Congratulations to the new graduates who became part of the Class of 2020 and of the King’s Alumni family as part of the Celebration of Graduates, held on Wednesday, June 17.

In lieu of the traditional on-campus celebration, held in conjunction with Western University’s Spring Convocation, which has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Celebration of Graduates was held virtually. A livestream broadcast took place from the Joanne and Peter Kenny Theatre and can be viewed on the King’s YouTube Channel.

Dr. David Malloy welcomed everyone with a land acknowledgment and passed along “a warm King’s welcome” to those watching the proceedings.

He spoke about the need for inclusion. At King’s, he said “we are serious about being a place to be and a place to become, and that means we are a place for every individual, regardless of their ethnicity, their faith or whether or not they identify themselves as being part of the LGBTQ2+ community.”

In speaking to the graduates, Dr. Malloy referenced the uncertainty in the world but challenged “each and everyone of you to be a leader because you can choose to become the person or the leader to write that handbook, script, theory, poem, and song. In a word that is chaotic, there has never been a better time to be a leader.”

“As a leader, you are not the sum of the data or theories you understand, but the manner in which you put this knowledge into action for the betterment of the community in which you serve,” said Dr. Malloy.

“Go and write your own script, the world needs you right now. On behalf of faculty and staff, we can’t wait to see your leadership in action,” said Dr. Malloy.

Reverend Michael Béchard, Director of the Office of Campus Ministry and the Pastor of Christ the King University Parish presented a blessing and Invocation, reading from the Book of Matthew.

"Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

Rev. Béchard spoke of a small community in upstate New York that he enjoys visiting. He says we can learn from the residents of the village and encouraged all to make the world a better place, not for accolades or monetary gain but to attend to the needs of the poor and the needy.

“On behalf of all of my colleagues in the Office of Campus Ministry, I’d like to offer my personal congratulations to all the graduates of 2020, as you celebrate with your family and friends your many and remarkable achievements,” said Rev. Béchard.

Congratulations from the King’s University College Board of Directors were delivered by Father Mark Sargent, Board Chair. He advised the graduates to examine how they have grown during their time at King’s.

“With everything that we have been given here in this place, this college, a place to be and a place to become, now we’re focusing, not on what I got from it, but the person that I am,” says Father Sargent. He spoke about becoming who you should be, and being grounded in oneself, rather than just following the crowd.

Father Sargent likened the education students received at King’s to a compass. “The great thing about a compass is it gives us a direction, but never tells us what’s in the way…it leaves it for you to figure out how to get there and where to go,” he said.

“I wish, on behalf of our entire Board, to give you my profound congratulations… Have a life that is filled with joy and hope. Have a life that is reflective, and in service to others, because in that, we live what King’s has taught us,” said Father Sargent.

As part of the proceedings, the recipients of the Board of Directors’ Gold Medals were announced and honoured. The Gold Medals were awarded to graduating students who achieved the highest average in their academic program.

Class of 2020 Valedictorian Nirali Vithlani ’20 BMOS (Hons) Double Major in Management and Organizational Studies and Economics, spoke to the members of her graduating class. She spoke of her journey from her home in Tanzania to King’s. “I was immediately welcomed with open arms by the folks at King’s International and Residence Office - people who shaped my family here since the very beginning,” she said, adding “I am indebted to each and every one  for making King’s the place that it is.”

“Despite being a small part of the thriving School of MEM, I feel significant in my efforts and contributions, and the immense and unending care that I have received is only second to none.  As an international student and a woman of colour, I feel honoured and cherish each one of my fellow international students around me who have taken the biggest leap of faith to leave their home countries, some of whom have not been back even once so far. King’s deserves special gratitude in making us feel like we’re home away from home and that we have everything we could ask for,” said Vithlani.

During her Valedictorian Speech, Vithlani spoke about her time at King’s and of the impact that faculty and staff had on her time at King’s and wished the other members of the Class of 2020 “the best in this unpredictable mystery of life.”

Jennifer Ayers ’08, English Language and Literature, King’s Alumni Association President, welcomed the graduates to the King’s Alumni family.

“What is important to recognize now, as you graduate, is that your time at King’s isn’t ending. King’s is a part of you as much as you are a part of King’s, and that is something that will never change,” said Ayers. “Today, it is my great honour, on behalf of the King’s University College Alumni Association, to congratulate each of you on your many achievements that led you to this moment and to welcome you to your new relationship with King’s as alumni.”

Following the livestream, a “Happy Hour” was held, where the members of the Class of 2020, their families, professors, and staff were invited to interact via Zoom meetings for the following:

  • Campus Ministry
  • Childhood and Social Institutions
  • Disability Studies
  • English, French, and Writing
  • History
  • King’s International
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • School of Management, Economics, and Mathematics
  • School of Social Work
  • Sociology and Criminology
  • Thanatology
  • The Write Place

Graduates will be able to purchase degree frames from Alumni and Development. For more information, please visit the website. As well, the King’s Connection shop will be open online as of July 1 for souvenir sales.

Official convocation events will still take place by Western University at a time in the future when it is deemed safe to do so.

Congratulations again to our new alumni. Welcome to the King’s Alumni family.