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A dedicated group of staff members ensures that the year’s 11 convocation ceremonies run smoothly. They are: back row, l-r: Jenny Fiorini, Janis Rutherford, Sandi Morrison, Concetta di Franscesco, Andrew Armour, Bobbie Grant, Shelley Gair. Front row, l-r: Silvana di Tosto, Tina Edmundson, Rosa Balletta, Paul Gibbs. Missing: Barry Williamson, Sheila Singh, Chris Rogerson, Byron Henry and Maria Mascarenhas

2008 Staff Achievement awards: Recognizing convocation contributions

May 28, 2009

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Mounting 11 convocation ceremonies each year for 4,500 convocating graduates is not for the faint of heart. Behind the scenes is a dedicated group of staffers who carve time out of their regular jobs each June and October to prepare, organize and troubleshoot what is one of the university’s most important events. Earlier this year, SFU acknowledged the team’s hard work with a staff achievement award for student service.

SFU graduates over 5,000 students each year, with 80 percent attending either the June or October convocation ceremonies. "It’s an unusually high percentage," says Jo Hinchcliffe, assistant registrar, student services. She attributes the high attendance to both the convocation team’s efforts to make the experience memorable and to the many SFU community members who help out before, during and after each ceremony.

"The team ensures that the right students are awarded the correct degrees, get the correct parchments, are accurately listed in the program, are appropriately gowned and hooded and are in the proper order and make it across the stage without mishap," says Hinchcliffe.

"Dealing with missed deadlines, missing parchments, forgotten reservations, last-minute changes, unpredictable weather, proud parents and unruly crowds is all done with considerable grace and humour."

Tina Edmundson, an administrative assistant in the registrar’s office, is known as the ‘pinning queen’. She coordinates the many volunteers who help pin hoods to the graduands’ gowns. "I enjoy the energy that comes from all the graduands and their families," she says. "The excitement is sometimes very overwhelming, but at the same time very rewarding."

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Stephanie Froehle

Yay! Go team!!

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