'It didn’t really feel real': University of Lethbridge students cross the stage this week for convocation
It's an exciting time at the University of Lethbridge as convocation ceremonies kicked off Thursday.
After at least four years of studying, students taking the U of L’s School of Graduate Studies and Faculty of Arts and Science walked the stage this morning and stepped into the next phase of their lives.
"It didn't really feel real," said Leeza Voyevoda, a Bachelor of Science graduate.
"Like in December you kind of walk away from your final exam and you're like, I guess I'm done," she said. "Then today it finally solidified the fact that all my years of hard work have something for it now and it's really exciting."
"I'm relieved and relaxed," added fellow graduate, Kissan Ghose.
University of Lethbridge students celebrating their convocation Thursday
"I got to see friends again and shake hands with the deans and other people on stage. It was just an amazing experience."
"It's been a long four or five years and lots of ups and downs going through school these last couple of years but it's good to be back with everyone as a community again," said Holland Kelly who also graduated with a Bachelor of Science.
BIG DAY FOR FACULTY
While it was a big day for the graduates, it was also an exciting day for some faculty.
Dr. Trushar Patel received the Speaker Research Award for his work uncovering events at the heart of diseases like viral infections.
"I was running through a lot of emotions that finally the work was recognized and I was just over the moon basically because, like I said, this was one of the biggest recognitions for researchers on campus," Patel told CTV News.
Dr. Trushar Patel received the Speaker Research Award for his work uncovering events at the heart of diseases like viral infections at the University of Lethbridge convocation Thursday
The university also handed out an honorary doctor of science degree to Timothy Caulfield.
Caulfield was at the forefront of communicating relevant and evidence based information and helping stem the spread of misinformation over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I'm just hugely, hugely honoured," he said.
"It's such a privilege and I love these ceremonies so much to see this big moment in individuals' lives. So yeah, (it's) an incredible, incredible honour."
U of L alum Terry Whitehead was also sworn in as the 15th chancellor of the university.
However, Whitehead says he was more focused on the students and their accomplishments than his own.
"It's a tremendous honour, it's exciting," Whitehead said.
"But the exciting part for me was just seeing the students cross the stage in front of their friends, (and) their families. They should be immensely proud of all they’ve went through and done to get to this point today."
Before they take their next big step in life, some of the graduates had one message for everyone who's thinking about their future.
"My entire university experience shaped me to be the person I am inside an outside of school, so if you're debating school, do it, trust your gut. If you don't want to, don't do it. Just be happy with your choice," said Voyevoda.
"Just put yourself out there, do the best you can and be proud of what you do," added Ghose.
Thursday morning’s ceremony was the first of four convocations.
The second happened earlier this afternoon, with two more set for Friday.