This year, 430 students graduated from Lakehead University Orillia, with more than 240 proudly walking across the stage in front of family, friends and faculty during the campus convocation ceremony on June 9 at Rotary Place.

“Today is about celebrating and acknowledging the efforts of those who have completed one incredible journey and are about to begin another,” said Dr. Moira McPherson, interim president and vice-chancellor.

Chancellor Lyn McLeod used her closing remarks to graduates to remind them to maintain an enthusiasm for learning that was forged during their time at Lakehead.

“The world of our graduates is not the world I have lived and worked in — it is a world they will help to shape,” she said. “I am confident they will be open to new ideas and new approaches and become aware and engaged participants in their new environments.”

Bachelor of Education graduate Sabrina Cuzzupoli also addressed the graduating class as the Voice of Convocation.

“All of us graduating this morning have taken divergent paths to get here,” she told the graduates. “We all graduate today from different faculties, different passions and different perspectives. Though, we all leave here as accomplished individuals who have a mission to continue to better a world that is faced with many challenges.”

During the ceremony, Lakehead University also bestowed honorary awards to two outstanding individuals for their contribution to the university and community. Ecologist and conservationist, Deborah Martin-Downs, received an Honorary Doctor of Science. Lawyer and community leader Bruce Waite was presented with the Civitas Award for his support of the Orillia campus.

The university also presented three awards to students during the ceremony: Kevin Passafiume (Lloyd Dennis Award for Outstanding Citizenship – Orillia); April Ellen Scholz (Dean’s Scholar Awards for Science and Environmental Studies – Sustainability Studies); and Tammy Lyn Jane Rock (Dean’s Scholar Awards for Social Sciences and Humanities – Interdisciplinary Studies).

In all, this year, Lakehead University graduated 2,164 students from its Thunder Bay and Orillia campuses.

Photo: On the left, honorary degree recipient, Deborah Martin-Downs is pictured with Lakehead University Chancellor Lyn McLeod and Interim President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Moira McPherson before addressing graduates at convocation.