Friday, July 11, 2014

UFV News

A Learned Four Decades

UFV cuts loose thousands of grads at convocations

Released by UFV/Shannon Torhjelm photo


onvocation refers to a gathering together, and thousands did so on June 12 and 13 as the University of the Fraser Valley celebrated its graduates at three ceremonies at the Abbotsford Centre.


More than 2,100 individuals graduated with more than 2,700 credentials this year, over the two days of ceremonies.

That meant a lot of handshakes for several UFV officials, including President and Vice Chancellor Mark Evered, Alumni Association Chair Justin P. Goodrich, and Chancellor Brian Minter (who was presiding over his final convocation ceremonies, as his term expires this fall).

See the commemorative Convocation booklet here.

We hope you enjoy reading the stories of our major award winners below.

More about UFV Convocation 2014.

Governor General’s gold medal winner Shannon Torhjelm finds reconnecting with learning refreshing.

Like most students enrolled in master’s level programming at the University of the Fraser Valley, Shannon Torhjelm had to balance the demands of a professional career with the busy life of a graduate student.

By day, Torhjelm is social work practice leader for Abbotsford and Mission hospitals, supervising the clinical practice of social workers in a hospital setting. And for the past two years, she has also been enrolled in the Master of Social Work program at UFV.

She graduated as the Governor General’s gold medal winner, an honour given to the top student in a master’s level program. The award is given to the student with the highest GPA in a graduate degree program. Torhjelm earned a grade point average of 4.16 (hovering half-way between and A and an A+ average) in the MSW program.

The research she conducted as part of her master’s degree related directly to issues faced by social workers in health care.

Read more about Shannon

Governor General silver medal winner Nicole Wierks works magic in classroom and on court

Nicole Wierks may be the most well-known student graduating from the University of the Fraser Valley this year. She earned that fame as a leader of the UFV Cascades women’s basketball team that stormed its way to a third-place finish at the national championships in March 2014. But did you know Wierks is also an excellent student? In fact, she excels academically to such an extent that she is graduating from UFV as the Governor General’s silver medalist.

Read more about Nicole

Love of design — and beer — leads Brennan Gleason to UFV’s Governor General bronze medal.

Combining passions for graphic design and artisanal beer, Brennan Gleason leads UFV’s first Graphic and Digital Design graduating class in style by being named UFV’s 2014 Governor General’s bronze medal recipient.

Awarded to the diploma-level student graduating with the highest grade point average over the last 15 credits, the Governor General’s bronze medal recognizes academic excellence.

For Gleason, of Abbotsford, it also meant pretty packaging for his very own hoppy homebrew.

Read more about Brennan

Going above and beyond is nothing unusual for UFV’s 2014 Lieutenant Governor’s award recipient Angela Lebedovich. Following her passion led her to the award.

Students in vocational or career programs less than two years in length who have excelled in their studies and contributed to the life of their post-secondary institution or their community are eligible to be nominated for this award. Lebedovich embodies all of these qualities.

Read more about Angela


Teaching Excellence winner Andrea Hughes makes learning memorable for psych students.

For a teacher committed to studying seniors, psychology instructor Dr. Andrea Hughes sure has a way with today’s youth.

As the 2014 recipient of the Teaching Excellence award at the University of the Fraser Valley, Hughes’ success is a product of her interminable fascination with studying memory, especially in older generations.

“I think students feed off my energy,” she says.

“I enjoy what I do and I find the subject matter genuinely interesting, but it helps to take it outside of the textbook and really engage with what you’re learning about.

More about Andrea

Dr. Michael Gaetz recognized for community-based health research.

There are many opportunities in Fraser Valley communities to do scientific research focused on keeping the population healthy, raising healthier kids, and helping the elderly stay healthy longer through well-planned physical activity.

That’s what Dr. Michael Gaetz of Chilliwack has discovered in his 10 years of combining teaching and research in the Kinesiology and Physical Education department at the University of the Fraser Valley.

Gaetz will receive the 2014 UFV Research Excellence award at the June 13 afternoon Convocation ceremony in recognition of his community-based research projects

Read more about Michael

UFV confers honorary degrees on Doug Hamilton, Charllotte Kwon, and George Siemens.

For its 40th anniversary year, the University of the Fraser Valley chose honorary degree recipients who symbolize the past, present, and future of education and innovation.

UFV awarded three honorary doctorates during its Convocation ceremonies on June 12 and 13.

Doug Hamilton, who was the founding chair of Fraser Valley College board in 1974, received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the afternoon ceremony on June 13. Charllotte Kwon, the founding director of the Maiwa Foundation, received honorary Doctor of Letters degree on June 12. George Siemens, who is a leading researcher on learning technology and co-developer of the first MOOC (Massive Online Open Course), received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree at the morning ceremony on June 13.

More about Doug, Charllotte, and George.


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