These past two weeks, the College hosted Spring Convocation as well as three special alumni celebrations, for those who graduated between spring 2020 and winter 2022.

After two years of virtual ceremonies, there is a renewed energy about being able to gather in person to celebrate this important milestone alongside instructors, support staff, classmates, and especially with family and loved ones.

One convocation story that made a profound impact on many was 2021 Manufacturing CAD honours graduate Tian Tian’s experience at RRC Polytech. Tian came to Canada in 2020, starting her educational journey with the College at the onset of the pandemic. Not only did she have to navigate a new country and way of living, but she also had to navigate a new online learning environment.

Tian seamlessly managed a demanding course schedule, found time to give back to the community, and began building a family, all while graduating at the top of her program. As the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award, she brought remarks at the evening alumni convocation ceremony this Wednesday.

When asked why it was meaningful for her to attend an in-person graduation ceremony, Tian responded, “It’s extremely special because my son, Alexis, who became our youngest classmate, was with my family in the audience when I crossed the stage.”

Convocation is a reminder that the achievements of RRC Polytech students is as the heart of everything we do – so thank you again to everybody for making stories like Tian’s possible each and every day.

To close this week’s message, I wanted to share with you a personal story. As RRC Polytech was planning our first in-person Spring Convocation in two years – which would also be my first as President – there was nothing more that I was looking forward to than standing on stage to congratulate each graduate. However, as some of you may know, I was absent from the regular Spring Convocation ceremonies on June 13 and 14. My mother suddenly passed away the weekend before, and in that moment, I needed time and space to take care of myself and my family.

I struggled with the decision, but what put my mind at ease was the support I received directly from my colleagues. They not only offered condolences but reassurance that I needed to take the time to address my personal health and they would take care of the rest. That support made all the difference at a very difficult time, and I am grateful and deeply appreciative of that gesture.

I want to remind everyone that while we are all extremely dedicated to our roles and supporting students – our families and health come first. The College maintains a workplace culture where mental wellbeing is the utmost priority. In order to do our jobs to our best ability, we need to ensure that we are taking good care of our mental, physical and spiritual health. I encourage you to use the resources available to you through the College whenever needed, including the Employee and Family Assistance Plan and Campus Well-Being supports.

As we head into the weekend, I hope that you find some time to be surrounded by family, friends and loved ones. As I’ve been reminded, it’s important to create memories you can hold close for a lifetime.

Take good care,

Fred

PS. Please note that next week will be my final weekly update before we put things on pause for the summer months.