Red Deer Polytechnic celebrated its graduates at convocation ceremonies Friday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Red Deer Polytechnic celebrated its graduates at convocation ceremonies Friday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Graduates celebrated at Red Deer Polytechnic’s convocation

Red Deer Polytechnic celebrated its graduates with the first in-person convocation ceremony since 2019.

Throughout the morning and afternoon ceremonies, almost 500 of the 1,480 eligible graduates from 2022 crossed the stage at RDP’s 58th convocation and nearly 50 graduates from the previous two years will also be part of the day.

“The energy is amazing and a lot of students have said this is a big deal to punctuate their educate,” said Guy Pelletier, RDP board chair.

This was the first convocation for the post-secondary institution as a polytechnic.

“It’s something that’s really valuable for our students moving forward,” said Jim Brinkhurst, RDP interim president.

The future is bright at RDP, Brinkhurst added.

“This has been an exciting year for us as the first year as a polytechnic. Just look at what we’ve been able to accomplish: five new degrees that we can offer in this region,” he said.

“We have a number of other credentials that we’ve been offered this year that are brand new. We also have a huge growth in international learners in our institution, which creates tremendous opportunities. And we just received recent approval for an additional 700 seats in a number of our programs that actually had waiting lists.”

Jan Underwood, who celebrated her 20th anniversary working with CARE for Newcomers (formerly known as the Central Alberta Refugee Effort), received an honorary degree at the convocation ceremony.

“I’m overwhelmed to be honest. I really appreciated being nominated, but I really didn’t expect to receive it. There are so many other worthy people,” Underwood said.

“It’s nice because it’s a recognition of the work I’ve been doing for the last 20 years or so. It’s nice for people to acknowledge that you have made a difference, which was always my goal.”

In her role as public awareness coordinator/community educator, Underwood has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to developing greater inclusion and intercultural awareness across communities in central Alberta, RDP said in a statement.

Justice Studies graduate Brandon MacLean was the recipient of the Governor General’s Academic Bronze Medal, which is awarded to a graduate with the highest grade point average.

MacLean earned eight grades of A+ and graduated with a GPA of 4.0 in his final year.

Kylie Thomas, RDP vice-president of academic and provost, said earning the medal speaks to MacLean’s “dedication and hard work” throughout his program.

“Brandon has identified that receiving this medal is a highlight for him and, when he reflects on his time at Red Deer Polytechnic, he also notes the importance of his classmates, friends and instructors in Justice Studies,” said Thomas.

“Brandon’s achievements and the connections he has made are very meaningful to him, and we are so proud that – as an institution – we have had the opportunity to be part of his journey.”

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