AU CONVOCATION. DEFINITION: Athabasca University’s traditional, in-person- and monumental community event, honouring and feting our students’ degree success – away from their typical digital space – and where, in many cases, they get to meet their learner peers and profs for the first time! We welcome our 2018 graduates from across Canada, and internationally, to our namesake town of Athabasca, Alberta — where they and their loved ones will celebrate their exceptional learning accomplishments.
Let the graduation games begin!
Beginning Friday, June 8th, Athabasca University will welcome more than 200 of our nearly 2,000 graduates to the northern Alberta town of Athabasca — to celebrate what will mark a momentous day in their lives.
Our learners, their loved ones, peers, and profs, will gather Friday and Saturday in Athabasca — visiting from near and far, to witness their once-in-a-lifetime moment — receiving their bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees — signifying their sacrifices, hard work, and the crossing of academic finish lines. Throughout Canada they’ll arrive, from Winnipeg, Moose Jaw, and Courtenay, B.C., and Owen Sound, Montreal, and Whitehorse, Yukon. We have international learners joining us from as far away as Tokyo, Singapore, and the Cayman Islands, as well as from the United States, with learners from Texas, Illinois, and New York.
“This is a special time of year when we showcase our learners’ accomplishments by coming together, in-person, as a community — our graduates, their loved ones, faculty and staff — to celebrate this milestone occasion in lifelong learning,” says Athabasca University President Neil Fassina.
“An AU Convocation offers our learners who study and connect with their colleagues online, a unique opportunity to celebrate, together, outside of the digital space from which they typically gather. We’re thrilled to be a part of the celebration with them — acknowledging the commitment and dedication each has demonstrated by virtue of this tremendous achievement.”
Never too late to graduate
Our graduates span cultures, creeds, and community — even generations. Bachelor of Arts graduate Lynn Keating’s story on ‘becoming a scholar’ began 16 years ago from her home-office in the southeastern Saskatchewan town of Wolseley. Lynn, 73, is the epitome of a life-long learner. During her time with AU, the retired RN says she had the “zeal of a missionary … mastering course after course, and every time I completed a class I felt like someone had picked me up, spun me around and I never thought the same way again.”
“This is a special time of year when we showcase our learners’ accomplishments by coming together, in-person, as a community — our graduates, their loved ones, faculty and staff — to celebrate this milestone occasion in lifelong learning.”– Dr. Neil Fassina, president, Athabasca University
Honorary Doctorates, Order of Athabasca, and Governor General Gold Medal
On Friday, AU will confer an Honorary Doctor of Laws upon Chief Wilton ‘Willie’ Littlechild, in recognition of his leadership and advocacy for Indigenous human rights. As an advocate, lawyer, and former Member of Parliament, Chief Littlechild has advanced the rights of Indigenous Peoples, and has become a leading voice for reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people across Canada, and around the world. The following day, Saturday, June 9th, the university will bestow an Honorary Doctor of Letters upon acclaimed Canadian writer, Aritha van Herk, in recognition of her contributions to Canadian literature and culture, as a writer, scholar and educator. That same day, Margaret Mrazek will be inducted into the Order of Athabasca University in recognition of her outstanding dedication to Athabasca University during her term as a public member, vice-chair and interim chair of the Governors of Athabasca University.
High honours will be awarded Friday, June 8th, to Master of Counseling (MC) graduate Lisa Gray, who will receive the Governor General Gold Medal for highest achievement in a graduate-level, academic standing at AU. As our valedictorian, Lisa, who specialized in Counselling Psychology, will be delivering the Students’ Address to her learning peers, faculty, and guests. In her moving speech, she credits AU with encouraging her personal transformation and creating the environment for her future successes.
“It’s amazing what you can achieve when you have people supporting you — and now I want to do more,” says Lisa.
“My fellow graduates and I have a lot to be grateful for. We were able to attend an institution that holds the belief that education should be open to anyone who is committed to learning … that knowledge should be shared and not safeguarded for a select few … a school that does not believe education should be denied based on where you live, or your need to continue to work full-time, or stay at home to take care of children or other loved ones. Athabasca University provides a place for all to come and learn.”