Grads from Classes of 2020 and 2021 celebrated at in-person convocation ceremonies

Graduates at 2020-2021 convocation ceremonies at The Carlu, October 29, 2022

Hundreds of George Brown College alums who missed in-person graduation due to the pandemic donned gowns and crossed the stage during ceremonies held at The Carlu in downtown Toronto.  

We celebrated the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 at three ceremonies and receptions on October 29, where more than 900 graduates got the chance to reconnect with former classmates and faculty. The graduates and their achievements were honoured at virtual convocation ceremonies in June 2020 and 2021. Still, in a survey, those graduates told us they wanted an in-person celebration of their accomplishments.  

George Brown College President Dr. Gervan Fearon praised the graduates for their achievements at the college and beyond. And he highlighted the impact George Brown graduates continue to make in many industries, including front-line workers who've been vital to Ontario's pandemic response and recovery.  

"Our graduates are the innovators and problem-solvers working to improve our communities, our societies, and indeed our world," Fearon said.

Inspiring messages

Three professionals who've accomplished incredible things so far in their careers — two of them George Brown graduates — delivered inspiring messages to graduates.  

Chris Campbell, Vice President of the Toronto Carpenters' Union Local 27 and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Representative for the Carpenters' District Council of Ontario is a graduate of George Brown's School of Apprenticeships and Skilled Trades.  

Author and television personality Chef Raquel Fox is a graduate of the Chef School. 

And two-time, two-starred Michelin Chef Masaki Saito, owner of Toronto's Sushi Masaki Saito, also addressed the graduates.  

Campbell spoke about his struggles when he moved to Canada from Jamaica as a young man and how hard work and perseverance helped him overcome those challenges. And he reminded graduates of the importance of giving back.  

"It was the American civil rights activist Maya Angelou who said, 'When you learn, teach, when you get, give.' So, pay it forward to others," he said. "Give back to your community. Canada is a land of opportunity. Stay focused on your goals and values. George Brown College has equipped you with valuable tools. Don't let the adversities in your life determine your path forward."  

Chef Saito spoke to the graduates about the importance of happiness.  

"Please work hard and feel a lot of happiness. Don't stop asking for more," he said. "You may face bad times and sad times. But you must stay positive and remember that true happiness will help you overcome everything."  

And Chef Fox started her address by asking the graduates to consider the question, "What's in a name?"  

"What does your name stand for? What will it stand for five or 10 years from now?" she asked. "I know a name can open a window of opportunities. How many times have you heard the expression, Your reputation precedes you?"  

Fox shared four words that she says have contributed to her professional success.  

"I call them my S.T.A.A. — self-definition, transparency, authenticity, and accountability."