Convocation 2021 collage
Celebrating the Graduating Class of 2021
June 30, 2021

June marks an important milestone for Ontario’s university graduates — the culmination of years of hard work and dedication through the celebration of convocation.

While this time of year is typically filled with in-person celebrations with family and loved ones, students and universities across the province have demonstrated innovation and invention, as they mark the occasion through livestreamed ceremonies, mail-out graduation packages and an array of digital activities over social media.

Below is a snapshot of some of the special moments taking place across the province to celebrate and commemorate the graduating class of 2021.

Notable leaders within the community shared heartfelt messages of congratulations to this year’s graduating class, recognizing the hard work and determination, particularly during the last year.

Members of the Raptors, Maple Leafs, Argonauts and Toronto FC shared a special message of congratulations to the graduating class of 2021 with words of encouragement and admiration: “Your hard work during these challenging times have not gone unnoticed.” – Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors

Algoma University celebrated and honoured the academic achievements of the 2021 graduating class during a virtual Convocation celebration, recognizing more than 400 graduates, as well as distinguished faculty and community leaders.

Brock University’s 109th convocation went live as an online portal with nearly 3,300 students having their degrees conferred. In 48 countries around the world, thousands of Brock students, celebrated with friends and family virtually through the online portal, which included keynote addresses from Brock University President, Gervan Fearon, and Chancellor, Hilary Pearson, along with video messages and greetings from student leaders, Deans and others.

As the Carleton University community celebrated their new graduates, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent his congratulations and words of advice to more than 6,000 members of Carleton’s class of 2021.

While celebrating with family and friends in person would have been the first choice for many University of Guelph graduates, a few lucky ones were surprised when they joined a Zoom call with freestyle rapper Harry Mack, who shared a celebratory rap for the graduating class of 2021.

Even though this year’s graduates from Lakehead University weren’t able to celebrate with their classmates in person, they were able to take part through a celebration toolkit. From Instagram filters to Zoom backgrounds, graduates could easily showcase their Lakehead U pride.

Graduates at Laurentian University celebrated this achievement through a virtual ceremony that was streamed live on YouTube. As an added bonus, those who were unable to make the livesteam could re-watch any of the graduation ceremonies through a helpful YouTube playlist.

Since convocation is traditionally a time of celebration with family and friends, McMaster University developed Convocation Kudoboards as a way for members of the community to share a congratulatory video or message to the graduating class of 2021.

Special messages have come from the Nipissing University community, celebrating the 1,400 students graduating this year, including the City of North Bay’s Mayor, Al McDonald, who recorded a congratulatory video recognizing their achievements and shared words of wisdom and encouragement for the next chapter in their lives.

This year, OCAD University is celebrating the outstanding work and achievements of their graduates through GradEx 106, a free public outdoor showcase and poster exhibition series hosted at 10 sites throughout the campus, highlighting the work of more than 160 recent graduates.

Since last year’s graduating class at Ontario Tech was unable to celebrate at a formal ceremony due to the pandemic, the university is celebrating both the graduating class of 2020 and 2021 through a virtual ceremony, including digital versions of ceremony stages, photo booths, receptions and more.

Graduates at the University of Ottawa celebrated with family, friends and classmates virtually this year, sharing their #uOgrad experience over social media with customized photo backgrounds, GIPHY stickers, Instagram templates and Facebook profile picture frames.

Queen’s University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Patrick Deane, addressed the entire graduating class virtually, offering congratulations to graduates and highlighting their achievements and perseverance in the face of challenges posed by COVID-19.

Graduates from Ryerson University weren’t going to let a global pandemic get in the way of their Convocation experience. Instead, they took the opportunity to re-enact some of the iconic moments virtually, including tossing their graduation caps in unison.

Trent University’s graduating class of 2021 celebrated virtually this year by joining Grad From Your Pad, a one-stop-shop for everything to do with convocation. Graduates were given information about virtual ceremonies and helpful resources for connecting and sharing their experience with the Trent community through social media.

Many students, faculty and alumni took to social media to celebrate the University of Toronto’s graduating class of 2021. Faculty members recorded videos with messages of congratulations, while graduates had access to a variety of custom Instagram and TikTok filters to tailor a unique experience.

Social media played an important role in celebrating this year’s graduating class. Graduates from the University of Waterloo were equipped with keepsake bundles that included hats and gowns, preparing them to flood their social feeds with pre-loaded convocation Spotify playlists and fun #UWaterlooGrad gifs that they shared with friends, family and community members.

Western University’s President, Alan Shepard, recorded a congratulatory message for the graduating class of 2021, taking the time to share words of wisdom and remind graduates that a passion for learning will help propel them into their future success.

More than 3,500 students at Wilfrid Laurier University graduated virtually this spring, sharing the special moment with one another through supportive social media posts, including customized GIFs, GIPHY stickers, filters and the hashtag #LaurierLove.

Even though graduates from the University of Windsor were unable to celebrate in person, the graduating class of 2021 was able to celebrate their achievements with their families and community members through printable lawn signs, as well as over social media with customized filters and desktop backgrounds.

Graduates from York University were the lucky recipients of convocation gift boxes, including caps, words of encouragement and little keepsakes to accompany the variety of digital assets they could use to celebrate convocation in their own way, including AR filters, GIFs and more.