Vancouver Island University students, about to graduate, make their way from the Vancouver Island Conference Centre to the Port Theatre for their convocation ceremony Monday. Hundreds of VIU students will be graduating from convocation ceremonies being hosted at the theatre this week. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

VIU recognizes achievements of Class of 2018 graduates

Vancouver Island University holding convocation ceremonies this week at Port Theatre

Vancouver Island University’s Class of 2018 graduates are ready to go out and make their way in the world.

The university began convocation ceremonies Monday at the Port Theatre, and more will be held Tuesday, June 5, and Wednesday.

About 850 graduates from 55 different programs were slated to walk across the stage this week, noted a VIU press release.

Nneka Otogbolu, a master of business administration and master of science in international management graduate, delivered the valedictory address Monday and said VIU has equipped graduates for the “infinite possibilities, confusing ideas and continuous changes” that await them.

“We should keep pushing forward, we should reach out and not be afraid or too shy to ask for help when we need it, because no one gets through life alone,” she said.

At Monday’s ceremony, Chief Robert Joseph was presented with an honorary degree in recognition of his national leadership role in reconciliation. Others slated to be honoured this week with honorary degrees include librarian Gene Anne Joseph, philanthropists and business people Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia and Sergio Cocchia, and academic exchange head Michael Hawes.

Joseph asked graduates to keep their vision, hope, enthusiasm and inspiration and not become jaded too quickly.

“All I want is to see you manifest all of the things that you have ever wanted for yourselves and your community and families and this country,” he said. “You have the power. It’s within your grasp as young, brilliant people to create our future, the future of this country. You probably don’t think you’re as important as that right now, but you are.”

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VIU chancellor Louise Mandell also gave a speech at the convocation ceremony and asked all the graduates to give themselves a pat on the back for their accomplishments.

“You are in a miraculously auspicious moment, where something of significance is unfolding. All your stars have lined up,” she said. “You are experiencing the outer results of the inner work of change and transformation, where an ending is in fact an opening for a beginning between time gone and time emerging.”

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