(SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – June 9, 2018): Today, Algoma University celebrated the achievements and successes of its graduating students during its annual convocation ceremony held on the waterfront of Sault Ste. Marie at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion. Chancellor Shirley Horn conferred degrees on 236 members of the Class of 2018.
“On behalf of Algoma University, we extend a hearty congratulations to the Class of 2018!” said Asima Vezina, President and Vice-Chancellor of Algoma University. “Convocation is a time of great pride for our University community as we collectively celebrate the achievements of our graduating students. We have truly appreciated your time with us at Algoma and wish all of you the very best in this next phase of your life journey. We look forward to hearing the future stories of your continued success and accomplishment!”
At the ceremony, Vezina delivered her inauguration speech, after being installed as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University at a special investiture ceremony held on Friday. Vezina’s speech highlighted her vision for Algoma as a place that offers transformational experiences for learners and the role that students have and will continue to play in bringing this vision to fruition. She stressed her leadership commitment to being student-centred and shared highlights of changes that were coming as a result of what she had heard from students and other stakeholders. Vezina concluded by challenging the graduates to continue to stay connected to Algoma in some way and stressed the importance of the alumni community in Algoma’s future success.
As part of the ceremony, Judy Syrette was recognized as an Honorary Member of Algoma University, an award granted by the Algoma University Senate. The award is presented to individuals who have contributed distinctive and distinguished service to Algoma, as well as the community. Syrette, who worked at the University for almost 30 years prior to retiring in 2017, worked tirelessly in developing academic supports for Indigenous students, establishing the Disability Services Office, co-founding the Community, Economic, and Social Development (CESD) program, and liaising with Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig and the Anishinaabe Peoples’ Council. Syrette was a driving force in initiating the Taking Care of Our Land Symposium, the Anishinaabe Inendamowin Research Symposium, and the Bawaating Online Journal of Indigenous Knowledge.
Professor Dave Galotta of the Department of Business and Economics received the Distinguished Faculty Award, which recognizes exceptional faculty contribution to the University. The recipient embodies the ideals of the University mission: teaching excellence and scholarship with a demonstrated commitment to community and institutional citizenship. Galotta is an esteemed professor amongst his colleagues and students, and is revered for his innovative teaching and use of experiential learning in the classroom. Galotta also champions student life initiatives, having developed the Algoma University Business Society (AUBS), and works closely with the Business and Economics Investment Club. He has served on over 40 different committees in the University and is Board Chair of the the Superior Family Health Team.
Gaetano Coccimiglio earned the Governor General’s Silver Medal for exceptional academic achievement. Established in 1873, the medal is one of the most prestigious awards that can be received by a student in a Canadian educational institution. The Silver Medal is awarded to the undergraduate student who achieves the highest academic standing upon graduation with distinction from a Bachelor’s degree program. Coccimiglio graduated with distinction with an Honours Bachelor of Computer Science degree. This fall, Coccimiglio will be attending the University of Toronto to pursue a masters degree in Computer Science.
James Caicco was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award. The Distinguished Alumni Award acknowledges the accomplishments of an Algoma alumnus/a who has reached a pinnacle of personal and professional achievement in his or her chosen field. Recipients of the award have successfully demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities in business and industry, community service, or public life. Caicco earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Algoma University College in 1995. Caicco is a successful realtor, broker of record, and business owner. He leads a team of realtors and appraisers in his own businesses: Century 21 Choice Realty, Property One Management, and Centrum Mortgage Approval Centre. Caicco is involved in the community, having served as a City Councillor from 2000 – 2010 and on various committees within Sault Ste. Marie, including the Algoma University Board of Governors.
Mitch Case was the recipient of this year’s 2018 Alumni Achievement Award. The Alumni Achievement Award acknowledges the professional, civic, and personal accomplishments of an Algoma alumnus/a who has graduated within the last 10 years. Case graduated from Algoma and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in History degree and a Certificate in Anishinaabemowin. He is actively involved with the Mètis Nation of Ontario, and has served as a member of the Provisional Council of the Mètis of Ontario and the Mètis National Council. He was President of the Mètis Nation of Ontario Youth Council and was a member of the Premier’s Council of Youth Opportunities, to which the Premier of Ontario appointed Case to serve as an advisor to 18 government ministries on issues affecting youth in Ontario. Case has been awarded the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers by the Lieutenant Governor General of Ontario and the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteerism by the Governor General.
After Saturday’s Convocation ceremony, Algoma U now has an alumni family of over 6,100 people.