With the illuminated backdrop of Vancouver’s nighttime cityscape on full display through the stunning floor-to-ceiling windows of the Yorkville University downtown campus, guests were welcomed with style to the first West Coast Graduate Celebration and Alumni Party on Friday, March 2nd, 2018.
Alumni, family, friends and faculty arrived to find the main lecture hall transformed into a sophisticated lounge, with wine and refreshments on hand, music playing, and an atmosphere of conviviality in the room.
After all, not all of Yorkville’s graduates are able to attend the official graduation ceremony in Fredericton, which takes place biannually. This event was an opportunity for Yorkville’s faculty and administration to express our pride and appreciation for the BC-based graduates of all Yorkville’s programs, from the Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology, to the Master of Education in Adult Education and Master of Education in Educational Leadership, to the Bachelor of Business Administration and its specializations, to the Bachelor of Interior Design.
For Catherine Fillis, who graduated in 2016 with her Master of Education in Adult Education, the event was a chance to network with other graduates, and to have her photograph taken with the President of Yorkville University Dr. Rick Davey, while wearing a graduation robe, which provided her additional closure and recognition for the accomplishment of completing a challenging degree program.
“One thing that really stands out for me during my time as a student at Yorkville,” said Fillis, “Is that I always felt as though I was highly valued and heard as an individual, by faculty and administration. I always felt like I mattered.”
This sentiment was reiterated by Daren Hancott, Vice-President of Academics for the Vancouver campus, who spoke to the significance of acknowledging the contribution to community and society that Yorkville’s graduates make, and the high standard of education that Yorkville provides.
“Students are our future at Yorkville,” Hancott said, “And their views, issues, and concerns receive the time and attention they deserve. Our Vancouver campus is always open to them and their amazing ideas as they move onward and upward on their educational journeys.”
Over the course of the evening, several door prizes were won by alumni and their families, including Arfeen Alam, a recent graduate of Yorkville’s BBA program, who travelled from Abbotsford with his mother, father and brother. Alam’s family are incredibly proud of his achievement—especially considering the fact that Alam received two excellent job offers immediately upon graduation and is now working in a dream position.
“I’m an executive assistant for the corporate team of SunSelect Farms,” Alam reported. “The company is currently expanding and has [provided] an excellent opportunity for me so far.”
Samantha Lightfoot is another recent BBA graduate, and owner and co-owner of two fashion-lifestyle businesses, Lofty Living and Riot Theory Apparel. She did make it to the official Fredericton-based graduation ceremony, but was eager to join the party in Vancouver nonetheless, and brought her father along, who beamed with pride over his daughter’s successes. Lightfoot’s final project for her Yorkville BBA was, in fact, the business plan for Riot Theory clothing, which enabled her to launch the business as soon as she graduated.
While guests enjoyed wine and canapés catered by a local company, Dr. Rick Davey, President of Yorkville University gave an inspiring welcome address, reminding guests of our commitment to both students and graduates, and the importance of supporting and celebrating YU alumni throughout their careers—along with our promise never to ask Yorkville graduates for financial donations.
Connecting with fellow alumni was one of the highlights of the event for Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology graduate Natasha Howlett. “I saw one of my girlfriends tonight. We got connected through [the MACP] program, and we’re now friends in the city [of Vancouver]. Even though I didn’t see people face to face [during the MACP program] every day, we still had this connection. It wasn’t easy, but it was a great experience.”
Throughout the evening, the theme of making connections, and strengthening relationships continued. Punnet Hayer, a new alumnus who grew up in Prince George, but moved to Vancouver soon after registering in the Master of Education in Adult Education program, confirmed this sense of reciprocity.
“The [Master of Education in Adult Education] was good. It was really interactive and was all about making connections. You learned collectively. There were different generations [in the program]: millennial, baby boomers, and this helped me in my career, in terms of learning how to interact with different demographics,” he said. “There was a huge support system. My experience at Yorkville University was the bridge between my small-town aspirations and my big-city dreams.”
By all accounts, the first Graduate Celebration and Alumni Party was a success, and Ontario-based graduates are now looking forward to their region’s Graduate Celebration and Alumni Party, on Friday, July 6th, at Yorkville University’s Steeles’ campus in Toronto, from 7pm to 9pm. If you are an alumni in the Greater Toronto Area and would like to attend, RSVP here.