Vancouver Community College (VCC) was proud to celebrate the hard work and achievements of 1,663 graduates in a convocation ceremony at Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Tuesday, June 28.
Following numerous online ceremonies held during the COVID-19 pandemic, the college community was thrilled to attend this first in-person convocation event since Fall 2019.
To open the ceremony, graduands and guests were treated to processional music by the Coastal Wolf Pack (Tsatsu Stalqayu) while VCC Elder in Residence Deanna George welcomed everyone the to traditional xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territories.
In another special moment, Squamish artist Aaron Nelson-Moody, (Tawx’sin Yexwulla/Splashing Eagle) unveiled VCC’s new Indigenous-designed podium representing decolonization of the concept of “lectern.” Consisting of three figures representing traditional talking sticks supporting a circular top, reflective of the talking circle, it reminds us of the importance and value of everyone’s voice.
This particular group of grads represents many unique achievements, as most students completed their full programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another milestone celebrated quietly by the VCC community during pandemic restrictions was the installation of Ajay Patel as college president in Spring 2020. To finally share this occasion with the community, VCC Board of Governors Vice Chair Libby Davies presented Ajay with VCC’s presidential regalia while the official ceremony video played.
In his own address, Ajay expressed admiration for the diversity of this graduating class and offered some heartfelt encouragement.
“Like many of you, I am an immigrant to Canada. I understand the challenges and sacrifices you made to get here. My grandfather gave me advice that I live by to this day. He said, ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression, but make sure that first impression is the real you.’ Trust that the real you is more than good enough.”
Valedictorian and Culinary Arts grad Joy Rudder shared her own story of overcoming hesitation and fear in changing careers later in life, crediting VCC’s warm and welcoming faculty for her success.
“I’d stepped into a world that was so extremely positive! It came as a surprise. The world outside is not usually like this. But here was a world of possibilities with everyone intent on making sure I would succeed – and not just me, but every student who signed on, whatever their field of study and training.”
Valedictorian and Culinary Arts grad Joy Rudder and VCC's new talking-circle podium
Degrees, diplomas, and certificates were awarded to the following areas:
Missed the event or want to relive the moments? Watch the full ceremony here.
Congratulations to our VCC grads! Learn about the perks and benefits you now receive as VCC alumni.