June convocation ceremonies kick off

Convocation 2024

June convocation ceremonies kick off

Graduates, their families, and guests gathered to celebrate their academic accomplishments as the first of six June ceremonies got underway in downtown Kingston.

By Communications Staff

June 19, 2024


Graduates and supporters at convocation

Graduates being cheered on by their families, friends, and supporters during the first June convocation ceremony.

Queen’s students put in years of hard work and dedication to earn their degrees, and all that effort culminates in convocation, the biggest celebration of the academic year.

More than 3,500 graduating students will be crossing the convocation stage at Slush Puppie Place in downtown Kingston this week and receiving their Queen’s degrees.

During the first ceremony, graduates of the Stephen J.R. Smith Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, the Faculty of Arts and Science, and the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs processed into the arena and took their seats, then a series of speakers addressed them with words of congratulations, wisdom, and inspiration. 

Graduating students

Graduating students after processing into the arena.

Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Matthew Evans asked graduates to reflect on how much they have grown over their time at Queen’s, especially amidst the challenges that faced them and the world more broadly.

“Without a doubt, you have moved through your studies during difficult times,” said Provost Evans. “Through and on the heels of the pandemic, through significant and continuing global conflicts, and through a worsening climate crisis. These experiences have been intense and have required much personal and collective reflection and action. They also make your studies and future endeavours even more important. As you leave this university, you are taking with you the knowledge and strength you have developed over the past several years. With this I encourage you to go forth and do good things, to strive to make the world a peaceful, safer, and more generous place for everyone.” 

Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Matthew Evans

Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Matthew Evans speaking during convocation.

Rector Niki Boytchuk-Hale led her peers in a round of applause for their families and supporters, who helped them reach their educational goals.

“Let’s never forget the people who got us to this moment and degree,” said Rector Boytchuk-Hale. “Family, friends, mentors, and supporters. The classmates turned housemates that filled your time at Queen’s with memories for a lifetime. And the people who picked up your calls at all hours to listen and offer encouragement. They were right: you could get through it.”

Rector Niki Boytchuk-Hale

Rector Niki Boytchuk-Hale addressing the graduates.

Queen’s awarded an honorary degree to Nathalie Provost during the ceremony. An accomplished engineer and civil servant, Dr. Provost is also a survivor of the 1989 massacre that targeted women at École Polytechnique in Montréal. Following those tragic events, she has become a pivotal spokesperson and dedicated activist on the issue of firearm control in Canada.

“I am not a top CEO. I have not created a thriving company. What I have done is commit to my community, according to my values and my heart,” said Dr. Provost, in her address to graduates. “Thus this recognition is a message addressed to you. No matter where you start from or your personal challenges, you can make a difference, you can change and improve our world. We need your talent, your ability to work as a team, your ingenuity, your energy, your desire to take on challenges for the common good, for our common good.”

Nathalie Provost

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane conferring an honorary degree on Nathalie Provost.

After the speeches Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane officially conferred degrees upon graduates, and they began to cross the stage to shake hands with the university’s top leaders.

Graduates crossing convocation stage

A graduating student crosses the convocation stage and shakes hands with Principal Deane.

Indigenous graduates received either a Blackfoot Peoples Mountain Blanket or a feather fan as a gift from the university when they crossed the stage to help them recognize their culture as they celebrated their academic achievements.

Indigenous graduate receiving Blackfoot Peoples Mountain Blanket

An Indigenous graduate receiving a Blackfoot Peoples Mountain Blanket.

After they finished crossing the stage, graduates and their families and guests gathered outside to take photos commemorating the momentous occasion.

Graduate and supporter taking photo after convocation ceremony

A graduate and guest posing for a photo outside after the ceremony.

Convocation ceremonies continue at Slush Puppie Place throughout the week and can be watched online through a Queen’s livestream.

Learn more by checking out the convocation 2024 series in the Queen’s Gazette.