By Rory MacDonald-Gauthier
As thousands began their academic careers with Algonquin this semester, 2,023 of the college’s current students were graduating.
Algonquin College held its Fall Convocation on Oct. 29 at the National Arts Centre for students who completed their programs in the spring and summer semesters this year. Two ceremonies were held that day – one at 2 p.m. for the School of Business, School of Advanced Technology, and the Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence. The other, at 6:30 p.m., featured graduates from the School of Hospitality and Tourism, Police and Public Safety Institute, School of Health and Community Studies and the Faculty of Arts, Media and Design.
A notable aspect of this year’s graduating class is the number of international students that the college has educated. As of Oct. 28, 117 out of the 196 countries in the world have citizens who have attended Algonquin. This ranges from the three campuses in the greater Ottawa area, online learning and the college’s campus in Jazan, Saudi Arabia, which opened its doors to students in Sept. 2013.
“Our international students: You could have chosen to go to any country in the world, and you chose Canada. You could have chosen any college in the country, and you chose Algonquin College,” said Kent MacDonald, President of Algonquin College, during his Fall Convocation speech.
MacDonald then added four brief words with which he felt every student should keep, as a sign of a lesson learned from attending Algonquin.
“From passion, to purpose,” he said. “You cannot graduate from this institute unless you have a passion to learn and a passion to succeed.”
While these are sage words of wisdom bestowed upon students from an advocate of higher education and learning, they are not the only factors in achieving success post-graduation.
Phil Gaudreau, Algonquin’s communication officer and a graduate of the college’s radio broadcasting program, believes that community involvement and public engagement are also key factors to success.
“Networking and taking internship opportunities are absolutely huge,” said Gaudreau in an interview with the Algonquin Times. “(Employers) are always looking for new ways to engage the community and get more people involved, and connect with more charities. I think it’s one of the things that sets us apart. We’re really connected to our community.”
While passion, purpose and networking are crucial aspects of being successful, students must also realize that it’s not always easy after completing their post-secondary education.
Perseverance, diligence, and the acceptance of failure are traits that Russell Mills, Dean of the Faculty Arts of Media and Design, cites.
Mills noted in an interview with the Times that just because you’ve graduated, it doesn’t necessarily mean the phone will start ringing with job offers. He mentioned that students must go the extra mile and tailor their expertise based on employers needs.
“Students must persevere and not give up the first time that they get no for an answer, he said. You’ve got to be prepared for multiple rejections. Stand up, dust yourself off and keep on going, While you’re in the program you’ve got to be looking ahead to the industry that you want to work in and you want to find out what their employment needs are,” he added.
As a final note in his convocation speech MacDonald requested that his former students complete one last assignment, while providing motivational and inspiring advice.
“We ask you to leave here today with a spirit of boldness. It’s time to be confident in your actions and create positive change,” he said. “We know that all of you have the ability to rise higher in your community and that you have the ability to harness this proven passion and live your life with purpose,” he said smiling, as he bid a final farewell to the new alumni of Algonquin.