Rady Faculty Class of 2021 celebrates Spring Convocation virtually
For the second year in a row, graduates at the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences had their Spring Convocation online, viewing the celebration on screen rather than in person. But that didn’t dampen the spirits of the 387 graduates, their families and other supporters at the June 15 ceremony.
The event began with a moving video featuring an honour song performed by Vanessa Lillie and greetings from UM chancellor Anne Mahon, president and vice-chancellor Dr. Michael Benarroch, Kelley Main, acting dean of Graduate Studies, student body council president Ewurafua Opoku-Agyeman and Dr. Brian Postl, dean of the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences and vice-provost (health sciences).
The graduates also received greetings from the dean of their individual college in separate Convocation streams.
The Max Rady College of Medicine Class of 2021 includes 98 graduates. Of these, 72 will be completing their residencies in Manitoba.
Postl noted graduates have spent their practicums working through “a very interesting time in medical history.”
“We respect your resilience and commitment, and your courage in managing and continuing to work in patient areas where there was, in fact, some risk attached to you,” Postl said.
The class includes eight students of self-declared Indigenous ancestry and eight French-speaking students who are graduating in the college’s bilingual stream. Thirty-six of the graduating class are from rural Manitoba.
Medicine graduate Henry Li said it’s encouraging to reach this milestone in his medical journey.
“I will always remember the lessons learned, memories made and lifelong friends created at the Max Rady College of Medicine,” Li said. “Medical school is a special time in your life and I’m fortunate to have been able to do it at the University of Manitoba.”
Brooke Cochrane said she feels prepared for her career in medicine with the education she received at UM.
“I have had ample opportunity in several fields and specialties, and I feel that I have gained a better grasp on medicine through hands on learning,” Cochrane said. “I have developed a real sense of how I plan to practice medicine. I have worked hard to get to this point and all that hard work has paid off.”
The College of Pharmacy had 45 students graduate in the Class of 2021.
“All of you should be very proud of your achievements,” said Dr. Lalitha Raman-Wilms, dean of the College of Pharmacy. “Not only have you successfully completed your degree, but you did so under the most trying of circumstances. None of us anticipated you would be finishing your final year virtually, but you adapted well to the challenges posed by the pandemic.”
Evelina Andrushchyshyn managed to maintain a high DGPA in pharmacy while also raising her son, who was only one year old when she began the program. She credited her husband, parents and in-laws for her success, as well as the faculty and her classmates.
“Going through the pandemic brought a lot of us closer together, rather than far apart, even though we couldn’t be in class together. And the professors, dean and vice-dean were always so kind and understanding if anything came up with my son,” she said.
Megha Kaushal, who currently completing her internship in the pediatrics department at Health Sciences Centre, said entering the field during a pandemic provided a unique insight for the Class of 2021.
“I think it really helped us to see how to deal with unpredictability and adapt to different situations,” she said.
The College of Nursing Class of 2021 includes 96 graduates of its bachelor of nursing program and baccalaureate program for registered nurses, who were officially welcomed to the profession in a virtual pinning ceremony prior to Convocation. The college also has six graduates from its masters and PhD programs.
“I commend you on achieving this remarkable accomplishment and doing so amidst of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am excited about our future with you as our new nurses and nurse leaders,”said Dr. Netha Dyck, dean of the College of Nursing.
Bachelor of nursing graduate Hannah Payumo, 24, who was co-valedictorian at the pinning ceremony, said the thing she’ll remember most about the last four years is the sense of community she felt.
“This last year of working at home and doing everything online was a bit of an adjustment, but we had that open line of communication with our instructors and our relationships and friendships established within our cohort,” she said.
Indigenous nursing graduate Breann Benoit said she values all the doors that have been opened with her degree. She joined the program through Mahkwa omushki kiim: Pathway to Indigenous Nursing Education (PINE), which offers academic, personal and cultural supports to First Nations, Métis and Inuit nursing students.
“It was a good experience. I met two of my best friends in the program and other friends as well who I still talk to and communicate with,” she said.
“This has been a watershed year that presented many challenges and some opportunities,” said Dr. Anastasia Kelekis-Cholakis, dean of the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry. “I was very impressed by your ability to handle all that the COVID-19 pandemic brought your way. Your professionalism, adaptability and hard work paid off.”
“You have been through considerable changes in your curriculum, but you all did it, keeping your cool and being so professional,” added Mary Bertone, director of the School of Dental Hygiene.
Dr. Dennis Chijioke Nenanya, a graduate of the International Dentist Dental program, said that all of hard work he put into his studies was worth it.
“The late nights, long hours of study and mastering my craft has made me more confident and equipped clinically to provide the best quality of health and care for my patients,” Nenanya said. “Although the dentistry program was intense, my passion for dentistry and encouragement from my instructors empowered me to give my very best and put smiles on the faces of my patients after each treatment.”
Courtney Wallis, a School of Dental Hygiene Class of 2021 graduate, said she will remember her time at UM fondly.
“My classmates and instructors were all fantastic supports throughout the program and I am very thankful to have met them,” Wallis said. “The last two years would have been a lot more difficult without them. I’m excited to see all of the great things my classmates go on to accomplish.”