Spring 2024 Convocation ceremonies saw family, friends, staff and faculty come together to recognize students for their hard work and perseverance during some of the world’s most challenging circumstances. 

For five consecutive days, across 14 ceremonies, Waterloo’s campus was full of beaming pride and jubilation. The 128th convocation was made even more special with the University officially ushering its 250,000th graduate across the stage. This major milestone was achieved during the Faculty of Arts ceremony on Thursday, June 13.  

“Last week, our community crossed the threshold of a quarter of a million alumni of the University of Waterloo globally. As our new graduates transition to alumni, they help our institution achieve global impact by forming an important connection between Waterloo and their local communities,” says Vivek Goel, president and vice-chancellor. “Each new graduate is among the future leaders and changemakers who can help address global challenges and build a better future for humanity and our planet.”  

Behind the scenes making everything run smoothly were ambassadors, ushers, wayfinders, stage support and accessibility assistants, comprised of 115 staff and alumni volunteers and 92 students, who served thousands of Waterloo graduates and their families.   

Relive the celebration 

A total of 201 PhD, 1,036 master’s and 5,668 undergraduate degrees were conferred to new alumni during the Spring 2024 Convocation. Here are some of the memorable moments from the ceremonies.  

Saying goodbye to Dominic Barton

At the June 13 ceremony, University Secretary Genevieve Gauthier-Chalifour presented Dominic Barton for the conferment of the title Chancellor Emeritus. As Barton concludes his term, his contributions to the global business community continue to resonate. Barton is a staunch advocate for Waterloo and experiential education, recognizing its critical role in bridging the talent gap in the business world. He believes that Waterloo exemplifies this approach through its extensive co-operative education program, which blends academic learning with real-world experience.  

Towards the conclusion of his term as chancellor, we launched Global Futures in Focus with Dominic Barton, a podcast series that explores how the Waterloo community addresses complex issues across 

Waterloo's chancellor Dominic Barton (right) and president Vivek Goel (left)

Dominic Barton (right) during his last ceremony as chancellor presiding over University of Waterloo convocations.

A word of encouragement 

Faculty of Mathematics valedictorian Gurakam Singh Pabla (BMAth ’24) reflected on his journey through spoken word poetry. He shared stories of perseverance and encouraged his peers of new graduates to never forget the ones who helped them along the way.  

Gurakam Singh Pabla

View Pabla's valedictorian speech on YouTube.

‘Class of 2024, the world awaits you’ 

Olla Obied (BSc ’24), an international student from Sudan and valedictorian from the Faculty of Science, shared words of inspiration during her address.  

“I am constantly inspired and reminded of the kindness, empathy and compassion the community and friends have shown me during my time at the University, especially in a world often plagued by division and strife. More than ever, it is our duty to show love wherever we go … to be a beacon of hope, positivity and understanding in the lives of others, and to make a difference. Class of 2024, the world awaits you. 

“You who is courageous enough to challenge its limitations. You who defy the odds. And you, who pushes the limits of what’s possible.”

Olla Abied

View Obied's valedictorian speech on YouTube.

It’s never too late

After not completing the requirements for his Bachelor of Mathematics degree in 1984 with just two course credits outstanding, Frank Gifford (BMath ’20) went on to start his own successful business Penny Lane Software that same year. But determined to complete what he started 46 years earlier, Frank returned to Waterloo in winter 2020 and successfully passed an elective course to finally satisfy his degree requirement. With a global pandemic now behind us, Frank crossed the stage on Wednesday, June 12. His brother, Larry, who completed the same program in 1974 and graduated almost 50 years to the day, was present to support Frank for this momentous achievement.

Frank Gifford with his brother Larry at Convocation in 1974 and 2024

Photos: Frank Gifford (left) with his brother Larry (right) at Spring 2024 Covocation, and Frank (left) at his brother Larry's (right) convocation in 1974. 

Waterloo researchers, students and alumni approach challenges differently. We anticipate our newest cohort of alumni will unlock barriers by working together to develop creative approaches across disciplines for a better future. 

Congratulations to the Class of 2024, and welcome to Waterloo’s distinguished global network of alumni.