Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 28, No.17

June 3, 2004


3,789 to graduate at spring convocations

By Barbara Black

Photo of Shulman family

All in the family: Bette Shulman, 77, and grandson Charles will both graduate next week. Granddaughter Jane supplied information for the story.
Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

The spring ritual of convocation takes place next week, with 3,789 excited graduates and their families due to attend five ceremonies over two days at Place des Arts.

Always a happy occasion, it also represents a bracing challenge for staff, who must ensure that caps and gowns are available, names are pronounced correctly and everything goes off as smoothly as possible — and it always does.

A breakdown of the statistics shows that 2,112 of the graduates are female and 1,677 are male; 1,693 are in Arts and Science, 950 in the John Molson School of Business, 773 in Engineering and Computer Science, and 373 in Fine Arts.

Of the 3,789 diplomas, 603 are for graduate degrees, and the rest, 3,217, will go to undergraduates. One of those is Bette Shulman, mother of four and grandmother of nine.

Shulman will receive her BA with a double major in Library Studies and Applied Human Sciences at June convocation. She has been taking one course per semester for the past 18 years.

When she registered for her first course at Concordia in 1986, she wanted to take a few library studies courses to re-activate the library at the synagogue where she works full-time.

Now it’s finally her turn. Her grandson Charles, 25, will receive his degree in Liberal Arts and Geography the same day. Jane Shulman, Bette’s granddaughter, was editor of The Link from 1998 to 2000 and graduated in 2001 with a BA in Journalism.

“I started at the same time as my son, to encourage him to go back to school. He ended up taking a few courses, but I just kept going,” Bette said, smiling.

She had been out of school for more than 40 years, but relished the opportunity to keep learning. Often the only white-haired person in her class, Shulman said her age presented challenges, but lots of opportunities, too.

“There were people who said they learned from my experiences, but I learned so much from them, too.” She especially liked classes in Applied Human Sciences because of the progressive material they covered, from dealing with homophobia to working with older adults and community development.

She will stay at Concordia, auditing courses. “I’d like to try philosophy and maybe history,” she said. “It’ll be nice to try something I haven’t done before.”