Each year, thousands of new graduates and their loved ones descend on campus to celebrate convocation. Waterloo’s June 2022 events were unlike any ceremonies in our history.
A record number of 7,200 new alumni crossed the stage at Spring Convocation this year. It was a special moment for the entire campus community as graduates from 2020, 2021 and 2022 gathered in the Physical Activities Complex (PAC) after two years of virtual celebrations.
“We dealt with failure, disappointment, imposter syndrome and burnout,” said Ellen McGee (BASc ’22), an Engineering valedictorian. “And if you thought our degrees were hard enough with all that, we were thrown into a two-year global pandemic. I don’t think I need to tell anyone here how hard it was.”
For another group of young alumni, the pandemic disrupted more than student life — it also affected their convocation experience. Convocation during the pandemic looked very different for the classes of 2020 and 2021, with no in-person celebrations, no crossing the stage, no flowers or photos outside the PAC. To honour their achievements properly, the University invited these classes back to campus for special convocation celebrations in June. More than 4,000 alumni attended, where they received a one-of-a-kind, limited-run and numbered collage created especially for them.
“Graduation is an incredible milestone in life,” said Sue Grant, interim senior director, Alumni Relations. “We couldn’t let the achievements of our alumni who graduated during the pandemic go without celebrating in person. The excitement, joy and pride were palpable. Thank you to all the alumni and family and friends who shared the moment with us.”
2022 saw another milestone in Waterloo convocations. The Fall Convocation marked the 125th celebration in the history of the University, with the promise of many more milestones to come.
The games are on
The Warriors are BACK with a full slate of games as the black and gold return to a regular schedule this fall for the first time since the pandemic began.
The soccer programs kicked things off for the Warriors in September. The battles continued on Warrior Field with football, rugby and field hockey. Indoor action is in full swing now with hockey, basketball and volleyball currently in play.
For full schedules and to purchase tickets visit gowarriorsgo.ca. Students receive free admission with their WatCard, and alumni can get full access with a Black and Gold Alumni Pass.
Commitment ceremony signals new beginnings
On September 22, 2022, the Indigenous peoples of the University of Waterloo asked Vivek Goel, President and Vice-Chancellor, for a full commitment to reconciliation, Indigenization and decolonization.
In the Commitment Ceremony, the University publicly acknowledged the harm that colonization has caused to Indigenous peoples and committed to meaningful and respectful work towards being an ally to the process of reclaiming Indigenous identity and culture, and decolonization.
“Reclaiming Indigenous ways of knowing and doing is required to achieve meaningful reconciliation,” said Former Chief, Elder and Indigenous Knowledge Keeper, Myeengun Henry, who works with the Faculty of Health. “Colonization has done extensive damage to the spirits of Indigenous peoples and the University has committed to Truth and Reconciliation in its strategic plan, but now the University has the opportunity to ceremonially honour this commitment, as we chart the way forward.”
The ceremony began at sunrise on the fall equinox, signifying the changing seasons, the harvest and the abundance of Mother Earth’s gifts to us. Sunrise Ceremonies also hold spiritual significance, marking a new beginning and an occasion to thank Father Sun for all creation. A Cedar Circle, Pipe Ceremony and traditional feast followed the ceremony.
To Be Honest, it’s time for a new Orientation play
If you attended Waterloo Orientation in the last 30 years, you might remember watching the Single and Sexy play. For many, the play was considered a highlight of the week. A powerful presentation of scenarios and attitudes that first-year students might witness, Single and Sexy was thought-provoking and even politically incorrect to showcase the absurdity of unwanted behaviours and attitudes.
But the needs of first-year students have changed, and a new play took the stage at this fall’s Orientation Week. Like its predecessor, TBH: To Be Honest will tackle a variety of scenarios that first-year students may experience — including homesickness, consent, imposter syndrome and academic integrity. The play will also feature a number of available supports.
In an effort to embrace students, TBH: To Be Honest takes a welcoming, uplifting tone and encourages students to build connections and develop resiliency while attending university.