Hundreds of graduates celebrate at winter convocation

Today more than 500 BCIT students crossed the stage to become BCIT graduates. President Kathy Kinloch addressed the two ceremonies, thanking the parents and faculty who helped the graduates succeed. Then, she offered special praise for those in the cap and gown.

Grads prepare to cross the stage at the BCIT Winter Convocation, February 21.

“Thank you for supporting one another and for your perseverance. BCIT is not an easy road,” said Kathy. “We demand a lot, because we promise a lot. We promise graduates who are adept in their field, yet humble in their character; workers who are collaborative in spirit and entrepreneurial in their approach; citizens who strive for personal success and success for the world; innovative thinkers who will solve some of the great issues of our time. With this group, I believe we have delivered on our ambitious promise.”

Keynote speaker Jean-Pierre LeBlanc, Co-Founder and Chair of Saje Natural Wellness, agreed. He said he’ll be looking out for BCIT resumes and then offered his potential future employees some advice.

“Be yourself,” he said. “Everyone else is taken.”

The morning ceremony bestowed credentials on students from four of our schools: Business, Construction and the Environment, Energy, and Transportation.

Valedictorian Alexandra Gunn encouraged the graduates to take a moment to acknowledge the roller-coaster journey. She recognized that for many BCIT students, intensive study often accompanies work, volunteer obligations, and family commitments. “Life doesn’t just stop because we’re in school,” she observed.

Alexandra shared her spotlight with everyone in the room. “You are all valedictorians in your own right,” she said. “BCIT’s motto, in English is, to each their highest attainment.  That is what our credential stands for. Having done the best that you could given your circumstances, you have earned it.”

In the evening, graduates from the School of Computing and Academic Studies and the School of Health Sciences flipped their tassels. Michael Bidu, CEO of Interface Health Society, addressed that ceremony. He spoke about how interconnected those industries have become.

The BCIT alumnus argued that disruption doesn’t just happen in tech. Health care is changing rapidly as well. BCIT, he said, is preparing the people who will work in – and further disrupt – both industries. “There’s a lot of talent around here,” he said.

Valedictorian Bellal Askarzadeh also knows a bit about both fields. Before he entered nursing, Bellal studied both engineering and information technology.

“I quit both halfway through,” he said. “They just weren’t what I loved and enjoyed doing. It took courage to start again and try nursing, but I’m glad I did. I’m here today and I am delighted to say I found I what I love.” He ended his speech—and spoke for everyone in the room—by thanking his fellow graduates “for their hard work, dedication and effort. You should be very, very proud of yourselves for accomplishing this goal. Well done and congratulations!”

You can see photos from the event at this Flickr gallery and at this one.

Leave a comment