Celebrating the Classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022

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Celebrating the Classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022


The excitement was palpable across Ontario university campuses, as many universities welcomed their students back to campus to cross the convocation stage in-person and receive their degrees.

In recognition of their dedication and resiliency, many graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021 were also invited to join this year’s cohorts to commemorate their achievements and celebrate the first in-person convocation in more than two years.

The celebrations included notable leaders within local communities and from around the world who shared heartfelt messages of congratulations to this year’s expanded graduating class, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, local First Nations leaders and Steven Page from The Barenaked Ladies, to name a few.

Below is a snapshot of some of the special moments that took place across the province to celebrate and recognize Ontario’s university graduates.

For the first time since 2019, Algoma University celebrated the academic achievements of its graduating students during an in-person convocation ceremony held at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion on the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront. Algoma University Chancellor Mario Turco conferred degrees to the graduating class of 2022.

Algoma Instagram convocation post

The last of Brock University’s nine spring convocation ceremonies was held in mid-June, marking the close of the first in-person celebrations in more than two years and the convocation of students across seven faculties. All nine of Brock University’s ceremonies were available through livestream for those who were unable to attend in-person.

Brock convocation Instagram post

At Carleton University, three years of graduates attended Carleton’s first in-person convocation ceremonies since 2019. It provided a unique opportunity for multiple graduating years to celebrate together, including brother and sister Nick and Elisa.

Graduates from 2020, 2021 and 2022 had the opportunity to reconnect with their friends and celebrate in-person at the University of Guelph #GradGala, an enhanced graduation experience which included a music-themed barn, arcade, piano lounge, grad café and more.

At Lakehead University, graduates and their families were invited to join convocation virtually, which incorporated many Lakehead convocation customs and traditions, including congratulatory messages from local First Nations leaders, Chancellor Rita Shelton Deverell, President Moira McPherson, as well as faculty members from across departments.

Lakehead Instagram convocation post

To mark their place in the world, graduates at Laurentian University’s spring convocation received a pine tree seedling to take home and plant, serving as a lasting reminder of their momentous day.

Since convocation is traditionally a time of celebration with family and friends, McMaster University graduates expressed how happy they were to return to campus and celebrate in-person. Twelve convocation ceremonies were held across May and June to mark the achievements of graduates across the university’s six faculties. Those who were unable to attend in-person were given the option to tune in virtually from anywhere in the world through a dedicated livestream.

Nipissing University held eight convocation ceremonies over four days, including three ceremonies where 2020 and 2021 graduates had the opportunity to formally cross the stage and celebrate alongside the graduating Class of 2022.

To celebrate a return to in-person convocation, OCAD University welcomed students from multiple faculties who received their diplomas at Roy Thomson Hall. Friends and family members attended the day’s morning and afternoon ceremonies with festivities livestreamed to 45 countries across the globe.

During convocation, many students will take their families and loved ones on a tour of the city they called home during their time at university. To help graduates plan their celebrations in Oshawa, Ontario Tech University partnered with the City of Oshawa to promote the Oshawa Spring Guide – a snapshot of photo locations, dining options, experiences and accommodations to share with family and friends.

Oshawa Spring Guide

To celebrate the accomplishments of this year’s graduates and those who were unable to attend in-person in 2021 and 2020, the University of Ottawa welcomed students back to campus for convocation – the first in-person convocation since the start of the pandemic.

University of Ottawa Instagram convocation post

At Queen’s University, graduates made their way to downtown Kingston, where 10 convocation ceremonies were held over a one-week period, celebrating the achievements of the graduating classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022.

On June 22, Canadian university students had the privilege of participating in a live virtual address from President Zelenskyy hosted by the University of Toronto.

President Zelenskyy’s speech was livestreamed to university students across Canada. He spoke about the importance of sharing information and defending democracy and participated in a live question and answer period with students from in-person audiences.

As Toronto Metropolitan University graduates crossed the convocation stage in-person this year, the procession included a furry addition – an emotional support dog named Bao Bao, who sported a custom gown made by Toronto Metropolitan’s Ceremonials team.

Toronto Met Instagram Convocation Post

Trent University celebrated convocation over an eight-day period, recognizing the graduating classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022 in-person. To commemorate the celebrations, Trent asked graduates what their favourite part of convocation was, with graduating students making special mention of the importance of celebrating with family.

Trent University Instagram convocation post

At the University of Waterloo, alumni from 2020 and 2021 returned to campus to join this year’s graduating class and participate in a traditional convocation ceremony.

In recognition of each graduate’s unique experience at Waterloo, local artist Nicole Beno was commissioned to create an art piece that symbolized the memories, knowledge and friendships of each graduate.

In-person convocation returned to Western University with a series of ceremonies celebrating the Class of 2022 throughout the month of June, and the classes of 2021 and 2020 in ceremonies throughout the first week of July. Graduating students will join a community of more than 330,000 Western alumni in 160 countries around the world.

Western University Instagram convocation post

Wilfrid Laurier University celebrated the accomplishments of its graduating students at in-person convocation ceremonies at its Brantford and Waterloo campuses, while also hosting in-person graduation celebrations for the classes of 2020 and 2021. Many graduates were lucky enough to experience a convocation speech and live performance by honourary graduate Steven Page from The Barenaked Ladies.

Laurier Instagram Convocation Post

The University of Windsor welcomed back students, faculty and family members for the first in-person celebration of convocation in over two years. Celebrations were held over 10 concurrent convocation ceremonies, celebrating the graduating classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Windsor Instagram convocation post

This year, York University celebrated a record-breaking convocation season, with 26 in-person ceremonies recognizing the achievements of the Class of 2022 and those who were unable to attend in-person in 2020 and 2021.

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