The 28 graduates from the Tisdale campus. Review Photo/Devan C. Tasa
Graduations are a time to celebrate success, yet there was another purpose why people gathered at Cumberland College’s Nipawin grad: to remember.
Brenda Bakken received a posthumous bachelor of education degree. She had passed away suddenly during her third year of her degree.
“This affected our students greatly,” said Tom Weegar, the college’s president. “They’re a close-knit group, they’ve been going through all of their courses together and when one of the students passes, they’re all very deeply and profoundly affected by it.”
So the college worked with the University of Regina to get a posthumous degree for Bakken.
“I pay tribute to the University of Regina to being open to it and working with us very closely to do it, do it properly and do it well,” Weegar said.
The college president said Bakken was on the minds of the graduates as they accepted the first degrees from the joint program.
“It was just really nice to finish up with that and provide the students with closure, and the family closure as well.”
The Nipawin graduation ceremony was held May 31. The Melfort ceremony was held the day before, on May 30, and the Tisdale ceremony was held June 1. There were 158 graduates from across the region.
Weegar said the ceremonies celebrate the success of the college’s students.
“That’s a really big thing. We watch our students walk across the stage and they’re different people than the students that have come to us,” he said. “They’re confident, they’re knowledgeable and they’ve got a greater sense as to where they want to go and what they want to be.”
The graduates were from the adult basic education, business certificate, office administration, bachelor of education, continuing care assistant and practical nursing programs.
In terms of that last program, Weegar said nursing students that go on to get licensed receive an average of 97 per cent on the exam. The national average is in the low 90s.
The president said he’s proud of the graduates and pleased to be part of a personal transformation. He added later that he stepped out into the hall during the ceremonies and overheard how some of these students take care of children while they get an education.
“I say to myself sometimes: that’s why I consider our students to be heroes because they overcome things like crazy. They have two babies and they still get their Grade 12, they still get a B.Ed degree,” he said. “I could never do that. Not a hope in heck I could do that. I’m just amazed by our students’ capabilities.”
Bachelor of Education