Six ceremonies celebrate over 1,700 new grads

Thu, Jun 5, 2014

Metro Vancouver, B.C. – Years of classes, learning and hard work culminated for over 1,700 KPU students last week, and Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) celebrated its most recent graduates with six convocation ceremonies held at its Surrey campus.

Among those who completed their degrees, diplomas and certificates from December onward - over 900 of which physically crossed the stage - were seven graduation award winners, seven Dean’s Medal recipients and another seven talented student speakers who addressed their peers, families and faculties.

Two exemplary students were recognized with a President’s Outstanding Graduate Award for a degree and for a diploma program, respectively. Each award, presented annually, encourages KPU students to excel in their chosen field of study, and to participate in university, student and community activities that benefit others.

Alexandria Parsons overcame personal and familial challenges to become a first-generation university student, make the dean’s honour roll for 11 consecutive semesters and earn her bachelor of arts with a major in psychology and minor in counselling from KPU. Cassie Plotnikoff graduated from the diploma in horticulture technology greenhouse and nursery production program. With a passion for growing, advocating for and celebrating food locally, Plotnikoff came to KPU seeking hands-on growing experience rooted in science. 

Seven graduates received a Dean’s Medal, which honours academic excellence, plus commitment to community, significant contributions to a chosen field of study or exceptional support for KPU students and the university’s learning environment. The recipients were: 

Mursal Mushtary (diploma in English language proficiency), Faculty of Academic and Career Advancement; Christina Erickson (BA psychology), Faculty of Arts; Andrea Danyluk (BBA entrepreneurial leadership), School of Business; Brianne Schenderling (health care assistant certificate), Faculty of Community and Health Studies; Taryn Chisholm (bachelor of interior design), Wilson School of Design; Rosina Mak (diploma in horticulture technology landscape design and installation), Faculty of Science, and; Harman Khaira (citation in construction electrician), Faculty of Trades and Technology.

Another seven students were selected to speak at their respective ceremonies on behalf of, and to, their graduating class. Their impassioned speeches reflected their personal experiences at KPU, challenges they had to overcome in order to pursue post-secondary education and their plans for the future. The student speakers were:

Connor Doyle (BA creative writing and English), Faculty of Arts; Brittany McNeill (BA psychology), Faculty of Arts; Jake Cody (certificate in public safety communications), Faculty of Trades and Technology; Nicole Picco (BDes fashion and technology), Wilson School of Design; Lexy McLeod (BBA accounting, cooperative education), School of Business; Jennifer Voitic (bachelor of psychiatric nursing), Faculty of Community and Health Studies, and; Keith Knight (BBA entrepreneurial leadership), School of Business.

Four honorary degrees were given to remarkable citizens. David Aisenstat, Christine Brodie, Joanne Curry and Baltej Singh Dhillon were recognized for their personal, philanthropic and professional successes. Each addressed the graduates at one of KPU's convocation ceremonies. More information about the recipients is available here.

Five distinguished awards were given to members of the KPU community: Nargis Ghadiali, Distinguished Teaching Award for Part-time Faculty; Dr. Jim Matteoni, Distinguished Teaching Award for Full-time Faculty; Judy Isaac, Distinguished Service Award – Staff Division; Dr. Warren Bourgeois, Distinguished Service Award – Faculty Division, and; Dr. Gira Bhatt, Distinguished Scholarship Award.

In addition to the two president’s awards, five students received graduation awards. Isabella Peggi (BSc nursing) and David Gray (diploma in computer-aided design and drafting) were recognized with the Governor General’s Silver Academic Medal and Collegiate Bronze Academic Medal for achieving the highest academic standing in a degree and in a diploma program, respectively. Alexander Baydala (certificate in computer-aided design and drafting) was awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal, which goes to a student studying a program that is less than two years in length, who has excelled in their studies and has contributed to KPU and their community.

The KPU Board of Governors’ George C. Wootton Award, awarded for outstanding dedication, service and contribution to the university system, went to David Dryden (BBA in entrepreneurial leadership). Hayley Woodin (bachelor of journalism) received the KPU Alumni Association Board of Directors Award for exemplary volunteer and community service.

For more information about KPU’s 2014 spring convocation, visit:

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region for 30 years, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, apprenticeships, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations. Learn more at


Caption: Dean’s Medal recipient Andrea Danyluk with George C. Wootton awardee David Dryden at KPU Surrey.

Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist, KPU
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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