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May9WedBooth UC grants 61 certificates and degrees to students May 9, 2012
With the words of the opening congregational song, “In the name of Christ we gather, out of love we seek His will,” the capacity crowd in the Clifford Hetherington Chapel welcomed the beginning of a day of worship, reflection and celebration as Booth University College held its 30th graduation ceremonies.
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- Territorial News
Anticipation had been growing as the graduates and their families, the Board of Trustees and other friends of the graduates and Booth University College filled the Chapel. To the opening refrains of music, Booth UC President, Dr. Donald Burke, led the colourful procession of Salvation Army leaders and Booth staff and faculty attired in their academic robes. The combination of Salvation Army uniforms and formal academic regalia signified the drawing together of faith and learning in the mission of Booth University College.
The Baccalaureate Service on Sunday morning of Convocation Day is a time of worship, reflection and exhortation as the graduating students both look back upon their time of study and look forward to the next phase of their journey. In his opening remarks, Dr. Burke stressed the unique role of Booth University College as it brings together a deep Christian faith, the heritage of The Salvation Army and the rigours of academic study.
After the invocation by Colonel Floyd Tidd, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, three graduating students offered reflections upon their time of study. Laura Milette, Nanci-Lynne Bell and Major Michael Hennessy each spoke in a unique way about their experience as students and described how their studies had shaped them. They testified to the importance of their faculty mentors and of the support of family and friends. Immediately after the graduates' reflections, all graduating students were invited to present roses to two individuals who had supported them in their studies. As the congregation sang, students circulated throughout the Chapel to exchange roses and hugs with family members, friends, professors and others who hold a special place in their hearts. This moment of thanksgiving signalled that success in their studies rested upon the active and generous support of others.
Commissioner Rosalie Peddle read from 2 Timothy 4:1-8, preparing the way for Commissioner Brian Peddle's message. As Chancellor of Booth University College, the Territorial Commander exhorted students to make their lives count. He encouraged them to persevere in the face of challenges and to finish well. The congregation responded to the Commissioner's message by singing a song which includes the words:
Lord of all being, I give you my all;
If e'er I disown you I stumble and fall;
But sworn in glad service your Word to obey
I walk in your freedom to the end of the way.
The Baccalaureate Service concluded with a united sending prayer, “Jesus, now lead us on.”
On Sunday afternoon, the celebrations moved to the historic Knox United Church, just a short distance from the Booth University College campus. Supported by the Winnipeg East Community Church Band, the academic procession made its way into the sanctuary. After the singing of the national anthem, some opening remarks by the President and the Invocation by Commissioner Brian Peddle, Bachelor of Social Work graduate Kris Kenemy took the podium. He was chosen by his peers to represent them as valedictorian at the 2012 Convocation. In his remarks, Kenemy struck just the right tone—thanking Booth UC faculty and staff for their investment of time with the graduating class, thanking family and friends for their unstinting support and thanking his classmates for their friendship during the years of study.
A moving moment in the valedictory address came when Kenemy related how he thought that he would not be admitted to the Bachelor of Social Work program because his previous grades were not high enough. However, he was given a second chance, permitted to prove his ability by taking courses and then allowed to enter the program. The result was that he graduated from Booth “with great distinction,” the highest level of achievement possible. The faith that Social Work Program Director, Professor Bonnie Bryant, showed in Kenemy when she granted him an opportunity to prove his ability was amply rewarded!
The Convocation speaker this year was the Honourable Mr. Justice Thomas Davis of Montreal. Mr. Justice Davis has a long record of service to the community and to The Salvation Army, including his term of membership with the Booth University College Board of Trustees on which he served as 2nd Vice Chair. In his address, Mr. Justice Davis drew upon his experience both as a judge and as a community volunteer to encourage the graduating students to be involved in their community, to make a difference and to use their education to make the world a better place. He exhorted the graduates to be committed to their vocation. Finally, he encouraged them to dream large dreams and to pursue them with passion.
The Convocation then moved to its highly anticipated climax as the certificates and degrees were awarded. In his role as Chancellor, Commissioner Brian Peddle awarded eighteen certificates to students who had completed the Certificate in Chaplaincy/Spiritual Care program, the Certificate of Christian Studies program or the Certificate in Management program. Then the Chancellor conferred the Bachelor of Arts degree upon a total of nineteen students and the Bachelor of Social Work degree upon twenty-four students. Each degree graduate who was able to be present for the ceremony was hooded by the President and then received their parchment from the Chancellor.
After the certificates and degrees were presented, the recipients of two special awards were announced. The Chancellor's Medal, given to a graduating Winnipeg campus student who has achieved a high academic standing and who has contributed to the life of the university college community and the wider community, was awarded to Laura Milette of Abbotsford, B.C. Captain William Stanger of Elliot Lake, Ont., was announced as the winner of The General's Medal, which is given to an extended learning degree graduate who has achieved a high academic standing and who has demonstrated potential for leadership and an understanding of the distinctive ministry and theology of The Salvation Army, including the doctrine of holiness. The General's Medal is awarded by the General on the recommendation of the President of Booth University College.
A Dedicatory Prayer by Major Wendy Swan drew together the themes of the afternoon and implored God's continued guidance and blessing upon the graduates. After a rousing rendition of “I'll go in the strength of the Lord,” the graduates left the church for a celebratory reception at Booth University College.
This year's ceremony marked the 30th year that Booth University College has awarded certificates and degrees to students. While the legacy of this graduating class will not be known for many years, the legacy of Booth as an educational institution of The Salvation Army continues to grow.
Photo: The 2012 Booth University College graduating class. In the front row are Dr. Donald Burke, Booth UC President; Mr. Justice Thomas Davis, Convocation Speaker; Commissioner Brian Peddle, Chancellor; Colonel Floyd Tidd, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees; Major Ian Swan, Vice President Academic and Dean.