Special packages arrived for more than 1,100 Trinity Western University students as they get set to take part in a virtual graduation on Saturday.
The packages contain a graduation cap and banner among other things to help them celebrate their milestone.
The commencement speaker is Nadia Stewart, TWU alumna, journalist and executive director of the Canadian Association of Black Journalists.
This year’s graduating students will go down in history as the school’s first virtual grad class, completing their studies during this unusual time.
“I think the global pandemic, if anything, just illuminated the true nature of our world,” said Jordan Koslowsky, valedictorian for the TWU undergraduate class of 2020.
Koslowsky, along with his friends, family and fellow classmates are marking the milestone of graduation through a virtual ceremony on Nov. 7.
Graduation is right around the corner, and we cannot wait to celebrate your achievements! Live on Saturday, November 7 at 4:00pm PST. If you are an eligible graduate, check your email for your invitation and be sure to register!
— Trinity Western University (@TrinityWestern) October 29, 2020
Koslowsky, who is from Abbotsford, is aware of the unique moment that he and his classmates are entering.
“2020 showed that security, in a worldly sense, is a myth and that there is so much more to pursue in life than just security,” he said. “My hope and prayer for this graduating class is that we don’t use this incredible privilege of being university graduates to pursue our own self-interest and security, but that we would seek to serve others.
“And that if we have that mindset,” he continued, “then we’ll see that in a time of incredible suffering, like the world is experiencing right now, that this is the best time to be a university graduate.”
Koslowsky empathized with the losses experienced in 2020 for new grads like himself. “For me personally, and for so many of my friends and everyone who is part of this graduating class, this definitely wasn’t what we expected,” he admitted. “It was really disappointing for me, to miss the last six plus weeks of my final semester.”
He echoed the feelings of many graduates when he said had been looking forward to sharing that time with friends and “being able to have some closure on this incredible season of my life.”
Koslowsky, who achieved a bachelor of arts in international studies, is representing his class of 761 undergraduate students. Despite the pandemic, he remains hopeful for the future.
I have full confidence that this is providing us with unique opportunities that we might not have had otherwise.” Koslowsky affirmed the potential of his generation, despite the challenges of this year. “I believe that for most of my classmates at TWU who witnessed , we aren’t interested in what’s comfortable. We’re interested in what’s meaningful.”
Representing the grad students at the local private Christian university will be Gwendolyn Williams-Brown.
Williams-Brown, a master of science in nursing graduate and recipient of the 2019 Joan Lesmond Internationally Educated Nurse of the Year Award, is valedictorian for her class of 349 graduate students.
Williams-Brown is a nurse from Kingston, Jamaica who now works in Ontario. She encouraged her fellow graduates, “Don’t just survive, thrive! Go forth and chart your destiny – because you are not going alone.”
They and others are taking part in the virtual ceremony Saturday afternoon. It beings with an introductory segment. Each school and faculty will also host their own virtual receptions to congratulate the grads from their respective departments.
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