More than 500 receive degrees at UBC Okanagan Congregation

A total of 504 graduates crossed the stage to receive their degrees from University of British Columbia Chancellor Allan McEachern at today's Spring Congregation ceremonies at UBC Okanagan.

In the morning ceremony, 253 graduates from the Barber School of Arts and Sciences received their degrees. Graduates from Creative and Critical Studies (64 grads), Education (77 grads), and Health and Social Development (110 grads) received their degrees in an afternoon ceremony.

In his remarks to the Class of 2007, UBC President Stephen Toope talked about fear and leadership. “There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of fear,” he said. “We all experience it.... It’s probably right to fear the hard moral choices life thrusts at us.”

Toope urged students to avoid cultivating fear in others. “I hope you graduates will find ways to challenge that kind of fear,” he said. “Acknowledge fears that are real, and find ways to get past those fears.”

Accepting an honorary UBC degree at the afternoon ceremony was the Honorable Thomas Edward Siddon, P.C. He conducted research and was a professor of mechanical engineering at UBC for a decade before being elected to Parliament in 1978.

In his address to students, Siddon commended their achievements and described their shared legacy as “the experience of studying and learning here at UBC Okanagan, of forming new friendships, and of shaping new and lasting convictions about your place in the world."

Siddon was a Member of Parliament for 15 years and served as Minister of State for Science and Technology, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, and Minister of National Defence.

His achievements in public office include establishing the foundation for the Canadian Space Agency and signing the International Space Station Agreement with the United States in 1984, as Minister of State for Science and Technology. As Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Siddon negotiated and signed the Nunavut Agreement-in-Principle and later the Nunavut Final Agreement, which provided for the creation of that Canadian territory.

"The lessons of history," he said, "teach us that enlightened leadership, guided by moral responsibility, is the only defining line between good and evil in the world.  Your degree is a gift. Treat it as a passport to an exciting new adventure. Be prepared to operate outside the box of your formal education. Let your heart and your spirit guide you to do what is good in the world. Lead by your example."

Students graduating this year represent the following faculties and degree programs:

Barber School of Arts and Sciences
Bachelor of Arts: 177
Bachelor of Science: 76
Total: 253

Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
Bachelor of Arts: 34
Bachelor of Fine Arts: 30
Total: 64

Faculty of Education
Bachelor of Education, Elementary: 71
Bachelor of Education, Secondary: 6
Total: 77

Faculty of Health and Social Development
Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 84
Bachelor of Social Work: 26
Total: 110

Total Class of 2007: 504

This is the second Congregation for UBC Okanagan, which opened in July 2005.

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For information about this year’s honorary degree recipient, the Hon. Thomas Siddon, see: