Convocation In Photos 2019

University of Alberta congratulates the class of 2019. 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 images? Check out our Instagram Stream.)


Allan Gordon Bell, honorary doctor of letters

Allan Gordon Bell, honorary doctor of letters

Juno award-winning classical composer and professor Allan Gordon Bell received an honorary degree June 13. Relating the story of how he found his musical inspiration in Canada's landscape, Bell urged the class of 2019 to pay attention to what's around them, to learn from failure and move on, to practise compassion and to resist cynicism by seeking out and engaging with the noblest of human creative achievements.

Watch Allan Gordon Bell's Convocation Address

Esi Edugyan, honorary doctor of letters

Esi Edugyan, honorary doctor of letters

Two-time Giller Prize-winning novelist Esi Edugyan received an honorary degree June 13. In her address, Edugyan told a story of being lost on the Great Wall of China—a metaphor for her advice to the graduands: that they make room for life's uncertainties, embrace both the wonder and the fear that come with new experiences, and trust that they will see their way through.

Watch Esi Edugyan's Convocation Address

Keeping the faith

Scott Jackshaw, '19 BA(Hons)

Raised and educated as a member of a Christian fundamentalist church, Scott Jackshaw had never met an openly gay person until he arrived at the U of A. After struggling with his identity and his faith that first year, he found his way to an empowered sense of self that remains grounded in Christian theology but also draws inspiration from his studies in queer theory. Now, the award-winning scholar and poet will pursue a PhD English at Brown University, where he will continue to explore the tensions and unexpected affinities between his sexual identity and his spirituality.

Read Jackshaw's Story

Hon. Mary Moreau, honorary doctor of laws

Hon. Mary Moreau, honorary doctor of lawz

The Honourable Mary Moreau, the first woman to be appointed chief justice of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench and a strong advocate for francophone rights in the province, received an honorary degree June 12. Alternating between English and French in her address, Moreau urged the class of 2019 to harness the things they can control, to avoid rushing to judgment, to be alert when opportunities arise, and to show respect and understanding to others dealing with serious challenges in their lives.

Watch Mary Moreau's Convocation Address

Elder Francis Whiskeyjack, honorary doctor of laws

Elder Francis Whiskeyjack, honorary doctor of laws

Francis Whiskeyjack, an educator, cultural adviser and Elder of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, received an honorary degree June 12. Addressing graduands in the Faculty of Education, Whiskeyjack spoke of the “flicker of hope” and unconditional love from family that sustained him as a residential school survivor, and the mentors whose guidance and kindness helped him become a mentor in his own right.

Watch Francis Whiskeyjack's Convocation Address

Prepared for pressure

Gina Murray, '19 JD

For any law student, preparing to interview for a coveted clerkship with the Supreme Court of Canada would be stressful. But for Gina Murray, it happened while she was in the hospital with her daughter, who was born prematurely. But Murray, who had been an ICU nurse for eight and a half years, was no stranger to pressure. With support from her husband, her mom and her friends—and more than a little caffeine—she kept calm through it all, and starts her clerkship next year. “I like to joke that my career was sponsored by Red Bull, but sadly I don’t think they consider law-school-with-children an extreme sport.”

Read Murray's Story

Cyril Kay, honorary doctor of science

Cyril Kay, honorary doctor of science

Cyril Kay ,  one of the world’s foremost protein biochemists, received an honorary degree June 11. Kay encouraged graduands in the Faculty of Science to stake out scientific territory they enjoy, to overcome fear of failure, to find good mentors and to stay flexible to take advantage of the possibilities and opportunities their education has afforded.

Watch Cyril Kay's Convocation Address

Carol Cass, honorary doctor of science

Carol Cass, honorary doctor of science

Carol Cass, a U of A oncologist and biochemist who has made lasting contributions to cancer education, research and treatment, received an honorary degree June 11. Cass encouraged the future researchers in her audience of science graduands to heed the advice she received from the greatest influences on her own scientific career: learn to communicate clearly, seek balance in life and "follow the question" to wherever it may lead.

Watch Carol Cass's Convocation Address

Reaching for new heights

Spencer Allen, '19 BSc(Kinesiology)

Just out of high school, track star Spencer Allen was diagnosed with testicular cancer three times in three years. Sustained by a team of supporters and his love of the sport, Allen beat the cancer every time. After coming to the U of A in 2015, he built a legend that culminated in helping the Golden Bears win Canada West gold last year with a record pole vault. Now, the kinesiology grad hopes to assist in research looking at how exercise benefits cancer survivors. “It provided me with different perspectives," he said of his own experience as a survivor. "I don’t know where I’d be in life if I hadn’t gone through it.”

Read Allen's Story

Allan Goodman, honorary doctor of laws

Allan Goodman, honorary doctor of laws

Allan Goodman, president of the Institute of International Education, received an honorary degree June 7. Addressing graduands of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry and School of Public Health, Goodman expressed personal gratitude for Canadian medicine and professional gratitude for the U of A's leadership in offering a safe haven for threatened researchers through the IIE's Scholar Rescue Fund. He ended with two words he first saw on a building next to the Canadian Embassy in Washington in 1980: "Thanks, Canada."

Watch Allan Goodman's Convocation Address

Opening doors of opportunity

NIcole Labine, '19 MD

Growing up in Fort Smith, N.W.T., Nicole Labine saw the disparity created by limited access to health care. That experience sparked a determination that saw her help open the door wider for Indigenous medical students at the U of A. Now, as the MD graduate embarks on a five-year surgical residency, she plans to eventually return to the Northwest Territories. “It is closing the loop for me—it’s the final step that proves to me, although there were lots of barriers, I still did it, I still made it.”

Read Labine's Story

Caroline Jenner, honorary doctor of laws

Caroline Jenner, honorary doctor of laws

Caroline Jenner, CEO of Junior Achievement Europe, received an honorary degree June 6. Jenner emphasized the value of education in instilling the discipline, perseverance and openness to new experiences and ideas that are vital to entrepreneurship, and urged her audience of business graduates to volunteer their time and talents to benefit the next generation of enterprising young people.

Watch Caroline Jenner's Convocation Address

Martin Garber-Conrad, honorary doctor of laws

Martin Garber-Conrad, honorary doctor of laws

Martin Garber-Conrad, CEO of the Edmonton Community Foundation, received an honorary degree June 6. Addressing graduands of the faculties of pharmacy, nursing and business, Garber-Conrad issued an emphatic challenge to "do more"—to help solve the world's most pressing problems not only as professionals, but also as citizens. "If you don’t make your world better, who will?"

Watch Martin Garber-Conrad's Convocation Address

A broader view of health

Anna Voeuk, '19 MPH

From working in a field hospital in Iraq to fighting an Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, physician and palliative care specialist Anna Voeuk has devoted herself to easing suffering. But when she found she wanted to contribute even more, she decided to go back to university to gain skills in public health policy, planning and evaluation. After a practicum with the World Health Organization in Geneva and her most recent mission to South Sudan, Voeuk is ready to serve wherever those skills are needed.

Read Voeuk's Story

Vivian Manasc, honorary doctor of laws

Vivian Manasc, honorary doctor of laws

Vivian Manasc, a pioneer in designing environmentally sustainable architecture for Canada's climate, offered graduates of the Faculty of Engineering her top 10 "guiding lights" to live by—advice on where to find inspiration, how to embrace curiosity and value diversity, and how to make wise choices to build a better future.

Watch Vivian Manasc's Convocation Address

Carman McNary, honorary doctor of laws

Carman McNary, honorary doctor of laws

Carman McNary, a leading Canadian tax lawyer and advocate for ending poverty and homelessness in Edmonton, encouraged graduates of the Faculty of Engineering to cultivate 10 personal qualities for success in work and life, and seek opportunities to solve major problems in "a time of change and challenge."

Watch Carman McNary's Convocation Address

Cultural awareness by design

Derek Jagodzinsky, '19 MDes

As the founder of LUXX, a clothing company that pays tribute to Indigenous cultures, Derek Jagodzinsky has dressed the likes of Kim Kardashian and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. Now, with the knowledge he gained while earning his master's degree in design, Jagodzinsky wants to teach and inspire others by "creating a new visual language, helping strengthen a new Indigenous identity. I want to break stereotypes and bring Indigenous know-how to the modern world."

Read Jagodzinsky's Story

Akinwumi Adesina, honorary doctor of science

Akinwumi Adesina, honorary doctor of science

Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group and winner of the 2017 World Food Prize for improving the lives and livelihoods of millions through his efforts to increase access to agricultural resources, financing and technology, urged graduates in the faculties of agricultural, life and environmental sciences, rehabilitation medicine and Native studies to remain humble and focus on helping others. "You will achieve great things in life. But always remember: humility is what will make you stand out."

Watch Akinwumi Adesina's Convocation Address

A second chance

Levi Gordian, '19 BA NS

When Levi Gordian got the dreaded "required to withdraw" in the middle of his third year, he wasn't surprised. But after he appealed and was put on academic probation, an A in a health class was the "beacon of hope" he needed to rediscover his potential. Now, the Native studies graduate will pursue a master's in public health, with hopes of working at Vancouver's Insite or back in his community in Alert Bay. “I’ve always had this potential, I just couldn’t focus on it. Now that I can, I’m excited to see what I can do.”

Read Gordian's Story

Elder Sarah Jerome, honorary doctor of laws

Elder Sarah Jerome, honorary doctor of laws

Sarah Jerome — a teacher, principal, assistant school board superintendent and the first person of Gwich'in ancestry to serve as official languages commissioner of the Northwest Territories — received an honorary degree June 2. Recounting numerous challenges she has overcome in her remarkable life, she issued her own challenge to the 2019 grads of Augustana Campus: to use their education to work toward reconciliation.

Watch Sarah Jerome's Convocation Address

Playing for keeps

Alex Brohman, '19 MScRS(PT)

When she saw her musician brother hurting, Alex Brohman decided to put her physical therapy studies to use. Working with two professors, Brohman created a handy booklet to help piano players avoid and treat their injuries. Now, as she graduates with a master's degree in rehabilitation science, the experience has her feeling excited about her chosen profession. "The biggest thing I’m taking away from the U of A ... is that I do have valuable knowledge and skills to make a difference for people.”

Read Brohman's Story