Party atmosphere at grad

UBC president Santa Ono made sure everyone had a good time during graduation ceremonies at UBC Okanagan.

Over the past two days, more than 1,650 students attended six convocation ceremonies at the Kelowna campus.

Ono, attending his first convocation at UBCO since becoming president last summer, addressed each ceremony.

“This is my favourite part of my job. And I have a pretty fun job,” Ono told the audience Thursday.

“This day is all about you and what you have achieved through your hard work, imagination and inspiration.”

He made sure everyone was having as much fun as he was.

Each ceremony was different as he organized harmonized chants, invited students on stage to sing, pitched a football into the crowd, and encouraged the entire audience, including faculty and dignitaries, to do the wave.

He congratulated the students and encouraging them to make changes in the world that will not only benefit them, but society as a whole. He spoke of the success of previous graduates, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and welcomed graduating class of 2017 to the UBC family of alumni which spans the globe.

On Thursday, Canadian artist Alex Janvier was presented with an honorary degree. Janvier, who was sent to a residential school as a child, talked about learning concepts foreign to him like “a dad who went to work in a car, a dog named spot and Donald Duck.”

It was at residential school where his artistic talent was recognized and, despite the hardship there, he went on to receive formal training from the Alberta College of Art in Calgary and graduated with honours in 1960. Immediately after graduation, he began to instruct art at the University of Alberta.

Janvier described himself as someone once labelled the ‘least likely to succeed.’ He’s now a celebrated artist and the recipient of the Order of Canada, among many other accolades. Janvier impressed upon the students to always believe in themselves.

“I believed in myself and I was so happy to be able to hold a paintbrush and create art that came from a deep place in my soul,” he said. “I leave you with a few words. Be bold, create, dare to be fearless…go forward graduates.”

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