News

June 28, 2022 | Alumni

In photos: Graduating students celebrate – in-person – at U of T's spring convocation

By Geoffrey Vendeville

A diverse group of graduates, some wearing masks, walk by Convocation Hall, laughing, in their academic robes.

(Photo by Johnny Guatto)


The University of Toronto campus was the site of smiles, selfies and cheers as graduating students celebrated convocation in person for the first time since 2019.

More than 15,500 graduates crossed the stage at Convocation Hall to receive their degrees, continuing a tradition that has gone on more than a century. And a new element was introduced to the ceremonies this year: an Eagle Feather Bearer who symbolizes U of T's commitment to reconciliation.

The 32 ceremonies, held throughout the month of June, even drew camera crews to campus – not to mention leading figures such as Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri (Hon LLD 2022), one of several honorary degree recipients. 

When U of T Scarborough students graduated on June 10, CBC was there to chronicle the moment

“Given the state of the pandemic and the guidance that we have from public health agencies, we believe this is a safe time to do it – and we know that our students really want to get back in person,” U of T President Meric Gertler told the broadcaster earlier in the month.

Toronto Life magazine also interviewed graduates about how they felt walking across the stage at convocation. Meanwhile, U of T Mississauga's class valedictorian Aishwarya Nair (BSc 2022 UTM), who came to U of T from India on a prestigious Lester B. Pearson Scholarship, spoke to CBC's Metro Morning about her path to graduation, as did Edmund Shalhoub (BASc 2022) from U of T’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, who fled the civil war in Syria

There was even a mariachi band, which U of T Vice-President and Provost Cheryl Regehr shared on her Instagram account. 

 

U of T photographers were also on hand at convocation to document graduates’ much-anticipated return to campus as they marked the closing of one chapter and the beginning of another. Here are some of their favourite shots:


Graduates in gowns and masks wave happily as they line up to enter Convocation Hall.
(Photo by David Lee)

After more than a year of remote learning, U of T students make their way into Convocation Hall for one of 32 in-person convocation ceremonies.

 

Lindsey Fechtig, holding the Eagle Feather in both hands, leads the convocation procession.
(Photo by Steve Frost)

U of T alumna Lindsey Fechtig (MEd 2015), manager of the Office of Indigenous Health in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and a member of Curve Lake First Nation near Peterborough, Ont., was the University's first-ever Eagle Feather Bearer.

“To be in this position of privilege and just having the faculty honour this, and the institution honour our ways of knowing and doing, and our culture – the significance of this is huge,” she said.

William Robins, wearing embroidered academic robes, holds up his phone to snap graduates in line.
(Photo by Lisa Sakulensky)

William Robins (DGrt 1985 WDW), president of Victoria University in the University of Toronto and a professor of English and Medieval Studies, snaps a photo outside of Convocation Hall. 

Jim Cuddy plays guitar on stage at Convocation Hall while dignitaries clap.
(Photo by Lisa Sakulensky)

Jim Cuddy (Hon LLD 2022), a founding member of Blue Rodeo and an acclaimed solo artist and philanthropist, regaled graduates with a performance of his song, “Good News.” He was awarded a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for his charitable work and contributions to Canadian music.

A graduate in robe and masks raises her hands and laughs, sitting in the audience at Convocation Hall.
(Photo by Lisa Sakulensky)

While graduates celebrated their achievements inside Convocation Hall, the ceremonies were also livestreamed online and can be re-watched on U of T’s YouTube channel (which tens of thousands of people did).

Jenny Blackbird plays a handheld drum on stage at Convocation Hall as dignitaries listen.
(Photo by Lisa Sakulensky)

Jenny Blackbird, a Nehiyaw and Finnish-Canadian artist and musician who is Indigenous Student Life co-ordinator at U of T, performed an honour song at the ceremony in which Métis and Blackfoot award-winning architect Douglas Cardinal (Hon LLD 2022) received a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

A woman sitting in the Convocation Hall audience holds a colourful balloon with the words, Congrats grad!
(Photo by Lisa Sakulensky)

A graduate’s loved ones show their pride inside Convocation Hall. After the ceremony, students, their families and friends streamed onto Galbraith Road to celebrate and take pictures.

A laughing student in graduation robes and mask waves a paper fan with the text #done.
(Photo by Lisa Sakulensky)

A big fan of convocation, this U of T grad found an original way to cool off at the ceremony. 

People in an audience hold up phones to film the Convocation Hall stage.
(Photo by Lisa Sakulensky)

Audience members captured photos and videos of graduates as they cross the stage in Convocation Hall.

A man and a woman smile happily at each other in a crowd of graduates and family outside Convocation Hall.
(Photo by Johnny Guatto)

With degrees in hand, graduates connect with friends and family following their ceremonies. 

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