of Business Administration (Co-operative Education), Mineville, NS (Spring graduate
  • Shannon Davis, Master of Education, Sandys Parish, Bermuda (Spring graduate)
  • Greg Pretty, Master of Education, Halifax, NS (Fall graduate)

Their full speeches can be viewed on the Virtual Convocation page.

The President’s Prize, awarded to graduates whose generosity, energy and commitment enriches the university, was presented to:

  • Nahal Fakhari, Bachelor of Arts (Child and Youth Study) Honours, Halifax, NS (Spring graduate)
  • Emily DeMille Wright, Bachelor of Science (Honours), Hampton, NB (Spring graduate)

The Governor General’s Medal is presented once per year for the highest aggregate in the final three years of a degree program (undergraduate) and to the top graduating Master’s student:

  • Emily DeMille Wright, Bachelor of Science (Honours), Hampton, NB (Undergraduate award) (Spring graduate)
  • Lynne M. MacKinnon, Master of Education (conferred November 2019), Halifax, NS (Graduate award) (Spring graduate)

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

  • Shannon Power, Bachelor of Education (Secondary Education), Halifax, NS (Spring graduate)
  • Jenna Ryan Stewart, Bachelor of Arts, Moncton, NB (Spring graduate)
  • Marissa Claire Wilmot, Bachelor of Public Relations (Co-operative Education Route), Dartmouth, NS (Spring graduate)
  • Alishia Berthelet, Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Bedford, NS (Fall graduate)
  • Manila Tanafranca, Master of Arts in Family Studies and Gerontology, Calgary, AB (Fall graduate)

The Graduate Thesis Award is presented to a student who has completed a thesis of exceptional quality including evidence of well-developed, independent research skills and contribution to his/her academic discipline. The recipient is:

  • Manila Tanafranca, Master of Arts in Family Studies and Gerontology, Calgary, AB (Fall graduate)

Faculty recognition

Professor Emeritus

  • Dr. Brook Taylor, former Dean of Arts & Science at MSVU and Professor of History

Teaching Excellence Awards

  • President and Vice Presidents’ Advanced Career Teaching Award: Dr. Alla Kushniryk, Associate Professor, Communication Studies
  • Alumni Early Career Teaching Award: Dr. Krista Ritchie, Assistant Professor, Education
  • Alumni Part-time Teaching Award: Laurie Reed, Physics

Research Awards

  • Research Excellence Award: Dr. Derek Fisher, Associate Professor in the Psychology Department and Interim Associate Vice President Research
  • Early Career Research Award: Dr. Diane Piccitto, Associate Professor in the Department of English