Honorary Doctor of Letters bestowed upon Chief Lyle Sayers
(SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – June 11, 2022): For the first time since 2019, Algoma University celebrated the academic achievements of its graduating students during an in-person convocation ceremony held at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion on the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront. Algoma University Chancellor Mario Turco conferred degrees on 266 candidates of the Class of 2022, while also awarding 276 certificates.
“On behalf of Algoma University, we are thrilled to be back in person celebrating the class of 2022!” shared President and Vice-Chancellor Asima Vezina. “Today marks a new beginning and a time to honour the largest graduating class in the history of Algoma U. This is a group of students that spent two years navigating their educational journey through a pandemic and who are here today to celebrate their accomplishments, their resilience and their success. We look forward to hearing the future stories and triumphs of the newest members of the Algoma University Alumni family from our campuses in Brampton, Timmins and Sault Ste. Marie!”
During the ceremony, the University also conferred an Honorary Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) degree to Chief Lyle Sayers. The former Chief of Garden River First Nation, Sayers also served as Chair of both the Shingwauk Education Trust (SET) and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig (SKG). Chief Sayers played a pivotal role in developing the partnership between SKG and the University to further cultivate an inclusive cross-cultural learning environment between Algoma and the Anishinaabe community.
Additional award winners recognized during Saturday’s ceremony included:
Governor General’s Silver Medal
Tayler Victoria Jean Greco 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. Greco has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and will be attending the Faculty of Medicine (MD) at the University of Ottawa this fall.
The long-standing contributions of four retired members of the Algoma University Faculty were recognized by the Academic Senate with honorary Professor Emeritus/Emerita status; Professor David Galotta, Dr. William Osei, Dr. Cheryl Reed-Elder and Dr. Celia Ross.
Research Excellence Award
Dr. Vivian Jimenez Estrada, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Academic Lead: Indigenization-Equity, Diversity and Inclusion was named the recipient of the 2022 Research Excellence award. Established in 2020, the award recognizes full-time faculty members at Algoma University who are acknowledged for their research and scholarly work locally, nationally or internationally.
Distinguished Faculty Award
The Distinguished Faculty Award, announced annually during the Spring convocation, recognizes exceptional faculty contributions to Algoma University. The recipient embodies the ideals of Algoma University’s mission, teaching excellence and scholarship with a demonstrated commitment to community and institutional citizenship. This year’s distinction is awarded posthumously to Dr. Olibanji Akinola, who passed away in January of this year. Dr. Olabanji (Banji) Akinola was a respected and beloved member of the Algoma University community in Sault Ste. Marie. Dr. Akinola, a professor of Political Science, left a lasting impression on his students, colleagues and the broader community.
Honorary Member of Algoma University
As part of the ceremony, Jay Jones 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. Jay Jones is a first-generation survivor whose parents, Vernon and Susie Jones, were former children of the Shingwauk Residential School. He has three uncles that were also sent to the Shingwauk Indian Residential School (IRS). One died while at the school at the age of 15 and is buried at the Shingwauk cemetery, in what is now an unmarked grave. Jay is an intergenerational survivor; there are four generations on his father’s side and two generations on his mother’s side of the family of IRS survivors. Jay has been actively involved with the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association (CSAA) for over ten years. Jay is a proud member of the Walpole Island First Nation and sits on the board of Shingwauk Education Trust (SET).
2022 Distinguished Alumni Award
Lil Silvano 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. Lil Silvano graduated from Algoma University in 1996 with a Bachelor of Business Administration, specializing in Accounting and went on to complete her CPA in 1998. Over the course of her career, Lil has held a range of accounting and finance-related roles, including her current position as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer with the Sault Area Hospital. Read more here.
2022 Alumni Achievement Award
Rhaelyn Gillespie was named the 2022 Alumni Achievement Award winner. The Alumni Achievement Award acknowledges the professional, civic, and personal accomplishments of an Algoma alumnus/a who has graduated within the last 10 years. Rhaelyn graduated from Algoma University in 2017 from the Bachelor of Business Administration program, with a minor in Marketing and Human Resources. Rhaelyn prides herself on her work ethic while searching for meaningful ways to positively impact those around her, and as such entered the world of entrepreneurship and co-founded Mintier, the world’s first oil-based breath mint, with her business partner Jessica Sheppard. Read more here.
Next, the University will host two ceremonies for graduates from its Brampton campus on Saturday, June 18th at the Living Arts Centre (RBC Theatre – 4141 Living Arts Drive, Mississauga) in two ceremonies. The first, for degree graduands and certificate graduands in Computing, Information Technology, Mobile Software Development, and Project Management: Resilience and Innovation, will take place at 11:00 AM, and the second, for certificate students in Business, Human Resources Management and Human Resources and Business Management, will take place at 3:00 PM. We will livestream both Convocation Ceremonies via Facebook Live for those who are unable to attend.
To view the full Spring 2022 convocation program for today’s ceremony in Sault Ste. Mare, click here.
Congratulations to the class of 2022!