BCIT Convocation photos and video – June 2017

Nearly 1,400 newly minted graduates crossed the stage this week to become graduates of the British Columbia Institute of Technology. They join a renowned group of over 170,000 BCIT alumni who—for over 50 years—have contributed meaningfully to the social, economic, and environmental prosperity of British Columbia.

Congratulations to all our graduates, their families, friends, and instructors.

Photos from each of the five ceremonies, along with video of the keynote speakers, is available below. For the full recording of each ceremony, please click on the links below or visit our Convocation media page.

Wednesday, June 21 — 9:00 a.m. ceremony  [full video]   

Our first ceremony celebrated graduates from the Marketing Management, Accounting, Finance, and Insurance programs in the BCIT School of Business.

BCIT President Kathy Kinloch congratulated graduates and guests, saying, “BCIT is not an easy road. We demand a lot, because we promise a lot… With this group, I believe we have delivered on our ambitious promise.” She also recognized National Aboriginal Day in Canada and the signing of Colleges and Institutes Canada’s Indigenous Education Protocol.

Keynote speaker Tracey Arnish, Chief People Officer, Coast Capital Savings told the graduating class that she is “feeling a lot more confident about the future of my organization and other companies because of the talent that is in this room today.

“BCIT has prepared you to enter a world that I believe needs you now more than ever,” she added. Watch the full video of Tracey’s speech below.

Valedictorian Miya Ellefsen-Lee, Diploma, Accounting, told her fellow graduates, “This room is full of incredibly talented, skilled individuals and I have no doubt that you will carry on the BCIT legacy with pride and grace.”  Miya was VP of Marketing for BCIT’s Financial Management Association Club, and a member of the group that took first place out of 53 groups in the Integrative Course—a two-week case study program that assists students in becoming aware of real-life situations they might face in their careers. She also volunteered as a student guide during Kick Start Week in September, and is noted for helping her peers with assignments, projects, and test preparation. She was a key participant in organizing the BCIT Tax Clinic 2017, filing—without charge—many tax returns for low-income community members and students.

Check out the photos from the June 21 morning ceremony on Flickr.

Wednesday, June 21 — 1:30 p.m. ceremony [full video]

Our second ceremony celebrated graduates from the School of Energy and School of Business Business Administration program.

“Graduates, the adventure is just beginning,” BCIT President Kathy Kinloch told the graduating class. “The road does not end here, and neither should your education. Whether back at BCIT, through additional education, or in your new roles in industry, keep learning. Read. Travel. Talk to strangers. Stay curious.”

Keynote speaker Jessica McDonald, President and CEO, BC Hydro talked to the graduating class about using their career to make an impact and leave a legacy:

“Look for the opportunity to have impact in your career,” she said. “Invest in differentiating yourself and creating a recognized track record before you start worrying about moving up the ladder. Likely, if you do this, you won’t have to worry about moving up because it will naturally happen. Spend time getting to know yourself, accepting and getting comfortable with yourself and people will look to you as a leader—one they would follow by choice.” Watch the full video of Jessica’s speech below:


Valedictorian Sanesh Iyer, Bachelor of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, told his fellow graduates, “Our graduation today is a testament to our ability to overcome challenges. And I hope you remember, that regardless of where you end up, and regardless of what challenges your may face, your BCIT community always has your back.” Sanesh was twice elected student representative for BCIT’s Education Council and recently returned from China, where he acted as a BCIT Student Ambassador, presenting the BCIT experience to potential students.

Check out the photos from the June 21 afternoon ceremony.

Thursday, June 22  9:00 a.m. ceremony [full video]

Students from the School of Computing and Academic Studies and School of Health Sciences celebrated their graduation at the June 22 morning ceremony.

“You have my sincere admiration,” said BCIT President Kathy Kinloch to graduates in her welcoming remarks. “Congratulations to all of you, and to everyone who has made today possible.”

Keynote Speaker Parminder Singh spoke to the audience about disruptive transformation. “Disruptive transformation is happening all around us, however, this change comes great responsibility. As a new generation of empowered change agents—which you all are—the responsibility of safekeeping what is reasonable and rationale falls squarely on your shoulders…our understanding of the new technology lags behind the implications of the technology on society. As the speed of innovation accelerates faster and faster…if transformative change is inevitable, it is reasonable to assume that you are going to have to transform, change, adapt, at the same rate. You will need to continue to learn new skills, comprehend new ideas, and apply them in professions that are yet to be defined.” Watch the full video of Parminder’s speech below:

Valedictory Address Cara Lorenz, BSN, Nursing talked about how much BCIT has changed her and her peers. “Comparing yourself from the start your program until now, I am sure your growth has been immense,” she told her fellow graduates. “I still remember my first day of clinical where our only task was to assess our patient’s heart rate. Long story short, I needed my instructor because I could not find my patient’s pulse.” In addition to maintaining a top-of-class academic record, Cara demonstrated dedication to her own learning and to supporting those around her.  She was a peer support volunteer, Set Rep, student representative for the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia, and a student member of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing leadership team.

Check out the photos from the June 22 morning ceremony.

Thursday, June 22 – 2:30 p.m. ceremony [full video]

Our fourth ceremony, held on the afternoon of June 22, celebrated graduates from the School of Construction and the Environment and School of Transportation.

BCIT President Kathy Kinloch acknowledged that this group of graduates included the inaugural class for the new joint SFU/BCIT Masters in Ecological Restoration. The 18 students who graduated this term are the first cohort from Canada’s first master’s program specializing in Ecological Restoration. SFU faculty members joined BCIT faculty on stage to celebrate this first cohort.

Keynote speaker David Emerson was recognized with an Honorary Doctorate of Technology, given to individuals who are widely acknowledged for outstanding and sustained achievement in their area of expertise. “Do not be paralyzed by uncertainty and fear of failure. Every opportunity is a pathway to more opportunities. Opportunities that, today, we don’t even know exist. And more and more research shows that failure is just another data point on the road to success.” Watch the full video of David’s speech below:

Valedictorian Matthew May, Diploma, Architectural and Building Technology said, “What we learned at BCIT is so much more than our curriculum. We learned to adapt to new and unexpected situations; we learned to collaborate with a diverse group of people to accomplish great things, and we learned how to manage our time so efficiently that we could pinpoint just how many minutes it would take us to finish our homework before class started. Most importantly though, we learned how to learn, and that is not something that just any graduate can say, and that is crucial for our future success.” Ensuring the collective success of his fellow students has been a guiding principle for Matthew since day one at BCIT. He is our outgoing Student Association President.

View the photos from the June 22 afternoon ceremony.

Friday, June 23 – 9:00 a.m. [full video]

Our final ceremony saw students from the Broadcast and Media Communications, Digital Arts, Business Management, Business Operations, and Human Resources don cap and gown.

Keynote speaker Diana Swain, Senior Investigative Journalist, CBC News, was recognized with an Honorary Doctorate of Technology. The host of CBC News Networks’ The Investigators, Diana Swain is one of Canada’s leading investigative journalists. She spoke to graduates about the importance of being patient and trying to let life unfold without trying to manage every moment. Diana, who put out a call on Twitter for unbiased advice for the graduating class said people overwhelmingly wanted to tell the class to be patient. “We’ve all been where you’re going. We were eager to get going, we were willing to put in the time and work hard. But many of us want to remind you to be good to yourself along the way. Give yourself the permission to get it wrong once in a while without being defeated by it. Try not to get swept up in the pace that you forget what it feels like to slow down a little.”

Watch the full video of Diana’s speech below:

Valedictorian Diego Gonzalez, Diploma, Information Technology Management talked about his decision to move to Canada and change careers. “A decision like that is not easy,” he said. “But who said that life was easy? Who said that life was not frightening. But so is fire, the ocean, space. We would not have known anything about them if it wasn’t for the people that tried and took the chance. If I hadn’t made this decision, I wouldn’t be graduating. I wouldn’t be standing here nor looking at the new opportunities that I created for my future. Don’t blame karma or external factors, because right here, right now you shape your own future.” Diego, an international student from Colombia, won the BCIT International Student Award and the Oracle Corporation Vancouver Scholarship.

View photos of the June 23 ceremony.

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2017!

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