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Four things to know about this fall convocation season

(photo by Nick Iwanyshyn)

The leaves at the University of Toronto have already turned shades of yellow, red and rusty brown. Fall convocation regalia will add another splash of colour to the St. George campus as more than 3,500 students don hoods and gowns to accept their degrees in Convocation Hall in eight separate ceremonies.

Here are a few noteworthy aspects of the ceremonies this fall:

An all-female lineup of speakers

The eight convocation speakers this fall are all women whose brilliant careers span a variety of fields. The speakers range from professors and lawyers to a leading health-care executive and even a rowing champion. Heather McPherson, the president and CEO of Women’s College Hospital, will address graduates in rehabilitation sciences and nursing on Nov. 5. Victoria Nolan, a U of T alumna who was diagnosed with the degenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa and went on to win medals with Canada’s adaptive rowing team, will address graduates of U of T Scarborough on Nov. 6.

More details on the ceremonies, including the full schedule of speakers, are available online.

Read more about Convocation 2019

A strong Indigenous presence at the podium

Lee Maracle, a critically acclaimed Sto:lo author and instructor in Indigenous Studies and U of T’s First Nations House, is the opening convocation speaker for graduates from the Faculty of Arts & Science. Her 2014 novel Celia’s Song was recently nominated for the prestigious Neustadt prize. The following day, Suzanne Stewart – a member of the Yellowknife Dene First Nation and the director of the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health at U of T’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health – will take the stage at the School of Graduate Studies convocation.

The convocation ceremonies will come to an end on Nov. 7, with an address by Kahontakwas Diane Longboat, a member of the Turtle Clan and Mohawk Nation at Six Nations Grand River Territory. Longboat is a ceremonial leader, traditional teacher and healer who has served as Elder at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, helping guide the hospital's strategy to improve practices and partnerships with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. She is the founder of U of T’s First Nations House.

First of their class

Altogether, more than 5,100 students will be graduating this fall and they are expected to attend convocation with 9,600 guests. This will be a first convocation for students in the new master of accounting and finance program at U of T Scarborough. The 16-month program, which began in May of last year, caters to people looking to enter account management, wealth management, consultancy, entrepreneurship or project management. 

Convocation Plaza details

Gown distribution and marshalling will take place in the north end of the Convocation Plaza. There will be a separate and fully accessible entrance in the northwest corner of the tent. The graduate procession will walk on King’s College Circle from the marshalling area to the front doors of Convocation Hall.