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Largest graduation class highlights 2017 Convocation

University’s alumni base expands to more than 16,000

The university's 2017 Convocation ceremonies were held June 8 and 9 at the Tribute Communities Centre in downtown Oshawa.
The university's 2017 Convocation ceremonies were held June 8 and 9 at the Tribute Communities Centre in downtown Oshawa.

Cheers and applause echoed through the Tribute Communities Centre as the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s largest-ever graduating class crossed the stage during Convocation 2017.

During four ceremonies over two days, approximately 2,200 graduates received their degrees. In addition to bachelor’s degrees, the university conferred more than 260 graduate student degrees, 27 of them PhDs.

Since opening in 2003, the university has conferred more than 16,000 degrees to graduates who are making a difference and driving innovation in Durham Region, Northumberland County and, in many cases, around the world.

Among new milestones this year for the university: the Faculty of Science celebrated the first graduate of its Astrophysics program, and the Faculty of Business and Information Technology (FBIT) awarded its first graduate diplomas in Accounting.

Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) graduate Hannah Preston, now a student in FBIT’s graduate diploma in Accounting program, won the FBIT faculty medal for academic achievement (highest cumulative grade point average (GPA) in required courses). Preston also won the Governor General’s Silver Medal for highest cumulative GPA across all faculties.

“Convocation was an incredibly exciting day to reflect on my time at the university and the many great opportunities and experiences gained throughout my program,” says Preston. “I have grown as a professional and a person. Walking across the stage with so many bright and talented friends and colleagues was the best way to celebrate everything I have achieved.”  

2017 honorary degrees and citation links

The university also presented four honorary degrees to outstanding Canadians in recognition of their leadership and contributions to society. Individually and collectively, the recipients exemplify the type of citizen leadership the university aims to instil in all graduates.

  • Ms. Jeanette Southwood, Vice-President, Strategy and Partnerships at Engineers Canada, for her career as an award‑winning engineer and a leader in the engineering consulting sector.
  • Ms. Shirlee Sharkey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Saint Elizabeth Health Care, for her career as a trusted health-services administrator, social innovator and registered nurse, and her breakthrough leadership in community-based health-care excellence.
  • The Honourable Sarabjit Marwah, Member of the Senate of Canada and former Vice-Chair and Chief Operating Officer of Scotiabank, for his career as a Canadian banking executive, his leadership of non-profit organizations, and his championship of social inclusion in all arenas.
  • Elder Shirley Williams, Professor Emerita, Trent University, for her outstanding achievement in post‑secondary education pedagogy, her advocacy of Indigenous language teaching and her ongoing inspirational community leadership.