Global Social Impact Journeys: International Development Ring Ceremony

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Convocation is a coming together.    

It is a coming together of students, family, and friends to celebrate achievements, to highlight successes along academic journeys, to commemorate moving on to an exciting new chapter.  It is a recognition of shared trials and tribulations, of overcoming obstacles and navigating rocks in one’s path.

On June 13, 2023, four International Development (INDEV) students who completed their final year requirements came together at a special ceremony at United College that preceded the Faculty of Environment convocation at the University of Waterloo.  This ceremony was presided over by United College Chancellor, Michaëlle Jean.

International development graduates with Academic Dean, John Abraham, Michaelle Jean and professors

Three of the four International Development students who attended the ceremony recently returned from an 8-month overseas field placement to be together for this special occasion. The placements are an integral part of the International Development program and prepare students for a life of social impact globally and locally, helping them meet challenges of the present and future. Placement locations for the 2023 graduating class included Kampala, Uganda, Lilongwe, Malawi, and Hanoi, Vietnam.

The highlight of any graduation is that special moment when a student hears their name called, and they walk across the stage. For students in the International Development program, a collaboration between United College and the Faculty of Environment, this special moment also involves the awarding of rings.

The INDEV rings represent a coming together. They are a celebration of the interconnectedness of students and of the tight-knit United College community. They are a reminder that no matter how far students and alumni journey, they will always be part of the United College family.

New rings, unveiled for the 2023 graduating class, incorporate the new United College name and branding (formerly St. Paul’s), and include a map of the world, a continuation of previous years’ designs.  The silver of the rings is ethically sourced, which is consistent with the values of United College and the International Development program.     

The new INDEV rings are a visual connection to the scope of students’ academic training. They are a reminder to maintain a global perspective, even when acting locally

John Abraham, Academic Dean of United College.

The INDEV ring ceremony is a unique send-off that allows students to commemorate and cement life-long bonds before continuing their social impact journeys. The rings themselves are a tie that binds, reminding graduates of their achievements, of all they have overcome, and that pull them back to their United College family, to where it all began. 

Students awarded INDEV rings in 2023 include Abbigail Hamre, Veta Parco, Sarah Harvey, Samreen Rasheed and Ella Stewart.  Ella received recognition in absentia.

Veta Parco and Abbigail Hamre.

Article originally published in the University of Waterloo’s “Daily Bulletin” on July 6th, 2023 (here).