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Diploma is a ‘pledge to do your best’: André Picard

Loyalist College President and CEO Maureen Piercy, Author and award-winning journalist André Picard, and Loyalist College Board Chair June Hagerman

Loyalist College President and CEO Maureen Piercy, Author and award-winning journalist André Picard, and Loyalist College Board Chair June Hagerman

Loyalist College has completed four ceremonies for the 49th Annual Convocation in Belleville Thursday and Friday, welcoming 1,887 students to the Loyalist Alumni.

Thursday morning, 490 students in the School of Health, Human and Justice Studies graduated with advanced diplomas, diplomas, and certificates. In addition, 34 students in the Brock-Loyalist Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing program were recognized for completing years one and two at the College. They will receive their BScN degree at Brock University after completing years three and four at Brock.

Chair of the Loyalist Board of Governors, June Hagerman welcomed graduates, families and friends and guest speaker André Picard, a health columnist at The Globe & Mail and author of four books, including, The Path to Health Care Reform: Policies and Politics.

Picard has received acclaim for his writing, including the Michener Prize for Meritorious Public Service Journalism and the Hyman Solomon Prize for Public Policy Journalism. He is an eight-time finalist for the National Newspaper Award, Canada’s Pulitzer Prize and a recipient of the Centennial Prize of the Pan-American Health Organization, as the top health journalist in the 17 countries of the Americas.

“The very best medicine you can offer your patients is a listening ear. The very best treatment you can offer them is a compassionate heart,” said Picard. “The diploma that you’re going to receive is not just a piece of paper. It’s a pledge – a pledge to do your best for patients every single day. Honour it. Honour yourself. The health system needs you. We need you – now more than ever.”

He was presented with an honorary diploma, the college’s highest academic tribute.

The Herbert & Ruth Young Scholarship Award was presented to Child and Youth Worker graduate Shelley Leanne Ayres, of Paris, Ontario for outstanding academic achievements and participation in Loyalist College life. The award is presented annually in recognition of Herbert Young who was the President of Loyalist College from 1970–1988.

In the afternoon, Loyalist celebrated the success of graduates from the schools of health, Human and Justic Studies and the School of Applied Sciences, Skills and Technology.

Television personality and HGTV renovation expert Damon Bennett addressed those at the afternoon convocation.

Bennett lends his expertise to home owners and DIY’ers across North America with instructional keynote presentations and runs a construction company, building and renovating homes.

“I encourage you, no matter what career you’ve chosen, to make this world a better place,” he said. “Volunteer, help your neighbours, and make a difference,” Bennett said. “Being human is a wonderful experience. Being human is kindness, love, appreciation, giving, courage and compassion. Without these things we would have a very bleak future… You’ve started a wonderful journey with Loyalist College that will help prepare you for the years ahead.”

Bennett was presented with an honorary diploma.

Loyalist President and CEO Maureen Piercy, left, and Mrs. Donna O’Neil, right, presented Mr. Stephen Gaskin, a 1985 graduate of the Real Estate Assessment, Appraisal and Management program at Loyalist, with the Hugh P. O’Neil Outstanding Alumni Award

Stephen Gaskin, Senior Vice-President, Ontario Region, Scotiabank delivered the third of four convocation addresses Friday morning to 374 graduates in the School of Applied Sciences, Skills and Technology and School of Business.

“One of your best character traits in this new economy is going to be your ability to be adaptable to changing circumstances,” said Gaskin. “I encourage you to be positive. Never give up. Don’t be afraid to change direction or chart a new course. Whatever you decide to do, don’t just be good at it – be great at it. Accept and learn from inevitable failures along the way, and be resilient to the one constant we all experience – change. I am a proud alumnus of this College. I know you will represent this institution well. You will take pride in now calling yourselves Alumni of Loyalist College.”

Gaskin, a 1985 graduate of the Real Estate Assessment, Appraisal and Management program at Loyalist, was also presented with the Hugh P. O’Neil Outstanding Alumni Award by Donna O’Neil, and College President and CEO Maureen Piercy.

Stephen Gaskin, a 1985 graduate of the Real Estate Assessment, Appraisal and Management program at Loyalist, was also presented with the Hugh P. O’Neil Outstanding Alumni Award by Donna O’Neil, and College President and CEO Maureen Piercy.

Chair of the Loyalist Board of Governors June Hagerman presented Gaskin with an Honorary Diploma, the college’s highest academic tribute. Gaskin, a 1985 graduate of the Real Estate Assessment, Appraisal and Management program at Loyalist, was also presented with the Hugh P. O’Neil Outstanding Alumni Award by Donna O’Neil, and College President and CEO Maureen Piercy.

Piercy welcomed the graduates to Loyalist alumni – a about 40,000 strong.

“I am also a proud Loyalist graduate and I am always impressed with the fact that Loyalist grads are everywhere, contributing to their professions and their communities.”

Loyalist Student Government President Heather Williams, on behalf of all Loyalist College students, for her many contributions to the College over the last 11.5 years as President.

Loyalist Student Government President Heather Williams, on behalf of all Loyalist College students, thanked President and CEO Marueen Piercy for her many contributions to the College over the last 11.5 years. This was her final convocation ceremony before retiring.

Loyalist President and CEO Maureen Piercy, participating in her final Convocation as President and CEO prior to her retirement, was recognized and thanked by Loyalist Student Government President Heather Williams, on behalf of all Loyalist College students, for her many contributions to the College over the last 11.5 years as President.

At the final ceremony, Friday afternood, Cogeco Connexion President and CEO Louise St-Pierre addressed the School of Media, Arts + Design and the School of Continuing Education following the presentation of 609 advanced diplomas, diplomas and certificates and 179 certificates to graduates in the School of Media, Arts + Design and the School of Continuing Education.

St-Pierre, in 2015, was named among Canada’s Most Powerful Women and received a Top 100 Award by Women’s Executive Network (WXN).

“Curiosity and continuous learning helps us foster our unique identities while learning about, and respecting the unique identities of others,” she said. “It feeds our ability to be creative and to adapt to this beautifully diverse and ever-changing world we live in. Information is at our fingertips and flows exponentially from one tweet to another. More than ever, we have great potential to gain profound knowledge about so many things from so many people. Whether we access information or content through television or Internet, it is our ability to stay connected, to communicate, and to collaborate that will allow our society to continue to advance through innovation.”

She encouraged graduating students, “to aim at a job that won’t make you feel like you are working. Love what you do. My wish for each of you is that the opportunities and challenges that you learn from will also enrich your life with passion and a sense of purpose.”

She also received an Honorary Diploma, in recognition of her distinguished career.

President Piercy, participating in her final convocation prior to her retirement, was recognized and thanked for her many contributions to the College over the last 11.5 years. A presentation was also made by Loyalist Student Government President Heather Williams, on behalf of all Loyalist College students.

“As president of the current Student Government, I know that we have a wonderful history of incredible support and commitment from President Piercy – and we want to recognize and thank her for her focus on our wellbeing and success as individuals during our years as students, and following graduation as we start our careers.”

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