The Class of 2023 will feature one of the largest graduating classes in UNBC's history and the first graduates from three unique programs inspired to meet the needs of northern B.C.
Prince George, B.C. - The University of Northern British Columbia will celebrate its second largest graduating class, as well as three significant firsts during this year’s 30th Convocation ceremonies.
UNBC will grant 843 credentials during graduation events held in five northern B.C. communities, coming close to the 895 credentials granted in 2009.
This year also marks milestone events for three UNBC programs. The first cohort of students to complete all four years of their education in UNBC’s School of Engineering at the Prince George campus will receive their degrees.
The School of Nursing will see the first cohort of students graduate from the Northern Baccalaureate Nursing Program at the Peace River-Liard campus in Fort St John.
And the first cohort of students will receive their Bachelor of Education degrees from the School of Education’s revitalized regional program during graduation events at South-Central campus in Quesnel and Northwest campus in Terrace.
“This year’s Convocation is exciting and uplifting on so many levels – we’re celebrating one of the largest graduating classes in the history of our University and I want to congratulate the graduates on their incredible individual achievements,” says UNBC President Dr. Geoff Payne. “It also signifies a collective triumph for our University and our community partners as we celebrate the graduates from three unique programs born out of imperative needs across northern B.C. Together, we have tapped into the potential of training and retaining engineers, nurses and teachers to meet the pressing demands for their skills.”
The 2023 Convocation ceremonies begin Friday, May 26 in Prince George, followed by graduation celebrations in Terrace, Gitwinksihlkw, Quesnel and Fort St. John.
This year’s valedictorians are Furqana Khan and Reuben Mann. Khan will deliver the morning address to classmates, after receiving a Master of Social Work degree. It is her second credential from UNBC. Reuben Mann will graduate with a Master of Business Administration degree. Mann was part of the MBA program’s Vancouver cohort and will deliver the valedictory address to classmates during the afternoon ceremony.
May 26 – Prince George – Ceremony 1
UNBC’s 30th Convocation begins with the first student procession from the Bentley Centre to the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre at 9 a.m. Ceremony 1 is scheduled to finish at 11:30 a.m. and students will gather immediately afterward for their class photo on the ceremonial stairs in the Agora Courtyard.
Honours and awards presented during Ceremony 1:
- Secwépemc leader and world-renowned poet Garry Gottfriedson will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. The Indigenous leader and educator has connections to UNBC through work with Dr. Sarah de Leeuw to foster cultural humility skills in physicians across northcentral B.C. and the ‘Ut’loo Noye Khunni-Weaving Words Celebration.
- Ahmad Jalil will receive the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Diversity and Inclusion. He is being recognized for outstanding contributions in support of diversity and inclusion at the undergraduate level.
May 26 – Prince George – Ceremony 2
The class photo for students in Ceremony 2 will take place at 1:15 p.m. at the ceremonial stairs in the Agora Courtyard, followed by their procession from the Bentley Centre to the Northern Sport Centre at 2 p.m. Ceremony 2 is scheduled to finish at 4:30 p.m.
Honours and awards presented during Ceremony 2:
- Business owner and philanthropist Selen Alpay will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Alpay is a supporter of numerous community causes, including the UNBC Timberwolves Legacy Fundraiser which supports student-athletes.
- Annie Pumphrey will receive the Governor General’s Gold Medal, which recognizes outstanding academic achievement at the graduate level. Pumphrey was selected as this year’s recipient for her excellent thesis, defense and academic achievement. Her research project examined 'bear jams' caused when motorists stop to watch roadside wildlife and offered possible solutions to reduce the associated hazards to both the animals and humans. Pumphrey will be graduating with a Master of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies degree.
- Anthony Preston will receive the Governor General’s Silver Medal, which recognizes outstanding academic achievement at the undergraduate level. Preston is graduating with Honours with a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Upon his graduation from Duchess Park Secondary in 2018, Preston received the President’s Silver Anniversary Award from UNBC. A valued member of the UNBC Men’s Soccer team from 2018-2023, Preston received this year’s KJM Sales Timberwolf Award for the student-athlete who excels in the areas of athletics, academics and community service. Preston has been accepted into the Island Medical Program at UBC.
May 29 – Northwest (Terrace) – R.E.M. Lee Theatre – 1 p.m.
The first cohort to graduate from the School of Education’s revitalized regional Education program will receive their credentials at graduation events in Terrace and Quesnel.
In Terrace, 20 students will receive Bachelor of Education degrees this inaugural year, while 19 students will earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees and five students will receive Bachelor of Social Work degrees.
May 30 - Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a Institute – Ts’oohl Ts’ap Memorial Hall – 2 p.m.
Three students will receive Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a Institute-UNBC credentials this year, including 77-year-old Elder and Matriarch Julie Adams who will receive a Master of Arts degree in First Nations Studies. This will be Adams’ second credential from UNBC. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in First Nations Studies in 2001.
One student will receive Certificates in both Nisga’a Studies and General First Nations Students. And a third will receive a Certificate in General First Nations Studies during a graduation event held at Ts’oohl Ts’ap Memorial Hall in Gitwinksihlkw.
June 1 – South-Central (Quesnel) – Quesnel campus 1 p.m.
Five students at UNBC’s South-Central campus will receive their Bachelor of Education degrees as part of the first cohort to graduate from the School of Education’s revitalized regional education program.
There will also be 17 students receiving Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees and six students earning Bachelor of Social Work degrees at the graduation event in Quesnel.
June 2 – Peace River-Liard campus (Fort St. John) – Pomeroy Hotel & Conference Centre 5 p.m.
The first graduating class from the Northern Baccalaureate Nursing Program will cross the stage at the graduation celebration at UNBC’s Peace-River Liard campus. There will be nine students receiving their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
Eight students will receive Bachelor of Social Work degrees during the event at the Pomeroy Hotel & Conference Centre in Fort St. John.