Convocation Program

The Class of 2024


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.

carrying mace

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.

marshal with baton

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.

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.

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.

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 Music (DMus), 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.


Honorary Degree Recipients

Shelley Niro

Shelley Niro

Doctor of Letters | Presented on June 4, 10 a.m.

A multidisciplinary artist celebrated for her photography, painting, sculpting, beadwork and filmmaking, Shelley Niro is a member of Six Nations of the Grand River, Turtle Clan, Bay of Quinte Mohawk. Through her work, Niro challenges stereotypical images of Indigenous peoples.


Dave Levac

Doctor of Laws | Presented on June 4, 2 p.m.

Dave Levac’s lifelong devotion to Brant as a leader, community builder, volunteer, and philanthropist is exemplary. He first made an impact as a volunteer and educator before going on to serve as Brant’s Member of Provincial Parliament for 19 years. During his final two terms at Queen’s Park, Mr. Levac served as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.


Mike Richter

Doctor of Laws | Presented on June 10, 9:30 a.m.

Among the most celebrated goaltenders in NHL history, Mike Richter played 14 seasons in net with the New York Rangers. During that time, he recorded 301 wins, made appearances at three NHL All-Star Games, and helped the Rangers to a Stanley Cup victory in 1994, the team’s first championship in 54 years.

Louise Penny

Louise Penny

Doctor of Letters | Presented on June 13, 9:30 a.m.

A number one New York Times bestselling author, Louise Penny is creator of the celebrated series of crime novels set in Quebec featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Since publishing the first book, Still Life, in 2005, Penny has won international accolades including nine Agatha Awards, named for Agatha Christie, as well as a Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Award.

Bruce Cockburn

Bruce Cockburn

Doctor of Music | Presented on June 14, 9:30 a.m.

Canadian music icon Bruce Cockburn has enjoyed an illustrious five-decade career shaped by politics, spirituality and musical diversity. His remarkable journey has seen him embrace folk, jazz, rock, and worldbeat styles of music while travelling to countries including Guatemala, Mali, Mozambique and Nepal to find musical inspiration.

Faculty Awards


Pam Bryden

Service Excellence and Community Engagement Award | Presented on June 11, 4 p.m.

Over two decades, Pam Bryden has demonstrated a consistent dedication to her students, colleagues, the university, and the community at large. In 2016, she co-launched the Sun Life Centre for Healthy Communities, which is a centre that provides physical activity and healthy living programs for underserved youth in Kitchener-Waterloo and engages in community-based research to develop evidence-based programming. Under Bryden’s leadership, the centre recently secured a further $750,000 in funding from Sun Life to expand programming to Brantford.


Steve Sider

Service Excellence and Community Engagement Award | Presented on June 14, 9:30 a.m.

Since joining the Faculty of Education in 2007, Steve Sider has exemplified the values and mission of Laurier through his service and community outreach. Through multiple Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grants, he has led large teams of researchers in inclusive education projects in Canada, Ghana, Haiti, and other small island developing states. These projects support teacher training, building resources for principals, and provide international research and education opportunities for Laurier students.


Stacey Hannem

University Research Professor | Presented on June 13, 1 p.m.

Stacey Hannem has been teaching at Laurier’s Brantford campus since 2009, where she supervises master’s and undergraduate researchers. Her research examines the lived experiences of marginalized people, including sex workers and families affected by incarceration, analyzing how they are disenfranchised by structural and institutional forces. She is globally recognized for her research in the field of stigma studies, dedicated to understanding and mitigating the harmful effects of stigma.

Candidates for Degrees and Diplomas

Graduates listed in this program have been certified as completing all degree requirements as of May 27, 2024.

Medal Recipients

Governor General’s Silver Medal

Sarah Dharamshi
Faculty of Science

Alicia Rodney
Faculty of Science

Graduate Gold Medal for the Doctoral Level

Cody William Groat
Faculty of Arts

Graduate Gold Medal for the Master’s Level

Madison Kendra Bertrand
Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

Andrew Bieronski
Faculty of Education

Melissa Marie Carvalhal
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

David Yuzva Clement
Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

Ian Ramsay Fraser
Faculty of Science

Maglyn Reilly Mae Gasteiger
Faculty of Arts

Kyle Barrett Gingerich
Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

M. Alexander Hendershot
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Michelle Jutzi
Faculty of Education

Gabrielle Longmire
Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

Luke Molnar
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Xena Claridad Montoya
Faculty of Science

Jordan Gregory Noakes
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Andrea Jennifer O’Reilly
Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

Shajevan Sabanathan
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Cassandra Maria Salatas
Faculty of Education

Sara Salehi-Rad
Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

Lyndsay Barbara Swanston
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Taryn Emily Tufford
Faculty of Education

Jia Qing Wilson-Yang
Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work


Alumni Gold Medal for the Undergraduate Level


Sydney Austin
Faculty of Science

Matthew George Civello
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Veronica D’Ambrosio
Faculty of Arts

Sarah Dharamshi
Faculty of Science

Alex Elizabeth Freeman-Carter
Faculty of Arts

Jaymie Nicole Heller
Faculty of Science

Rachel Bayla Jacobson
Faculty of Science

Amberish Puneet Kehal
Faculty of Arts

Abigail Elizabeth Murphy
Faculty of Education

Aditya Pandya
Faculty of Science

Sofia Anissa Platnick
Faculty of Science

Dylan James Pudrycki
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Alicia Elizabeth Rodney
Faculty of Science

Jacqueline Amanda Rosenberg
Faculty of Science

Cali Madison Shapiro
Faculty of Science

Connor Thomas Sinclair
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Anna Smilek
Faculty of Music

Allison Isabel Lundy Sutherland
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

Allyson Dawn Thomas
Faculty of Education

Alexanne Wingert
Faculty of Arts

Stephanie Xu
Lazaridis School of Business and Economics


Kailyn Frances Chindemi
Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

Thomas Klaas Heida
Faculty of Human and Social Sciences

Jadon Kam
Faculty of Liberal Arts

Nicole Lynn Mathieson
Faculty of Human and Social Sciences

Joshua Budimlic
Faculty of Arts

Alumni Bronze Medal for the Undergraduate Level


Elizabeth Calcutt
Faculty of Arts

Joy Khalil
Faculty of Science


Deborah Jane Murray
Faculty of Liberal Arts

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 2024!