Last of 1,100 students bid farewell to institution

North Bay Nugget
Amidst the mugginess and flapping of programs become makeshift fans inside the gymnasium at Canadore’s Education Centre Saturday, more than 100 students and three-fold the family supporters, bade farewell to the college they’ve called home for one, two, or three years. 
The last of five convocation ceremonies – four of which were held at the Education Centre – saw more than 1,000 students graduate in total, was held at the Canadore campus Saturday for graduates of the college’s Information Technology, Human Services, Office Administration and Indigenous Wellness and Addictions Prevention programs. 
John Beaucage, grand council chief of the Union of Ontario Indians, was, appropriately, Saturday’s speaker and honorary diploma recipient of the latter program. 
“I think it’s very important that our convocation speakers reflect our student population and have a message that is inspiring to our student population,” said Barbara Taylor, president of Canadore, noting she was thrilled Beaucage took the time to go to Canadore Saturday. 
“Over 10 per cent of the student population at Canadore College, across all program areas, is represented by aboriginal people. We have partnerships with the Union of Ontario Indians and many First Nations, and so (asking Beaucage to speak) was simply reflective of who we are at Canadore College.” 
Beaucage, while most of his speech focused on the student’s future, did touch on the Ipperwash report released last week and the shooting of Dudley George, an unarmed protester during the Ipperwash land dispute 12 years ago. 
The timing, he said, didn’t allow him to do otherwise. 
“It was coincidental that the Ipperwash report finally came out when it did . . . and I thought this was probably a good time to make sure that (recommendation 30) was put forward,” Beaucage said, noting that specific part of the report suggests colleges and universities start working with aboriginal communities and issues to create awareness for all Canadians, making for easier reconcilliation and co-operation in the future. “Canadore has been just excellent . . . and they are a lead college in Ontario in this regard.” 
Taylor said the number of convocations, as well as the calibre of the guest speakers, spoke volumes about how the college has grown over the years. 
This year, during five different graduation ceremonies, including the first ever at the Aviation Campus for the Aviation and Skilled Trades program, nearly 1,100 students were given diplomas. 
“Even 10 years ago, we had a convocation Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon,” she said, noting this year’s spanned five different days.” 
“It really reflects that the college now operates year round and that we have a much larger student body.”