Convocation In Photos 2018

University of Alberta congratulates the class of 2018. As we celebrate the diverse journeys that have brought our newest graduates to their moment on the stage, we look forward to seeing where they will choose to go from here. 

(Looking for even more U of A convocation tweets, images, stories? Check out our Social Stream.)


Hon. Dan Hays, honorary doctor of laws

The Honourable Dan Hays proceeds to the University of Alberta convocation stage to receive an honorary doctor of laws degree Nov. 21. (Photo: Richard Siemens)

The Honourable Dan Hays, who has made distinguished contributions as a farmer, a lawyer and a former Canadian senator, received an honorary doctor of laws degree Nov. 21. Hays encouraged graduands to act according to principles that have served him well as a legislator. "As you embark on the next phase of your life, know your passions, establish goals, and be relentless in working hard to pursue them."

Watch Dan Hays' Convocation Address

Jeremy Spurgeon, honorary doctor of letters

Jeremy Spurgeon stands on the University of Alberta convocation stage before receiving his honorary doctor of letters degree from the university Nov. 21, 2018. (Photo: Richard Siemens)

Jeremy Spurgeon, one of Canada's foremost organists, pianists, accompanists and choir directors, received an honorary doctor of letters degree Nov. 21. In his convocation address, Spurgeon urged the class of 2018 to surround themselves with great people, to be open to unexpected opportunities, and to "show up" when those opportunities arise.


Making it happen

Stephanie Lunn, '18 PhD (pharmacology)

Stephanie Lunn was tired of hearing people say "It'll happen" when it came to getting a job out of grad school. But then it happened for her. Just two months after earning her PhD in pharmacology under supervisor Frances Plane, she landed a dream job as a research specialist with Aurora Cannabis. “When I look back over the years, how I chose pharmacology, and finding such a great lab to grow in, things really do just happen.”

Read Lunn's story

Brenda McLean, honorary doctor of laws

Brenda McLean is congratulated by University of Alberta chancellor Douglas Stollery as she receives her honorary doctor of laws degree during convocation ceremonies Nov. 20, 2018. (Photo: Richard Siemens)

Business leader and philanthropist Brenda McLean received an honorary doctor of laws degree Nov. 20. Emphasizing the importance of family, McLean urged graduands in science and health to set an example of good health for others, to stay grounded and humble, and to be thankful for their education and give back by sharing their talents with the world.

Watch Brenda McLean's convocation address

Finding her true calling

Chelsea Benally, '18 PhD (Environmental Engineering)

Chelsea Benally had a good job at a U.S. national lab, but she never felt it was the right fit. When she found out about the U of A's research into oilsands remediation, it revived her lifelong aspiration to use science to benefit the environment. Now, as the first Indigenous woman to graduate with a PhD in engineering from the U of A, she wants to continue her research in reclaiming tailings pond water while helping to increase First Nations participation in engineering.

Read Benally's Story

Spring Convocation 2018

Nahlah Ayed, honorary doctor of laws

Nahlah Ayed received an honorary doctor of laws degree during convocation ceremonies June 14, 2018. (Photo: Richard Siemens)

Nahlah Ayed, one of Canada's most respected foreign correspondents, received an honorary doctor of laws degree June 14. Painting a vivid picture of the people, places and events that have remained fresh in her memory, she urged graduates of the Faculty of Business to pay attention to the world around them and heed the lessons behind the headlines.

Watch Nahlah Ayed's convocation address

Rt. Hon. Helen Clark, honorary doctor of laws

The Right Honourable Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the U of A during convocation ceremonies June 14. (Photo: Richard Siemens)

The Right Honourable Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, received an honorary doctor of laws degree June 14. Clark, who also headed the UN Development Programme for eight years, urged grads to "put in the hard work and effort necessary to justify your belief and self-confidence that you can be anything you want to be. But in that quest, also remember the importance of service to others and the community."

Watch Helen Clark's convocation address

A leader on and off the field

Ed Ilnicki was a leader on the field with the U of A Golden Bears football team and off the field as he earned a business degree and a certificate from the Peter Lougheed Leadership College. (Photo: Richard Siemens)

Ed Ilnicki was a leader on the field with Golden Bears football, playing a pivotal role in turning around the team's fortunes and winning the Hec Crighton Trophy as the best university football player in Canada. Ilnicki lived with his grandfather, whom he affectionately calls "Pops," while earning his business degree and certificate from the Peter Lougheed Leadership College. "Getting to share my experiences with him and hear his thoughts on the challenges and triumphs I faced throughout university was very special."

Read Ilnicki's story

Stephen Kakfwi, honorary doctor of laws

Stephen Kakfwi proceeds to the convocation stage before receiving his honorary doctor of laws degree June 13, 2018. (Photo: Richard Siemens)

Stephen Kakfwi, a champion of Indigenous rights who has served as president of the Dene Nation and premier of the Northwest Territories, brought a gift of advice to graduates—to be at peace with themselves, to be compassionate and to make Canada a country of healing and welcome "where all of us, as diverse as we are, can make it a home together."

Watch Stephen Kakfwi's convocation address

Ralph Haas, honorary doctor of science

Ralph Haas receives his honorary doctor of science degree from U of A chancellor Douglas Stollery during convocation ceremonies June 13, 2018. (Photo: Richard Siemens)

U of A alumnus Ralph Haas, known to engineers worldwide as “the father of pavement asset management,” chose an appropriate topic for his address to engineering grads: the forks in the road that defined his life and career. Haas encouraged the class of 2018 not to be afraid of making mistakes when they come to their own forks in the road, and to act with decency and generosity as they contribute to society and their profession.

Watch Ralph Haas' convocation address

Using social design to envision a better world

Bahaa Harmouche, '18 MDes

Born into war in his homeland of Lebanon, Bahaa Harmouche sought refuge in art. After creating a film about his family's struggle for survival, he realized the power of the visual arts to shape social discourse—a power he later used to help youth living with HIV tell their stories. Now, with his master's in design from the U of A, he wants to keep helping others see the possibility of a better world.

Read Harmouche's story

Raj Pannu, honorary doctor of laws

Raj Pannu receives his honorary degree from U of A chancellor Douglas Stollery during convocation ceremonies June 12, 2018. (Photo: Richard Siemens)

U of A alumnus Raj Pannu, who was an education professor at the university before his political career as an MLA and leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party, returned to his alma mater to receive an honorary degree. Pannu told the education graduates of 2018 it was imperative for them “to re-engage in public life, and together, to forge a bold new vision of a compassionate and caring future. Political and economic decisions and outcomes are too important to be left to others.“

Watch Raj Pannu's convocation address

David Matas, honorary doctor of laws

David Matas addresses graduands in the faculties of education and law after receiving his honorary doctor of laws degree June 12, 2018. (Photo: Richard Siemens)

David Matas, who has devoted his career as a lawyer and scholar to defending human rights around the world, urged graduands of the faculties of education and law to assert their own human rights and act whenever and wherever they see injustice happening. "We must exercise human solidarity when there are still enough of us who are not victimized for that solidarity to matter."

Watch David Matas's convocation address

From the barre to the bar

Heather Cave, '18 LLB

Heather Cave drew on her lifelong passion as a ballet dancer and teacher to balance out the demands of studying law. Her two full-time commitments made for a daunting schedule—"I don't sleep a lot, and my Netflix time is very minimal," she says—but as part of the U of A's winning team in the Gale Cup, Canada's premier moot court competition, she proved to be as talented in the courtroom as she is in the studio. "It's been nice to have balance. It keeps me sane.”

Read Cave's story

2018: A space odyssey continues

Tyler Hrynyk, '18 BSc Eng

In his first week of university, Tyler Hrynyk joined the student-led AlbertaSat team dedicated to designing, building and launching Alberta's first space satellite. Now, the engineering grad is joining one of the world’s most successful space startups. Hrynyk credits his success and job offer to the success of the AlbertaSat team and its members. “I owe this to everyone else I worked with. Everybody on the team owes something to everybody else.”

Read Hrynyk's story

David Naylor, honorary doctor of science

David Naylor receives his honorary doctor of science degree from U of A chancellor Doug Stollery during convocation ceremonies June 8, 2018. (Photo: Richard Siemens)

Former University of Toronto president David Naylor has seen more than 150 convocation ceremonies by his count, but this time it was his turn to receive a degree. Addressing medicine, dentistry and pharmacy grads, Naylor— a leader in health policy whose efforts have led to significant increases in funding for fundamental research —urged them to "be vocal champions for basic and applied health research for the rest of your lives."

Watch David Naylor's convocation address

Persevering through personal loss

Kayla Leugner-Lavallee

Kayla Leugner-Lavallee had her future well planned: she'd devote equal energy to studying dentistry and leading the U of A Pandas hockey team to the national championships. But after a devastating loss in her family, she had to rely on all her resilience as a lifelong athlete—and support from friends, teammates and classmates—to find her way back to happiness and her place among the class of 2018.

Read Lavallee's story

David Suzuki, honorary doctor of science

David Suzuki addresses graduands of the Faculty of Science after receiving an honorary doctor of science degree June 7, 2018. (Photo: Richard Siemens)

Environmentalist and broadcaster David Suzuki returned to the U of A, where he got his "first grown-up job" in the genetics department in 1962, to receive an honorary degree. Addressing science grads, Suzuki urged them to use the education and knowledge they have gained to "find a way of living that does not undermine the very things that keep us alive."

Watch David Suzuki's convocation address

A doctor finds a path to helping more people

Jared Yeung, '18 MPH

As a physician, Jared Yeung enjoyed caring for patients in rural Alberta and abroad in places like Afghanistan, India and the Philippines. But he wanted to have a bigger impact. In the U of A master's program in global public health, he gained a new education, a new career path and a chance to help far more people as he continues to provide medicine abroad.

Read Yeung's story

Mark Rowswell, honorary doctor of letters

Mark "Dashan" Rowswell, honorary doctor of letters

Receiving an honorary degree on the 30th anniversary of his own graduation from the U of A's Faculty of Arts, the comedic master known as "Dashan" to more than a billion people in China urged his diverse audience to resist tribalism by finding the commonalities that transcend their differences.

Watch Dashan's convocation address

France Levasseur-Ouimet, honorary doctor of letters

France levasseur-ouimet

Professor, lyricist, historian, playwright and composer France Levasseur-Ouimet received her honorary degree June 6. Levasseur-Ouimet, whose choral piece "Je te retrouve/I remember you" is performed at every convocation ceremony, urged the 2018 grads to cherish the “glorious days” in their lives that will help them believe in themselves.

Watch France Levasseur-Ouimet's convocation address

A life transformed through healthy living

Vaughn Marillier, '18 BKin

As a gay white man, Vaughn Marillier belonged to two threatened minorities in his native Zimbabwe. After fleeing to Canada, he found an inclusive home but fell into a health slump. But thanks to a fateful treadmill that would eventually lead him to the Boston Marathon and to the U of A, the kinesiology grad found a place where he could pursue his passion for sport and nutrition.

Read Marillier's Story

Louise Bradley, honorary doctor of laws

Louise Bradley addresses graduands of the faculties of Nursing and Rehabilitation Medicine after receiving an honorary doctor of laws degree during convocation ceremonies June 5, 2018. (Photo: Richard Siemens)

Louise Bradley, president and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, encouraged grads of the faculties of Nursing and Rehabilitation Medicine to nurture the resiliency that will see them through the tough situations they will face in their chosen professions.

Watch Louise Bradley's convocation address

Caring for women in prison

Michelle Parsons, '18 BScN

Michelle Parsons quit her job as a corrections officer to finish her nursing degree, but she never forgot about the women she’d seen behind bars. Now, the nursing grad wants to return to help women gain better access to reproductive health care. “This is where I need to be.”

Read Parsons' Story

Nettie Wiebe, honorary doctor of laws

Nettie Wiebe, honorary doctor of laws

During the Augustana Campus convocation ceremony June 3, farmer and food security advocate Nettie Wiebe urged the class of 2018 to embrace cultural diversity to plant the seeds of an inclusive society.

Watch Nettie Wiebe's convocation address

Family legacy comes full circle

Hilda Lam, '18 BMus

Music graduate Hilda Lam’s love affair with song springs from family and the welcoming community at the U of A’s Augustana Campus. Her father’s fond memories of his time as a student there convinced her to enrol. Lam credits Augustana’s strong music program for helping her hone her skill and give voice to her love of classical singing.

Read Lam's story