While fall is undoubtedly a bustling time on the University of Waterloo campus, for many Warriors who have reached the convocation milestone, it is also a time to reflect and celebrate the proud ending to a significant chapter in one's life.

One such graduate of this year's fall convocation is Patricia Ofili, an international student from Nigeria, who completed a master’s in Rhetoric and Communication Design at the University of Waterloo in 2013 and then continued on to doctoral studies. Earlier this year, she successfully defended her dissertation: “Contextual Complexities and Nelson Mandela's Braided Rhetoric” and will be proudly participating in Waterloo’s upcoming 119th convocation.

“It feels fulfilling to be graduating with a doctorate degree from a prestigious university like the University of Waterloo,” says Ofili. “My academic journey has been most gratifying because the highly qualified professors and excellent library resources made the writing and defense of my dissertation easier than it otherwise would have been.”

Patricia Ofili holding bouqet and degree

Patricia Ofili


“When I arrived in 2013 to do a master’s degree, I felt like a fish out of water because the academic culture was totally different from what I had experienced in my country, Nigeria,” she said.

However, Ofili said that all the feelings of being lost quickly evaporated with the readily available help as well as the open-mindedness of staff, faculty and colleagues.

“By the time I commenced with my Ph.D. program, the University of Waterloo had become my home.”

Convocation is a special time at the University of Waterloo as our new graduates take the time to reflect on their accomplishments and look to the future. It is also a time for our community to celebrate this tremendous milestone in the lives of our students as they take the next step in their journey.

- Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor

Joanna Sinn headshot

Joanna Sinn

Joanna Sinn is also graduating this fall after beginning her undergraduate studies in Waterloo’s Health Studies co-op program in 2008. In her work placements, Joanna was able to learn research and project management skills and had hands-on experience working with clinicians and administrators to improve hospital processes.


Showing interest in applied research early on, she was encouraged to pursue graduate studies and was connected with Dr. John Hirdes, fast-tracking to the PhD program in 2013.

“Having completed both my university degrees at Waterloo, graduating feels like the closing of a long chapter,” said Sinn. “I’ve grown so much personally and professionally and much of it is thanks to the support I’ve received from my peers, colleagues and mentors.”

As part of Joanna’s research assistantships, she provided analytical support to several health care organizations, including Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. She also co-developed a decision support tool that was adopted by Ontario’s publicly funded home care system.

“At the end of this chapter, I feel excited and prepared to contribute to our health care system,” explained Sinn. She advises other students who wish to pursue similar paths to “seek out resources and support from others” along the way.  

This October, the University of Waterloo is honoured to announce the achievements of approximately 1,500 graduates who will receive their academic hoods and official diplomas over the course of four ceremonies.

With 3,600 cupcakes and more than 60 volunteer staff filling 130 roles, excitement is in the air as Waterloo prepares to welcome families, friends and special guests to celebrate in the Physical Activities Complex (PAC) gymnasium on main campus.

Fall ceremonies will begin with students from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences and the Faculty of Science the morning of Friday, October 25, followed by the Faculty of Environment and the Faculty of Mathematics that afternoon. The Faculty of Arts convocation ceremonies will follow on the morning of Saturday, October 26 and the Faculty of Engineering students will graduate in ceremonies in the afternoon. A complete ceremony schedule is also available online.

Honorary doctorates, distinguished professor emeriti and honorary University members will also be acknowledged during the ceremonies. These recipients will be recognized by the University for their outstanding achievements whether academic or through service to society. A full list of the honorees’ names and their accomplishments can be found online.

Congratulations to Patricia, Joanna and every #UWaterlooGrad on all of their hard work and accomplishments.