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UNBC to celebrate surpassing 16,000 graduates

Press Release

May 19, 2022

Prince George, B.C. – The University of Northern British Columbia’s 29th Convocation will mark a significant milestone as the 16,000th graduate will cross the stage on May 27 in Prince George.

That number signifies 16,000 alumni who are now applying the knowledge and expertise they gained at UNBC to their professional and personal endeavours throughout the region and around the world. It also mirrors the number of residents across northern B.C. who signed a petition calling for a university in Prince George and paid $5 to join the Interior University Society almost three decades ago.

“It is a momentous occasion to know the 16,000th graduate will be granted credentials at this year’s Convocation. This milestone represents a significant individual achievement and also offers a moment of collective celebration for residents across the region, as the potential of a university in the north, for the north continues to be realized,” says UNBC President Dr. Geoff Payne.  “We are also excited that circumstances have changed to allow students to gather and celebrate graduation with their classmates, as well as their families and friends that were so supportive during their academic journey.”

UNBC will grant nearly 750 credentials during the 2022 Convocation with five graduation events in four northern B.C. communities. The official convocation ceremonies begin Friday, May 27 in Prince George, followed by celebrations in Terrace, Gitwinksihlkw, and Quesnel.

To facilitate the return to in-person ceremonies, UNBC has modified some aspects of the events including the size of the platform parties and the introduction of digital programs. Planning is also underway for an event in the fall to celebrate the Classes of 2020 and 2021, grant honorary degrees, and hold the installation ceremony for UNBC President Dr. Geoff Payne.

This year’s valedictorians are Mackenzie Bouchard Hooker and Dyra Pridham. Bouchard Hooker will receive a Master of Education degree, her third UNBC credential. She will address her classmates during the morning ceremony.
Pridham will receive a Master of Business Administration degree and address her classmates during the afternoon ceremony.

May 27 – Prince George – Ceremony 1

UNBC’s 29th Convocation begins with the first student procession from the Bentley Centre to the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre at 9 a.m. Ceremony 1 is scheduled to finish at 11:45 a.m. and students will gather immediately afterward for their class photo on the ceremonial stairs in the Agora Courtyard.

Several awards and honours will be presented during Ceremony 1:

  • Founding Faculty member and English Professor Dr. Dee Horne will be bestowed the title of Professor Emerita for her outstanding commitment to UNBC since 1992.
  • First Nations Studies Acting Chair and English Associate Professor Dr. Blanca Schorcht was initially appointed South-Regional Chair in Quesnel. Dr. Schorcht will be bestowed the title of Professor Emerita for her outstanding commitment to UNBC since 2004.
  • Zoe Kore will receive the Governor General’s Silver Medal, which recognizes outstanding academic achievement at the undergraduate level.
  • Kore is graduating with a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree with a major in Biomedical Studies and a minor in General Business. In 2020, Kore received the Premier’s Consultation on Improved Cancer Care in Northern B.C. Scholarship, which is awarded to an undergraduate student who exhibits academic excellence and an interest in research involving cancer treatment and patient experience. Kore will be attending the Vancouver Fraser Medical Program at UBC beginning in August 2022, with the goal of becoming a physician.

May 27 – Prince George – Ceremony 2

The class photo for students in Ceremony 2 will take place at 1:15 p.m. at the ceremonial stairs in the Agora Courtyard, followed by their procession from the Bentley Centre to the Northern Sport Centre at 2 p.m. Ceremony 2 is scheduled to finish at 4:30 p.m.

Several awards and honours will be presented during Ceremony 2:

  • Ecosystem Science and Management Professor Dr. William McGill, who retired in 2021, will be bestowed the title of Professor Emeritus for his outstanding commitment to UNBC since 2001.
  • Viktor Slat will receive the Governor General’s Gold Medal, which recognizes outstanding academic achievement at the graduate level. Slat was selected this year’s recipient for his commitment to science and the exceptional quality of his thesis, which he defended in August 2021. His research project sought to explore the farthest reaches of the molecular world, specifically in the domain of ribonucleic acid (RNA).
  • Slat will be graduating with a Master of Science degree in Biochemistry.

May 30 – Northwest (Terrace) – Skeena Valley Golf & Country Club – 11 a.m.

Fourteen students will graduate this year.

Please note: The location of this year’s graduation event has changed from the R.E.M. Theatre to the Skeena Valley Golf & Country Club.

May 31 – Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a Institute – Ts’oohl Ts’ap Memorial Hall – 2 p.m.

Thirteen students will receive Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a Institute-UNBC credentials this year, including two students who will earn Bachelor of Arts degrees in First Nations Studies.

Eight students will receive Certificates in Nisga’a Language Fluency, two will receive Certificates in Nisga’a Studies and one will receive a Certificate in General First Nations Studies.

The WWNI ceremony will also include graduates from the past two years, as well.  Five students will receive credentials for programs completed in 2021, including four students who earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in First Nations Studies and one student who earned a Certificate in Nisga’a Studies. Ten students who graduated in 2020 will receive their credentials, including five students who earned Certificates in General First Nation Studies, four students who earned Certificates in Nisga’a Studies, and one who earned a Certificate in Nisga’a Language Fluency.

June 3 – South-Central (Quesnel) – Quesnel campus 1 p.m.

Twelve students will be receiving their Bachelor of Nursing degrees during this year’s graduation ceremonies at UNBC’s South-Central campus in Quesnel.

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