Congrats to our new graduates

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

History convocation 2014: A reflection

This is a moment to celebrate and to be proud. On June 11, the University of Waterloo community gathered for its annual celebration of the awarding of degrees at its Spring Convocation. It was a joyous day full of family, friends and fellow students, and a significant milestone in the lives of our undergraduates.

The Department of History would like to extend congratulations to all of our graduates; you have come far, and your achievements have been impressive. Our undergraduate History majors and minors, as well as our MA and PhD students, are the reason for our very existence as a department. And whatever differences and diversity exists among faculty with regards to teaching and research, the one thing that unites all of us together is our love of working with students.

This year, we proudly bid farewell to 78 undergraduate History majors and minors. Yours has been a diverse cohort. Collectively, you have impressed us immensely with your dedication to learning and the overall quality of your work.  From the time we encountered you in our big first-year courses, all the way to the smaller, more one-on-one connections made in third-year classes and fourth-year seminars, we’ve had the privilege of seeing you evolve and mature as scholars.

Unfortunately, due to space constraints, we cannot name all of you here. Nevertheless, we would like to single out a few of you for your outstanding achievements. Namely, the Department of History would like to congratulate History major Beier Lin, the recipient of the History Department Distinguished Undergraduate Award. The award is in recognition of the best essay submitted in a History Senior Seminar. Beier came to Waterloo from Nanjing, China, as part of the 2+2 Program, an exchange program between the University of Waterloo and Nanjing University. The consensus among those who have had the fortune of working with Beier is that she is an engaged, committed and hard working student with a deep love of all things historical. She has set a shining example for the graduating class of 2014, and we congratulate her on her remarkable accomplishments here at the University of Waterloo!

We would also like to single out the two runners up for the Distinguished Undergraduate Award, Megan Heesaker and James Cooper. Well done Megan and James! In such an outstanding cohort as this, standing out as academic stars is no small feat, and Beier, Megan and James left a striking impression with their original research and eloquent prose. Congratulations to the three of you!

Graduation cap and diplomaWe would also like to extend heartfelt congratulations to our ten MA recipients: Paul Benneyworth, Matt Ferguson, Brendan Donelson, Daniel Greanya, Yang Li, Chris Malott, James Rinn, Michael Slusarczyn and Rebecca Weir. You’ve all done a splendid job!

Finally, we reserve the last and perhaps most awe-filled congratulations to our new doctors, those who have completed the requirements of the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in History in the past year. This one is a particularly long haul. It requires years of dedication, determination, onerous work, lots of research and writing, and more than a few lonely moments of solitary endeavour. Those who have received this degree have shown the most rigorous and sustained commitment to scholarly work imaginable. Therefore, we wish to congratulate the following PhD recipients, and we will include the names of their dissertations, their thesis defence dates, and supervisors:

  • Jan Raska, “Freedom's Voices: Czech and Slovak Immigration to Canada during the Cold War” (defended May 22, 2013). Supervisor: Marlene Epp
  • Mark Sweeney, “The Canadian War Crimes Liaison Detachment - Far East and the Prosecution of Japanese "Minor" War Crimes” (defended November 5, 2013). Supervisor: Whitney Lackenbauer
  • Scott Harrison, “The Cold War and Indigenous Peoples” (defended April 14, 2014). Supervisor: Kimie Hara
  • Jonathan Crossen, “Decolonization, Indigenous Internationalism, and the World Council of Indigenous Peoples” (defended May 12, 2014). Supervisor: Dan Gorman
  • Luke Stewart, “‘A New Kind of War’: The Vietnam War and the Nuremberg Principles, 1964-1968” (defended May 22, 2014). Supervisor: Andrew Hunt

To all of our graduates, we extend the warmest wishes for a bright future, sincere thanks for a rewarding experience working with you, and a genuine hope that you will stay in touch with us. We are proud of you.