Campus Life  

Together, from afar: an Okanagan College graduation ceremony unlike any other

Kenzie Gorjanc

In a year unlike any other, Okanagan College student Kenzie Gorjanc found herself adapting to new ways of learning to complete her education.

On Jan. 23, she will join more than 2,000 OC students who will don virtual caps and gowns as they are recognized during the College’s first-ever online convocation ceremony.

Graduates, along with their family, friends and supporters in the community are invited to tune in and watch the pre-recorded virtual ceremony starting at 10:30 a.m. next Saturday. To view the ceremony and learn more, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/virtualconvocation.

The ceremony will see credentials conferred on students across all programs including Arts, Science, Business, Technologies, Trades and Health and Social Development.

Viewers can also visit the webpage in advance to leave messages of congratulations via a digital guest book, pre-order flowers for a graduate with a special discount code or to purchase a commemorative gift.

When the pandemic hit last year, the College was forced to take many of its programs wholly online and postpone its in-person convocation ceremonies.

The transition to online learning didn’t get in the way of Gorjanc’s academic success. The Psychology student completed the College’s two-year Associate of Arts Degree in June 2020 with a 93.67 per cent grade average – the highest grade average of any student in the degree program. For her accomplishments, Gorjanc is being awarded the College’s Associate of Arts Degree Academic Medal and graduated with distinction.

“If I could say anything to my peers and professors at the College, it would be a proper goodbye,” she says. “OC was a place where I developed many important relationships and felt a very strong social connection to both my peers and professors. It’s unfortunate that I couldn’t thank them and say goodbye face-to-face.”

Gorjanc will complete her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of British Columbia in Kelowna. She plans to focus her honours thesis in the clinical psychology field and wants to pursue graduate studies in psychiatry or clinical counselling. Her dream is to open a private practice in Kelowna providing clinical counselling to youth and young adults.

OC Kelowna

Students will hear from Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton in his last graduation address before retirement.

“Having presided over more than 60 convocation ceremonies during my time at Okanagan College, I’ve been thinking about this one, my final ceremony as President, for a long time. I never imagined it wouldn’t happen face-to-face,” says Hamilton. “I have witnessed so many times how human beings, when faced with challenges in their private lives, in their communities or on a global scale, will rise to the occasion and apply their energy, skills and intelligence to turn adversity into opportunity. Our students successfully navigated an astonishing amount of change. This resiliency and fortitude will serve them well in the years to come. On behalf of the Okanagan College community, I am honoured to congratulate each of you on your graduation.”

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