Pilon School of Business - 2021 Sheridan Convocation - June 29
Welcome to Sheridan’s 57th Convocation! This morning, we are honouring the graduates of the Pilon School of Business. My name is Carol Altilia and I am Sheridan's Provost and Vice-President, Academic. As we gather virtually today, we would like to acknowledge that all of Sheridan’s campuses reside on land that has been, and still is, the traditional territory of several Indigenous nations, including the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Wendat, the Métis, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. Since time immemorial, numerous Indigenous nations and Indigenous peoples have lived and passed through this territory. We recognize this territory is covered by the Dish with One Spoon treaty and the Two Row Wampum treaty, which emphasize the importance of joint stewardship, peace, and respectful relationships. As you may be joining us from different territories, we acknowledge the many diverse nations and territories you are joining from.
Sheridan College affirms that it is our collective responsibility to honour and respect those who have gone before us, those who are here, and those who have yet to come. We are grateful for the opportunity to be learning, working, living and thriving on this land. Congratulations, graduates! Convocation is a major milestone in your life, one made all the more meaningful by the unprecedented challenges that you have had to overcome over the past year. You’ve completed your program during a time when we had to quickly adapt the ways in which we work and learn, lacked a sense of normalcy and routine, were prevented from gathering and celebrating in person with our friends and family, and faced threats or impacts to our financial stability and security. As we start to see vaccination numbers increase and COVID-19 case rates slowly decrease around the world, we can all take comfort in the knowledge that better is coming.
But as we gather virtually today in celebration and anticipation of a brighter future, we also recognize those who have suffered the greatest loss of all during the pandemic. Sheridan mourns every Canadian who has died from this terrible disease, and we grieve alongside each student, faculty and staff in the Sheridan community who has lost a loved one to COVID-19. We would also like to recognize the Sheridan students who are no longer with us. Though no longer in our midst, their contributions and memories endure. We cherish the moments they had with each and every member of our Sheridan community. Although their time was cut short, they will be remembered in the hearts of everyone – their professors, classmates, friends, and especially their loving families.
To begin our convocation ceremony, please join our new graduates from the Honours Bachelor of Music Theatre, - Performance program, Taurian Teelucksingh and Isabella Wolder, accompanied by Michael Mulrooney, in singing of our National Anthem. O Canada! Our home and native land! True patriot love in all of us command. Car ton bras sait porter l’épée, Il sait porter la croix! Ton histoire est une épopée Des plus brillants exploits.
God keep our land glorious and free! O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. Thank you for that beautiful rendition of O Canada. It’s now my great pleasure to introduce Dr. Janet Morrison, Sheridan’s President and Vice Chancellor to officially launch this Convocation.
Thank you Carol. On behalf of Sheridan, I extend a warm welcome to you, our graduands in the Pilon School of Business, and to your family members and friends who are joining us today for this virtual ceremony. Convocation is an important milestone in our students’ experience.
It’s the culmination of years of hard work and a stepping stone into your future. While I am disappointed, like all of you, that circumstances prevent us from celebrating your achievements in our traditional fashion, the importance of this occasion is undiminished. The last fifteen months have been a learning experience for all of us, and I’m so proud of the determination you have shown in successfully completing your program in the midst of these unprecedented circumstances. Resilience and grit are qualities we strive to nurture in our students, and your success in reaching this point assures me that we are advancing that goal. My colleagues and I are passionate about postsecondary education because we know it transforms people, families and communities.
It’s not just that graduates enjoy higher rates of employment and greater earning power-- it’s that an investment in higher education propels people to be healthier, more engaged, conscious citizens in our democracy – which is more important now than ever before. You are graduating at a time of global economic and political uncertainty. As our Chancellor, Hazel McCallion, will share with you shortly, past generations have also faced unforeseen challenges and risen to the occasion. I’m confident that you, armed with your degree, diploma or certificate, and the overall learning and skills that you have gained from your Sheridan experience, are well-equipped to go forth and make a positive impact. In closing, I would ask you to consider those who have fueled, funded or inspired your learning journey, be they family, friends and/or your professors. They deserve our collective thanks and recognition.
It’s now my pleasure to introduce a brief video message from Sheridan’s Chancellor, Hazel McCallion. Greetings to the graduating class of 2021! To the many family members, friends, staff and faculty joining our virtual audience – welcome. I am glad to be able to share some thoughts with you on this special day. It is a great honour for me to serve as Sheridan’s first-ever Chancellor.
As someone who never had the opportunity to attend college or university, I have a keen appreciation for how meaningful this milestone is for you. And as someone who grew up during the Great Depression and oversaw many changes as Mayor of Mississauga, I also understand what it means to embark on a new journey during a pivotal moment in history. As the class of 2021, you are graduating at a time when our society continues to face a great challenge, one that requires all of us to work together to overcome. And we will – together with you, our newest graduates. It will take hard work, ingenuity, passion, and commitment.
I have no doubt that you are ready, and that Sheridan has prepared you well. You are graduating from one of the most progressive postsecondary institutions in Canada – one that instills in our students a desire and resolve to go out and make a difference in their communities. While this is a moment of unprecedented change in our world, it’s also a moment of great opportunity. There’s everything out there for you – go for it with enthusiasm and dedication, and you will be a success.
I wish you the very best on this next chapter. Thank you so much, Chancellor McCallion, for that inspiring message. It is my honour to introduce Sara Ibrahim, a member of the first graduating class of the Honours Bachelor of Creative Writing & Publishing, and Sheridan’s inaugural Poet Laureate. Sara has successfully published her work in professional literary venues and has been nominated for several national poetry contests. Next year, she will be going on to complete an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. Graduation Spark.
Class of 2021, hello from afar. Welcome to your graduation. This is not the graduation we envisioned. This is not the final year we expected.
This is not the bittersweet end to our school days we yearned for. But our celebratory spark endures, as does the grief that comes with all good endings. We should remember that sparks like all energy does not die it transforms. It grows and winnows into new beginnings. It transmutes all it touches. It alters us even as itself ends.
So yes, Gone, in our celebration, is the pressing of the crowd, gone is the stage. Gone are the echoes of applaud; the cheers of friends and family is soft and far away. Gone is the congratulatory hugs and handshakes. No bouquet taken, and no moment on stage.
What lingers is the tenderness of a last class, the end to life as a student, the shifting hope. A spark that carries on, that burns for just a little bit longer. What remains is the loneliness of a good ending.
Of the embers left at the end of an educational fire. Yes, something intangible is missing. Something in the smoke and fog of a physical celebration. Sure, the electricity of a shared space and time is gone. Our isolated screens both separate and connects us.
We alone we celebrate together. But that spark, that energy of a lingering end and the joy new beginning lives here in this moment. Even in this moment of distant celebration, of stifled joy, let us rekindle the flame and let sweetness overcome.
Hold onto the pride and triumph, that high high that comes with a burning success, Or capture this relief we feel at a hard-earned end, the lingering relief of earning a hard graduation, and finally embrace even the fear-tinged thrill that comes with new beginnings. Here at the end take a moment to remember ourselves in our first fiery school days Think about the light that guided us from a gasping stumbling semester, Remember our shifting journey of a strike, a funding cut, and finally a pandemic. Each one taking some of our number but not our fire. Let us celebrate the journey so filled with burning energy and heat. This is a parade of a wide flung graduating class synchronised together.
The space between us is less than the distances glass can throw its sparking light. Bedroom lights have replaced stage lights, our smiles are the same. Computer screens have supplanted stages, our whispered conversations by dm’s. Our applause is internal, and far away but not less joyous then when out loud and up-close.
Here at the end take a moment to remember ourselves in the early optimistic first days Think about the light that guided us from a gasping first semester, Remember our shifting journey of a strike, a funding cut, and finally a pandemic. Each one taking some of our number but not our fire. A gift of any journey is a satisfying end. A fire, a spark, an ember that keeps its glow. Class of 2021, goodbye and congratulations from afar. Thank you Sara, for your inspiring message.
At this time, I'd like to introduce the Chair of Sheridan’s Board of Governors -- a leader deeply invested in students, learning and graduate outcomes – Mr. John Fleming, to extend greetings from the Board and confer this year's credentials. Thank you Janet. We have been presented with the list of graduands who have successfully completed the curriculum of their chosen program as required by Sheridan’s Board of Governors, and recommended by the Pilon School of Business to be awarded their credentials in recognition of their academic accomplishment. I therefore confer their degrees, diplomas, and certificates on them in absentia, with all the honours, privileges and responsibilities pertaining thereto.
On behalf of the Board of Governors, I want to extend our warmest congratulations to the class of 2021 We are always proud of our Sheridan graduates and never has it been more true - that pride- than this year. Faculty and students alike have had to learn resilience and have had to pivot to an entirely different way of learning and teaching. And so, it's especially wonderful for me to have an opportunity to extend congratulations to the class of 2021 on behalf of the entire Board of Governors.
At this time, I'd like to hand the virtual floor over to Dr. Anne-Liisa Longmore, Dean of the Pilon School of Business, to deliver her remarks and introduce your valedictorian. On behalf of the Pilon School of Business, I'd like to congratulate each of you for completing your respective programs - an accomplishment that represents your resilience, determination and dedication, particularly during these challenging times.
You arrived at Sheridan eager to pursue your passions in business, whether it was wanting to land a great job, make your idea go viral or bring a new solution to a persistent market problem. The collaborative experiences, creative problem-solving skills and entrepreneurial spirit you've gained at Sheridan ensure you depart with the tools you’ll need to navigate a rapidly-changing business world. It's an academic tradition for a representative of the graduating class to speak on behalf of their fellow graduates, looking back on your Sheridan experience and looking forward to the future journey on which you are about to embark. It is my pleasure to introduce this year's valedictorian from the Pilon School of Business, Ashley Vien. Ashley is graduating from the Honours Bachelor of Business Administration- Human Resources Management program.
Ashley passionately writes in her spare time, finding beauty in literature and the art of storytelling. Her life story revolves around her family, who immigrated to Canada from Vietnam. As part of a family who entered a new country, Ashley was faced with a number of challenges and obstacles in her childhood as her family rebuilt their lives and tried to adapt to society. Through hard work, grit, and resilience, she overcame these challenges and became the first in her family to access and complete postsecondary education. As she becomes a Sheridan graduate, she is immensely proud to make her mark on her family history.
I'm honoured to turn the camera over to Ashley, your Pilon School of Business valedictorian! Thank You Dean Longmore for the great introduction. Greetings to our virtual audience and graduating class of 2021! I stand here today honoured to speak on behalf of the graduating class. I have no words for the gratitude I feel to stand here today. Thank you for your time and for this platform to share what today truly means to me. For me, this is not just a stepping stone toward my own future. Today, I’m also proving that the challenges my family and I experienced do not have to haunt me or future generations: instead, they gave me the understanding and motivation to be better.
I come from a broken home and family struggles with addiction and low income other difficulties. But this has only pushed me to be better and to break generational cycles. I know many of you can also relate to this journey. For many of us, today marks a significant transition for ourselves and for our families. Sheridan’s community is so diverse that it is hard to find the correct words to represent all of us.
Sheridan is known for its forward-thinking and innovative techniques to learning, bringing out the creativity in each of us. It allowed us to grow, evolve and gain different skills and experiences. What makes the graduating class of 2021 significant is that we are not the most of one thing but we are a little of everything.
We have some brilliant mathletes, science advocates, entrepreneurial spirits, out-of-the-box artists, and the list goes on. Every single course we have taken has included a group project portion in the curriculum. The reason for that is because each of us brings value to a team. Never forget that you are impactful; you are an asset, and you bring more to the table than you know. Some of us come from nothing, and we are here today; that is called perseverance. Some of us experienced financial struggles, and we are here today; that is called commitment.
Some of us sacrificed for our education, and we are here today; that is called inspiration. Our future may have many unknowns, but we are equipped with so many skills and knowledge that there’s nothing we can’t manage. The person you are today can never be replaced.
Class of 2021, we are different, but and we are stronger because we are different. Today we are ready for the world… and now the world better be ready for us. Thank you and once again congratulations, Class of 2021! Congratulations, Ashley, and thank you for your insightful and inspiring words! I eagerly look forward to hearing about your next success.
At this time, I'd like to introduce our guest speaker, Akil McKenzie. Akil is a gifted director and videographer who graduated from Sheridan's Bachelor of Film and Television program in 2018. As the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Falling Motion, he's worked for various clients: creating music and corporate videos for companies including Nike and Lexus.
In February, he also launched his new film, Historians, which brings together his powerful spoken-word poem that poignantly captures the experience of anti-Black racism. His film has gone viral on social media and was recently featured on CBC's The National. It also won Best Social Justice Film at the Vancouver Independent Film Festival. Thank you for joining us today, Akil! I want to start this-- I'm gonna start that over - ahhh --it's disgusting, I gonna do it again.
Hey, what's up y'all? It's your boy Akil McKenzie on Instagram - Akil.McKenzie if you're trying to follow me on Twitter and I am a twenty eighteen graduate from the Honours of Bachelor of Film and Television. Right now, I currently am in a full-time job running my own media production company, which is called Falling Motion. We shoot like commercials, music videos, weddings, films, all that stuff. I do what I went to school for. So the way I want to start this is by asking if you guys remember 2012.
You know, that's the year where there are all these kinds of predictions that the world was going to end and there were movies and songs all dropping about it and everyone was like, "It's the end of the world and spoiler --we got through it. Now, 2020 comes along and everyone's like, "Yo! The Mayans got it wrong, bro. We read it wrong. It's not supposed to be 2012.
The world's going to end in 2020." And you know what, I'm not going to lie. I thought it was pretty legit because the world looked like it was actually burning. A Global pandemic, political upheaval, human rights were just endangered left, right and centre. And yet, we made it through that year too.
Now, here we are. And I'm speaking with the graduating class of 2021 - yo! That's that's nice. That's a nice year to see you graduate, like 2021 - mmm.
It's good. It sounds good. And you made it through that.
You were a part of that. And now as you graduate, the world's just going to keep burning. It's going to keep happening. But that's OK because as it's already been proven, that does not stop you from shooting for success. Like, look where you are now.
Now when I say success, I don't mean that as career, not lifestyle. I'm talking about happiness. True success is happiness -- for yourself and for those around you. And the way life works, a lot of people aren't given the opportunity to find that success.
Many people aren't in circumstances that encourages that happiness. And that's why it's kind of OK to see the world burn down because it gives us the chance to rebuild. And we are the generation that will take that fire and turn it into light. You finished your time at Sheridan in circumstances that you couldn't have dreamed of when you started. The Sheridan alumni community is so proud of you.
Congratulations, Bruins. Let's shoot for success. You finished your time at Sheridan in circumstances you never could have dreamed of when you started. The Sheridan Alumni community is proud of you.
Congratulations! Congratulations, Bruins and welcome to the alumni community. We’ll be here to cheer you on as you start your career and I can’t wait to see what you’ll accomplish next. Congratulations, Bruins! You’ve worked so hard. Now, it’s your turn to celebrate.
Savour every moment of this exciting time in your life. And welcome to Sheridan Alumni. Thank you so much, Akil – and all of our incredible alumni who continue to support Sheridan. It is now time for that special moment - the virtual presentation of degrees, diplomas and certificates which will be highlighted on each graduand’s slide. But before we begin, I want to speak to the special designations and awards that some of you have received for outstanding academic achievement. Students who achieve a cumulative program grade point average of 3.6 to 3.89 will receive
a light blue Honour Cord in recognition of their Honours status. Students who achieve a cumulative program grade point average of 3.9 to 4.0 will receive a double blue Honour Cord in recognition of their High Honours status. The student in each program with the best academic record overall will be awarded the Board of Governors’ Silver Medal. Those graduates who have completed the Board Undergraduate Certificate in Creativity and Creative Problem Solving in addition to their degree program will also be bestowed the Creativity Honour Cord. This Honour Cord is a symbol of academic achievement and the colour orange represents creativity.
The stole that you will receive, along with your parchment, is a symbol of academic achievement that represents the realization of excellence in your chosen program and symbolizes your membership in the international community of scholars. Any special designations our graduands have received will appear on their individual slide, along with their personal reflection and picture. Our Indigenous graduates will also receive Sweetgrass.
Sweetgrass is one of the four sacred medicines of First Nations communities, along with sage, cedar and tobacco. It is used by many Indigenous communities across North America for ceremonial purposes, smudges, healing and talking circles. The smoke is believed to purify thoughts and physical spaces and to promote wellness. It is often braided with the three sections representing mind, body and soul or love, kindness and honesty. There is a further, institutional honour that we recognize at Convocation each year. The highest academic honour awarded by postsecondary institutions in Canada is the Governor General’s Medal.
This medal recognizes the graduate who has achieved the highest academic record from among the members of the graduating class. We would now like to recognize this year’s recipient. Hello! Good morning! My name is Janet, and I'm Sheridan's President. Do you know why we are here today? Because my mom got the highest score in the whole college? That is awesome. You should be doing this announcement and award.
That is exactly it. So, congratulations! We're so thrilled for you. The Governor General's award is a really big deal. So congratulations, and thank you for choosing Sheridan. We've heard just amazing things from your faculty and we're so proud of you.
Honestly, you carry with you Sheridan's legacy in all that you are going to do and I can't imagine how much work you've invested in this, particularly with two kids at home. So, congratulations! The last year, in particular, couldn't have been easy. Well done! Well done! Congratulations. Congratulations, again, to our graduating class in the Pilon School of Business. We are so proud of you and the 190,000 alumni of this great institution. Please know that as soon as public health directives allow, we hope to offer you the opportunity to cross our stage and celebrate your accomplishment in person.
Until then, on behalf of our entire learning community, I'd like to thank you for choosing Sheridan to advance your educational and life goals! Best of luck in the next step of your journey, and please stay in touch with our incredible Alumni team!