Convocation: Threshold of a New Beginning

With excitement and trepidation, Grebel returned to an in-person Convocation service (that was also livestreamed) after a two-year hiatus. This April 10th event marked tremendous achievements and celebrated the hard work and dedication of Grebel’s graduate, academic, and residence students. It was an ending, but also the beginning of a new journey. 

“This is a ceremony that will have solemn moments, but you can be both solemn and joyful at the same time,” said President Marcus Shantz. “We’re here to say thank you to each other. Graduation is an individual accomplishment and it’s right and proper for all of you to be individually proud of yourselves.”

Mary BZ giving a speech at the 2022 ConvocationMary Brubaker-Zehr who has served the Grebel community for 26 years as the Director of Student Services will be retiring in July. She gave this year’s inspiring convocation address. “I will remember this cohort for its courage, resilience, and its ability to make lemonade out of lemons,” said Mary. “You faced a lot, folks! You have completed your studies in extraordinary times with unique markers. Markers like the Black Lives Matter movement, markers like a global pandemic, markers like the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves of nameless Indigenous children, and the current heart-wrenching war in Ukraine. I believe there are probably inner markers and private markers for each of you.” Part of her address focused on five gifts, including a Grebel mug, a peace dove, and Lego. She encouraged students to hold onto hope, keep building on what they’ve started, seek meaning over happiness, and to determine their own gifts, unique to each person. She ended, “So, here’s to you, the class of 2022, go well, go blessed, and go gifted.”

Peter Bondi giving a speechManagement Engineering graduate Peter Bondi was this year’s undergraduate valedictorian. “It only takes a few words to change the world,” said Peter. “We are here on the threshold of a new beginning. Some of us are working, others continuing our studies, and still others are taking some time to figure it all out. Wherever we go, know that we go forward touched by this one-of-a-kind experience. It only takes a few words to change the world and I think it’s time to say a few words of our own.” 

Jesse Matas on video callThe graduate valedictorian was Jesse Matas, a Master of Peace and Conflict Studies graduate, who delivered his speech via video. “I must admit, entering the wider world, leaving the Conrad Grebel bubble especially, makes me appreciate the lenses we used in Peace and Conflict Studies,” expressed Jesse. “Despite the challenges of COVID-19 and not being able to meet in person, I feel as though I’ve learned so much from my friends and colleagues in this program. We’ve been able to do this because we’re encouraged to bring ourselves to it.”
“On behalf of the Grebel community, it is an honour to congratulate and say goodbye to the graduating class of 2022,” added Marcus. “If you have taken just one thing from your years at Grebel, I hope it’s the conviction that no one is an island and that no one stands alone. You belong to a living web of relationships, connections, and mutuality.”