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November 22, 2001 Concordia convocation back 'home' in Place des Arts



Fall graduates from South Africa

Paseka Maboya and Mohap Mohaladi, graduates of a four-year project to train 18 teaching educators in Free State, South Africa.

Claire L'Heureux-Dubé, Chancellor Eric Molson

Justice Claire L’Heureux-Dubé, this year’s honorary doctorate recipient, with Chancellor Eric Molson.

Photos by Barry McGee

by Barbara Black

After two years at Molson Centre because of a protracted labour dispute, Concordia’s convocation ceremony moved back to the Salle Wilfrid Pelletier of Place des Arts on Nov. 16 for the single fall ceremony (five take place in June). Approximately 1,000 graduates were eligible for diplomas and degrees, and most were on hand.

Supreme Court Justice Claire L’Heureux-Dubé received an honorary degree at the ceremony. The judge, whose liberal views on social justice sometimes make her a lone dissenting voice on the bench, told graduates that “a call to arms for equality today is an investment in tomorrow.”

She had herself faced discrimination, she said, and she urged them to fight “isms” of all kinds. “Do what is right and fair, and affirmation will come in due course.”

While the demands of her career at a Hamilton hospital prevented PhD in psychology Melissa Lieberman from attending to accept her gold medal as top graduate, two master’s graduates made it all the way from South Africa.

Paseka Maboya and Mohapi Mohaladi strode across the stage, their faces wreathed in smiles, as presenter Professor Bill Knitter explained to the audience that they were part of a special program for education instructors in an impoverished former black township. Maboya, 46, is rector of a college in Free State and has a previous degree, in linguistics. Mohaladi, 41, is a specialist in quality management in the Department of Education.

Nine students have now graduated from the program, and six more are expected to graduate next spring. The other graduates this fall are Taolo Molebatsi, Nkopan Mphanya and Molefi Thobileng. Their supervisors at Concordia were Professors Clarence Bayne, Palmer Acheson and Jill Didur. Last spring Thabo Letho, Noa Komako, Leteketao Taona and Moroke Sematle graduated. Their supervisors were Mary Baldwin, Florence Stevens, Bayne and Acheson. The program was difficult to administer, however, and is not likely to be repeated.

Valedictorian Anna Woodrow said that through education, graduates can make crucial contributions to society, and gave the examples of New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and Canadian nationalist Maude Barlow. Woodrow has just earned her PhD with a thesis called Why Are They Laughing? The Re-Formulation of Identity in Canadian Stand-up Comedy, and is currently working with Sociology Professor William Reimer on a project that examines the changing rural economy in Canada.

More on the New Rural Economy project