For the first time since 2019, Western’s graduating students will once again convene with classmates and faculty, friends and family at Alumni Hall to cross the stage and receive their degrees and diplomas.
In-person convocation returns with a series of ceremonies June 13 to 24 celebrating the Class of 2022. Approximately 8,000 students are graduating this spring, joining approximately 330,000 Western alumni in 160 countries around the world.
Graduates from 2020 and 2021 who had virtual celebrations due to COVID-19 restrictions have the opportunity to attend in-person ceremonies on campus July 4 to 8 or at a future convocation.
“We are thrilled that our students will cross the convocation stage once again and celebrate this important milestone with their loved ones in attendance,” said Florentine Strzelczyk, provost and vice-president (academic). “I join the Western community in congratulating the spring Class of 2022, who have accomplished so much despite the challenges of the pandemic. And we look forward to welcoming back our 2020 and 2021 graduates for their in-person celebrations in July.”
A total of 20 spring 2022 convocation ceremonies will be held on campus this month. During these events, Western will confer honorary degrees upon 18 outstanding individuals. Monday’s convocation kick-off follows Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s in-person graduation ceremony on June 3 for the 169 MD graduates in the school’s Class of 2022.
A special, Indigenous graduation was held in March to celebrate Indigenous students graduating this spring, with each student feted individually in an in-person ceremony.
Rooted in tradition and history, convocation is a pivotal milestone in the life of a university student and an opportunity to celebrate achievements with peers and loved ones. Here are just some of the highlights:
Banner occasion: The convocation stage is adorned with banners, or gonfalons, designed and stitched by the members of the Canadian Embroiderers’ Guild, London approximately 40 years ago. The project involved 50 of the Guild’s members and took two years to complete. Western President George Pederson (1985 to 1994) initiated the creation of the banners upon his arrival at Western. Designs and symbols for the faculty banners were suggested by the dean of each respective faculty or school, and the hood colours for degrees offered by the unit are incorporated in the banner design. The banners of the affiliated university colleges carry the Coat of Arms of each, and the banner depicting Western’s coat of arms is dedicated to Pedersen.
Indigenous aspects: A student representative will carry the Indigenous gonfalon and bronzed moccasins during the academic procession. The gonfalon honours Indigenous diversity, identity and leadership at Western, and includes elements representing core beliefs that resonate with many Indigenous epistemologies. The moccasins honour those children whose remains continue to be recovered at residential school sites across Turtle Island, children who never had the chance to grow and experience a university education.
Musical moments: Western’s Convocation Brass, started by professor Ken Bray in 1983 and today led by musical director and Don Wright Faculty of Music lecturer Shawn Spicer, will play pieces selected from an eclectic list that includes ABBA and Pixar medleys, We Don’t Talk About Bruno (Lin Manuel Miranda), Africa (Toto), the 1980 Olympic theme song, and Jesu Joy (Bach).
An alumni welcome: Following each ceremony, graduates and their guests are invited to the Mustang Lounge (University Community Centre) for a Western Alumni reception, where they will receive their class pin and enjoy refreshments. New grads are also encouraged to take advantage of Purple Perks, exclusive to Western alumni.
Tune in from anywhere: Western’s Convocation 2022 website provides a one-stop-shop for new grads. Those unable to join the in-person ceremonies can watch the celebrations livestreamed from Alumni Hall. Social media posts, with hashtag #WesternClassof2022, will also be shared on this site.
Pandemic protocols: All convocation attendees, including guests of graduates, must follow Western’s vaccination and masking policies.