Spring 2022 Convocation welcomes grads back to campus

Smiling people wearing Convocation regalia at the 2019 Convocation held at the Royal Theatre in Victoria.

In a welcome return to in-person events, Royal Roads University is hosting 4,500 students, alumni, family members and special guests for this year’s Spring 2022 Convocation ceremonies.

The bustling campus, on the traditional Lands of the Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) and Lekwungen (Songhees) ancestors and families, is hosting three sets of ceremonies on Friday, June 10 to mark the achievements of Spring 2022 Spring graduates. Prior to attending the formal Convocation, Indigenous graduates will gather on campus June 9 to share their achievements in a private ceremony with family and friends, Elders and Old Ones.

To add to the festivities, six special “new alumni celebrations” are being held next week for those who were part of virtual ceremonies in 2020 and 2021.

Spring 2022 marks Royal Roads’ 50th convocation and the doors are opening wide at the university’s new Dogwood Auditorium for many of the events. The 712 graduates from Spring 2022 hail from Canada and 17 other countries, joined by 3,137 alumni from cohorts in 2020 and 2021, all eligible to cross the stage and celebrate their achievements with friends and family.

Royal Roads students are well versed in the virtual learning environment,” says President and Vice-Chancellor Philip Steenkamp. “However, after two years of virtual ceremonies, we are delighted to be seeing in person the joy of students and their loved ones as we all applaud their tremendous achievements.

“To reconnect is to bear witness to the remarkable promise of hope from these students and the strong signal to the world that Royal Roads graduates are ready to act to protect our future and our world, together.”

Honorary degrees for a legend and a powerful new voice

At the 9 a.m. convocation proceedings Friday, June 10, Royal Roads will present an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Autumn Peltier, Chief Water Commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation and member of the Wiikwemkoong First Nation on Manitoulin Island. Peltier’s advocacy has given voice to her people and brought global attention to the thousands who live under boil water advisories in Indigenous communities, what she deplores as made-in-Canada third-world conditions. 

“Autumn Peltier is a powerful changemaker and advocate for Indigenous values, environmental stewardship and social justice, core values we share at Royal Roads,” says Chancellor Nelson Chan. “We recognize how much she has achieved already -- the world needs young leaders like Autumn who have the courage and passion to speak truth to power, bridging generations and giving a clear vision of hope to Indigenous people and our common future.”

Royal Roads will also present an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Raffi Cavoukian at the 2 p.m. ceremony on Friday, June 10, for his lifetime commitment to nurture the hearts and minds of children, shaping the lives of Canadians over five generations through his music and philanthropy. Known widely by his first name, Raffi has committed his career to making the world a kinder, more peaceful place. With the Raffi Foundation for Child Honouring, he strengthens a global movement that views honouring children as the best way to create sustainable, peacemaking cultures.

“Raffi is a perfect example of how to balance caring and creativity, along with a whole lot of fun,” says Steenkamp. “Raffi has sent generations of children out in the world determined to be changemakers – something we strive to do here at RRU with adults.

“Advancing sustainability through caring is a goal we should all embrace. Honouring Raffi for his life’s work serves to remind us how important that is, and that innovation and dedication in our world and our work can make just about anything possible.”

Read more about Autumn Peltier and Raffi Cavoukian.

Recognizing 2022 Grad Award Winners’ extraordinary achievements

Among the graduates receiving awards are Master of Arts in Justice Studies graduate Barbara Horsefall, who receives the Governor General’s Gold Medal. Ten graduates will receive the Chancellor’s Award.

You can also watch the convocation proceedings live online via Royal Roads Vimeo