Grads mark new era for Mount Royal
A sea of blue packed into Kenyon Court as Mount Royal reached an important milestone on the road towards becoming a full university.
Twenty-nine students, in the criminal justice, communications, arts, and business administration programs, received the first baccalaureate degrees Friday from the 99-year-old institution.
“It’s such a big day not only for the college but for the students because it commemorates being done school. It’s such an amazing feeling,” said Leslie Dovichak, a business admin grad who has called Mount Royal home for the past six years.
Dovichak’s time at the college, which also saw her earn an applied degree in supply chain management, has “meant so much. Just being able to walk around the halls and being able to know everybody, all of the students and, in addition to that, the faculty has really helped me a great deal.”
Mount Royal President Dave Marshall, noticeably excited about the day’s festivities, told the university-level graduates “You hold special importance. They will be the first of many graduates to come.”
Marshall told the graduates the future will not necessarily be easy as they enter the workforce amid difficult economic times. The president himself graduated with his first degree in chemistry in the 1970s on the heels of a 40 per cent drop in the stock market and received his doctorate in the early 1980s during a worldwide economic collapse.
“As each of you graduate into the middle of this economic crisis, I — and many others like me — have done alright, despite some incredibly bad timing about entering the workforce,” he said.
Class of 2009 valedictorian Meghan Stalker, a graduate of Mount Royal’s Bachelor of Applied Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership, highlighted the numerous people and opportunities that have helped her as a student at Mount Royal.
“I didn’t have much of an idea of where I was going in the program and was very new to most of the concepts taught in my first year,” she said. “What started to make a difference for me was a decision to start saying yes to opportunities that were thrown my way.”
“The message therefore is clear, do it . . . develop an appreciation for ceasing the moment.”
“There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps, for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less,” Stalker added, borrowing a quote from influential German educator Kurt Hahn.
Meanwhile, Dovichak hopes her bachelor degree will continue to open doors for her in the future. She has already earned the coordinator of inventory position with the Vancouver Olympic Committee and hopes to possibly work with the London Organizing Committee for the 2012 Games.
“I thought it was a great oppurtunity . . . I only needed a few more classes to do it and thought what’s one more year after five!” she joked.
The 29 baccalaureate degree recipients and the other graduates in attendance join roughly 60,000 other alumni to have walked through Mount Royal’s halls over its near-century of existence.