Convocation Program

The Class of 2023


Share your graduating moments


Land Acknowledgement

Wilfrid Laurier University strives to improve its relationship with the land and people with whom we share it. As such, it is important to further our understanding of the long-standing history that has brought Laurier to reside on the land, and to seek to understand our place within that history.

Both Kitchener-Waterloo and Brantford have large urban Indigenous populations — 10,000 and 8,000, respectively — and our campuses are close to 18 First Nations communities and 12 Métis councils.

Acknowledging them reminds us of our important connection to this land where we live, learn and work. We recognize, honour and respect these Nations as the traditional stewards, since time immemorial, of the lands and water on which Laurier is now present.

Laurier’s Waterloo and Brantford campuses are located on the shared traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabe (Anish-nah-bay) and Haudenosaunee (Hoe-den-no-show-nee) peoples. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon Treaty between the Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabe peoples symbolizes the agreement to share, protect our resources and not to engage in conflict.

We are grateful to hold this convocation ceremony on these lands today.


The Convocation Ceremony

Convocation is the most solemn ceremony within the university community. Your participation is part of a long standing tradition. Since their beginnings in the Middle Ages, universities have performed this ceremony in order to grant degrees to their students and also to welcome those students into the community of scholars which has trained them.

The conferring of the degree is symbolized either by an acknowledgement or handshake from the chancellor, president or other conferring officers of the university.

As an outward sign of his or her new status, the student wears a hood. Each degree within a university has a hood of unique colours and trim in order that the student's status may be recognized; indeed, every university guards its own set of hoods from use by any other university.


Unique Ceremonial Stole for Indigenous Graduates

Indigenous graduates will receive a unique stole with symbolic meaning. One side of the stole depicts the Dish with One Spoon Treaty Wampum Belt between the Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabe. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon Treaty between the Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabe peoples and symbolizes the agreement to share, protect our resources and not to engage in conflict.

On the other side of the stole is the Office of Indigenous Initiatives logo. Based on the Haudenosaunee creation story, our logo reminds us of how the first seeds of life on Earth were planted on the back of a turtle. The inner segments of the dome represent the Anishnaabe (Ojibway) Seven Grandfather Teachings: love, respect, wisdom, bravery, truth, honesty and humility. The golden rays of the sun symbolize enlightenment, learning and new beginnings. The Métis beaded purple flower represents the gifts of plant life from the Skyworld, which encourage and sustain life. The entire design rests on the waters of life.


The Wilfrid Laurier University Mace

The mace of Wilfrid Laurier University was officially presented by the Euler family at the 1963 fall convocation in memory of The Honourable W.D. Euler, former senator of Canada and the first chancellor of the university. It weighs 16 pounds and was manufactured by the firm of Henry Birks Limited, Montreal.

The ferrule near the base of the shaft contains ivory from a walrus tusk obtained from Coral Harbour, Northwest Territories. The ten-sided shaft, representing the ten provinces, merges into the head of the mace which bears the ten provincial crests. The wood used at the point where the shaft meets the head of the mace is elm taken from the bannister post of Conrad Hall, the original seminary building. Above this are four crests relating to the history of the institution: a crest of Waterloo County, the Luther Coat of Arms, the crest of the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary and the coat of arms of the University of Western Ontario.

The head of the mace is made of maple and bears the Federal Coat of Arms, above which is the monogram of Queen Elizabeth II, during whose reign the university's charter was granted. On the reverse side is the crest of Wilfrid Laurier University and the monogram of King George V, during whose reign the original charter was granted. The top of the mace is a crown, mounted with jewels, symbolizing the authority of the State.

The Marshal's Baton

Dr. Fred Binding, a faculty member in the Department of Psychology for 32 years retired in July 2003. He had served as the university marshal for ten years. Sadly, Dr. Binding died in August 2003. In memory of his contribution to convocation ceremonies, artist Rex Lingwood was commissioned to create a marshal's baton.

In the baton, the artist incorporates a range of visual references that relate to the graduation ceremony, both directly and symbolically. In keeping with the nature of the ceremony, some of the forms are traditionally associated with ceremonial staffs, and the baton's design echoes the elaborate theatricality of the event and the flair brought to the occasion by Dr. Fred Binding. The ends may be read as abstracted figure forms wrapped in the academic gown and hood, with details symbolizing the life stage of the graduates. The Greek alphabet is inset into the internal side surface in the shaft of the baton. This is a reference to the interests of Dr. Fred Binding. It also acknowledges that language is at the core of university education and that the Greek language has particular importance in western culture.

The commission of the baton was made possible with the generous support of the Department of Psychology and Wilfrid Laurier's Univerisity Retirees' Association.

Honorary Degrees and Other Awards

Honorary degrees are conferred by Wilfrid Laurier University in recognition of outstanding scholarly, creative, or professional achievement or distinguished public and community service. The university may grant the following honorary degrees: Doctor of Laws (LLD), Doctor of Letters (DLitt), Doctor of Science (DSc) and Doctor of Divinity (DDiv).

The Order of Wilfrid Laurier honours worthy recipients who have a record of exemplary and distinguished service to the university.

The Distinguished Governor Award provides a mechanism for recognizing retiring and retired members of the Board of Governors who have given outstanding service to Laurier.

The University Research Professor Award recognizes and rewards a continuous record of outstanding scholarship or creativity by a full-time member of the Laurier faculty.

Faculty Award for Service Excellence and Community Engagement recognizes individuals who in addition to their teaching and scholarship, provide exceptional service leadership.


2023 Honorary Degree Recipients


Rola Dagher

Presented on Oct. 12, 1 p.m.

Leadership is not simply a role that you fill; it is an action that you take each day. It is this philosophy that guides Rola Dagher, Dell Technologies Global Channel Chief. Over her career of more than two decades, Dagher has worked with some of the brightest minds in the technology industry while honing her natural leadership style.

Dagher returned to Dell Technologies in 2020 after leading as President of Cisco Canada for three years. Prior to this, she held various sales leadership roles at Dell and Bell Canada. Her impact on the Channel business has been recognized with her being named one of the 50 Most Influential Channel Chiefs of 2022 by CRN and a 2022 Channel Influencer. She has also been included in CRN’s 2023 Power 100, Inclusive Leaders, and Women of the Channel. While Dagher is a proven sales and channel champion, she will be the first to say that her success is a direct reflection of the dedication and drive of the entire organization.

Dagher believes in diversity of thought and has made it her mission to empower, support and foster diverse talent. Her commitment to empowering women is shown through her recognition as one of the 2020 Top 25 Women of Influence™ by WXN, as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100™, and by Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) as the 2019 Woman of the Year. She was named the 2021 Executive of the Year by LebNet and was selected as one of RBC’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrant winners for 2019. Dagher was named the “Lady of the Cedar” by the Lebanese Embassy and received a 2018 Leadership Award from the Lebanese Chamber Business of Commerce.

Dagher’s perseverance and triumph through remarkable life experiences has earned her Honorary Doctorate Degrees (LL.D.) from McMaster University, University of Waterloo and Toronto Metropolitan University, respectively. In addition, she is a recipient of the illustrious International Horatio Alger Award and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2023.

Dagher is a co-founder of the BlackNorth Initiative and an active member of the 30% Club advisory board, where she supports Catalyst’s work to accelerate progress for women in the workplace. A champion of overall health and wellness, Dagher sits on the board of trustees for SickKids Hospital. She is a member of the Horatio Alger Association of Canada board of directors and serves on the University of Waterloo Dean’s Advisory Council (DAC).

Yet, through all of her accomplishments, Dagher firmly believes that no one achieves greatness in a silo. She believes that you have to “learn it, earn it, and return it,” and this process is one that she continues to work through at every stage of her career.


Christi Belcourt

Presented on Oct. 13, 9:30 a.m.

Christi Belcourt (apihtâwikosisâniskwêw / mânitow sâkahikanihk) is a visual artist, designer, community organizer, environmentalist, social justice advocate, and avid land-based arts and language learner.

Christi is a visual artist with a deep respect for the traditions and knowledge of her people. Like generations of Indigenous artists before her, she celebrates the beauty of natural world while exploring nature’s symbolic properties. Following the tradition of Métis floral beadwork, Belcourt paints in dots and uses the subject matter as metaphors for human existence to relay a variety of meanings which include concerns for the environment, biodiversity, spirituality and awareness of Métis culture.

Her paintings are found within many public and permanent collections across North America including the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Gabriel Dumont Museum, the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, the Minneapolis Institute of Art among others. She was named Aboriginal Arts Laureate for 2014 by the Ontario Arts Council. In 2016 she received both the Premiers Arts Award and a Governor General’s Award for Innovation.

Christi has also organized several large national community-based projects of note including Walking With Our Sisters (2012-2021) which was a national touring commemoration in honour of Murdered and Missing Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people, the Willisville Mountain Project (2010-2013) a community arts project which resulted in Vale Mining agreeing to not quarry the mountain. For the last 5 years, Christi and Isaac Murdoch (within their group Onaman Collective) have created artworks and worked on a long list of community organizing around environmentalism and Indigenous languages and cultural revitalization. They, with others, formed Nimkii Aazhibikong.

Christi donates the proceeds from her collaborations and awards to Nimkii Aazhibikong, the year-round Indigenous language and traditional arts camp started in 2017. The camp is committed to the revitalization of Anishinaabemowin language, the arts and sustainable living practices based on foundational cultural knowledge.

Fall 2023 Medal Recipients

Waterloo Campus

Governor General’s Gold Medal

Allison Joan Petrozziello
School of International Policy and Governance

Graduate Gold Medal for the Doctoral Level

Allison Joan Petrozziello
School of International Policy and Governance

Graduate Gold Medal for the Master’s Level

Tyler Frank Anawtin Armstrong
Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

April Deirdre Blaylcok
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Katherine Anne Challacombe
Faculty of Music

Jennifer Hoesen
Faculty of Science

Tim Yueh Lee
Faculty of Music

Lonnie Olivia MacDonald
Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

Nicole McCallum
Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

Rishi Kumar Pandeya
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Irena Perkovic
Faculty of Music

Christina Anna Maria Rossi
Faculty of Science

Doug Suerich
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Brooke Jesse Thompson
Faculty of Science

Kyle James Wilson
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Alumni Gold Medal for the Undergraduate Level

Linda Chen
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Ciarra Alexis Collison
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Rachel Curwen
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Melisa Hayalioglu
Faculty of Science

Somin Kim
Faculty of Music

Clare Emily Livingstone
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Annabelle Clara Pare
Faculty of Science

Garrett Lawrence Saunders
Faculty of Arts

Jordan Tossios
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Romaissa Vendredi
Martin Luther University College

Alumni Bronze Medal for the Undergraduate Level

Cody Michael Zatzman
Faculty of Science

Brantford Campus

Alumni Gold Medal for the Undergraduate Level

Csilla Cruz
Faculty of Liberal Arts

Ruby Elisabeth Callen Kunst Dallas
Faculty of Human and Social Sciences

Mandy O’Brecht
Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

Alumni Bronze Medal for the Undergraduate Level

Angela Mulvihill
Faculty of Human and Social Sciences


Order of Proceedings

The Procession

The marshal will lead the graduates.

The assembly will remain seated during the procession of graduates but will rise as the platform party enters and remain standing until after the chancellor announces that the ceremony is in session.

Academic Procession

The bedel will lead the platform party in the following order:

  • Chancellor Eileen Mercier
  • President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah MacLatchy
  • Members of the Board of Governors
  • Members of the Senate
  • Faculty

Ceremony Opening

The bedel will place the mace before the chancellor, signifying the opening of the ceremony.

The chancellor will deliver the land acknowledgement.

The assembly will rise for the national anthem.

Honorary Degree and Award Presentations

Recipients will be presented to the chancellor for the honorary degree or award which they are being granted.

Conferral of Degrees and Diplomas

The provost and vice-president: academic, will present the graduates to the chancellor.

The orator will read the names of the graduates as they cross the stage to be recognized. Graduates will then be greeted by the chancellor and their faculty dean.


A welcome from the Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association will be presented.


The assembly will remain standing while the platform party exits the auditorium, followed by the graduates.

Academic Degrees

The academic degree is a title conferred on an individual by a university as recognition of the completion of a course of study or for a certain attainment. In Canada, the three stages in higher education are represented by the degrees of bachelor, master, and doctor. Wilfrid Laurier University is given the authority to grant degrees by the Wilfrid Laurier University Act.

Bachelor's Degree

The bachelor’s degree is awarded at the honours, without honours or general specified, or the general level. An honours degree program emphasizes the acquisition of a broad and deep knowledge of the student’s chosen honours subject. The four-year bachelor's without honours or general is awarded to students who have met all honours course requirements and includes their specialization. A general degree program emphasizes a balance between an in-depth understanding of the student’s major subject and a knowledge and appreciation of other fields.

Master's Degree

The master’s degree is the second degree in higher education. Students complete concentrated and specialized work at a more advanced level in an academic discipline or professional area. Most course work is within the field of specialization and a research project or thesis is normally required. Some master’s degrees provide professional qualifications.

Doctoral Degree

The doctoral degree is the highest academic degree granted by a university. Candidates for the degree spend several years in the advanced study of a specialized field of knowledge. The capstone of the degree is the doctoral dissertation, an extended work based upon independent research. The dissertation demonstrates the candidate’s command of both the subject matter and the exacting methods of scholarship, and makes an original contribution to knowledge.

Candidates for Degrees and Diplomas

Graduates listed in this program have been certified as completing all degree requirements as of Sept. 27, 2023.

Alumni Association Welcome

Congratulations on your graduation – you made it! Today, we welcome you to the Wilfrid Laurier University Alumni Association (WLUAA).

You are now a member of a community of more than 120,000 proud graduates of Wilfrid Laurier University and its predecessors.

WLUAA represents all Laurier alumni, including you! We support Laurier with revenue from alumni services, such as group home, auto and life insurance, and an alumni affinity credit card.

WLUAA revenues help to fund alumni programs and events, university initiatives, student groups, and student scholarships.

The association’s mission is to engage and represent a community that supports and enriches our alumni, students, and the university. We share a vision for an inspiring community of engaged alumni.

You are alumni for life — your relationship with Laurier doesn’t end today. Stay connected as a proud grad and learn more at


Congrats Class of 2023!