Wilfrid Laurier university celebrates convocation

This is it.

After about four years of trying to stay awake during long, bland lectures, rushing to class after your printer failed while printing out your final sixteen page essay, refilling your fifth cup of coffee to pull another all- nighter thinking about heading over to the Student Union building for a change of scene this time…

This is it. You did it. You survived. You survived through the hardship when your roommate threw a party the night before your test. You survived driving to campus on Canadian snowy-packed roads at 7am to hand in a paper for your morning lecture. You survived pulling yourself together to maintain that GPA and finally be eligible to graduate.

Graduation is a very important event. You not only worked for this moment – you worked hard while living off a student’s paycheck. This is your time to celebrate and be proud for all that you’ve accomplished and get amped for the new goals you will accomplish.

Walk up the stairs, dominate the stage, grab that diploma and officially call yourself a Laurier Alumni.

“Convocation is so exciting,” shared Jeanette Wilson, event and support specialist who is solely in charge of the three ceremonies takings place in Brantford.

The two-hour ceremonies, separated by programs takes about six months to thoroughly plan out, Wilson explains. “I like to think of myself as the facilitator,” Wilson has ten years of professional event planning experience and a team of about fifty people take convocation by a storm.

“There are just hundreds and hundreds of small tasks put together.”

She explains how the process must be broken down into categories that project managers would understand best. From printed materials, to ceremonies, to luncheons for honorary recipients, Wilsons plans anything and everything to do with convocation.

She also explains how not only her job is hard, but also the register’s office has to go through each and every application to make sure everyone that applied can graduate.

“The most important thing is to make sure all the students and VIP’s who attend our ceremonies are informed with the right information,” explains Wilson, for everyone must be at the right place at the right time.

“Even management folks have the most effective What If plans in place. Even the best can’t predict all that can go wrong.” Wilsons believes it’s all about “putting the right person in the right place,” especially during crisis control. Working closely with your partners is how Wilson has everything on schedule for the big day.

When asked about the best part, Wilson believes it’s all about the prep process before the ceremony. “We line them up in order and put all the grads through by the RAC Building but they’re so excited, and bubbly, and giggling, it’s so exciting. And the parade! They’re all in gowns marching to the Sanderson Center, so proud. It is an amazing sight.”

Wilson continues on how planning out convocation is an ongoing process, constantly re-evaluating and comparing the blueprints to previous years. Mentioning on how things have gone wrong, Wilson takes laughter as she share events from the pasts that are meant for laughing in the future.

“ At a convocation ceremony, it was cued from stage for everyone to rise for the national anthem, so everyone’s standing up and that when we notice the band was on break. So everyone is looking around waiting for some music and somebody back stage was known to have awesome singing voice so we just pushed them and told them to start singing. It was so funny, all the stage people were looking at each other like where’s the band?”

Wilson enjoys every moment of planning Brantford’s ceremonies.

Working closing with c-pam communications and public affairs who design the programs and invitations. Wilson has the train on it’s tracks for all graduates.

Wilson has been with Laurier since last August, after planning events professionally for ten years. All convocation awards, banquets at a senior level, and all senior level events are organized by her. She now gets to work with some art because Wilson is also in charge of the yellow brick wall space.

Spring convocation for the Brantford Campus will be hosted at the Sanderson Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday June 17th

Wednesday June 18th Tuesday’s ceremony is of Concurrent Education paired with Nipissing University. Wednesday’s morning ceremony is of the faculty of liberal arts, and the afternoon ceremony is of the faculty of human and social sciences.

Laurier has stepped up their game offering all those loved ones who cannot attend the ceremony to watch from the comfort of their home via live stream.

For more information please visit www.wlu.ca/convocation


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