Hundreds of graduates were celebrated for their years of work at Red Deer College’s largest convocation ever.
More than 1,500 of the 1,950 eligible graduates crossed the stage to pick up their diploma during two ceremonies at Westerner Park Friday.
Joel Ward, RDC president and CEO, said this will be a day to remember for students.
“We try to make every moment special for every student,” Ward said. “We put all our energy into ensuring we get a good picture with them, we call them by name and we make them feel comfortable when they walk across the stage.”
“It’s a long time to sit for 10 seconds, but I know when I graduated it was a very powerful moment and I would’ve waited as long as necessary to be able to walk across the stage and see my family and friends,” he added.
This is Ward’s ninth convocation. He said he expected future convocations to be even bigger when RDC becomes a university.
“We think we can double enrolment in the next 10 years if we get it right,” he said. “By increasing the (number of) programs and getting our own degrees, over time I think it will make a huge difference.”
Gillian Coulton received her visual arts program diploma Friday. She was given the Governor General’s Academic Medal (Collegiate Bronze Level) for having the highest academic standing of all diploma students at the college this year.
“This award really shows how supportive RDC is of its students and the students’ art work. It’s really great,” said Coulton.
Coulton, originally from Consort, Alta., said she’s going to the University of British Columbia to further pursue fine arts and may move into teaching. It’s possible she’ll come back to Red Deer one day.
“I don’t have a 100 per cent plan, but I did enjoy my time here in Red Deer so I’d very much like to come back,” she said.
Brittany Lessard received the RDC Foundation Outstanding Student award for her leadership and commitment to the college.
Since starting at RDC in 2014, Lessard has served as a student council member on the Students’ Association of RDC Council, was president of the Education Undergrad Society and tutored for the Learning Disabilities Association.
“The community here has had such a profoundly positive impact on my life,” she said.
Lessard, a bachelor of education student, will return to RDC next year with the hope of becoming a middle school teacher.
Dr. Timothy Richards, who graduated from RDC in 1984, received an honorary degree at the ceremony.