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Grads excited about future

Nearly 1,600 students are beginning the next leg of life's journey after receiving degrees this week from UBC Okanagan.

It's the largest graduating class ever at UBC's Kelowna campus.

Convocation ceremonies were held at the school over the past two days culminating with two final ceremonies Friday morning.

In all, the university handed out 21 doctoral degrees, 162 master's degrees and 1,402 undergraduate degrees.

These ceremonies were also the last for outgoing UBC president, Professor Stephen Toope, who is leaving the university after eight years.

He is being replaced by Dr. Arvind Gupta.

UBCO Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Okanagan campus, Deborah Buszard, says crossing the stage is the first step to becoming a fully-fledged UBC alumnus.

“Their education at UBC will take our students places they never imagined,” Buszard said.

“I encourage them all to remain engaged in the life of the university as an alumna or alumnus – upon crossing the Convocation stage they will join a global network of over 300,000 UBC alumni and a growing community of Okanagan campus graduates.”

Students who received degrees Friday spoke of being proud of their accomplishments and excited for the road ahead.

"I was a little emotional but really proud," said Amanda Chamberlain who received her Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

"I'm excited about the future."

Kira Byers, who received her Bachelor of Science degree, is also excited for the future.

"It's unbelievable the last four years went so fast. I can't believe graduation is finally here," said Byers who added she was encouraged by the speeches before receiving her degree.

"It makes me excited for the next step."

Byers will remain in school after being accepted into a Naturopathic Medical School.

"I'm headed there in the fall. I can't wait to do that."

The number of degrees handed out this week almost tripled those in 2006 when 468 were conferred.

-- With files from Carmen Weld.

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