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Olds College Celebrates 108th Graduating Class

June 08, 2023

Congratulations to the 108th graduating class of Olds College of Agriculture & Technology!

On Saturday, June 3, 2023, history was made at the Ralph Klein Centre as the College's largest-ever graduating class, comprising nearly 380 graduates, walked across the stage. To accommodate the significant gathering of friends and family who came together to celebrate, the ceremony was also live streamed from the Fine Arts and Multimedia Centre.

The event commenced as graduates were led into the Ralph Klein Centre gymnasium by a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Honour Guard, accompanied by bagpiper Luke Laurence, an instructor at Olds College, along with dozens of administrators and instructors.

The official convocation ceremony began with Debbie Thompson, Vice President, Academic, Olds College, serving as the Master of Ceremonies, welcoming graduates, speakers and guests to the event. Patti Bauer, an employee of Olds College, performed O Canada, followed by Pam Piche Lashmore, Kookum (Cree/Michif for Grandmother) offered an Elder's Prayer adding a meaningful touch to the proceedings.

Greetings were then brought by the Honourable Ted Menzies, Chair, Olds College Board of Governors, as well as Earl Dreeshen, MP Red Deer - Mountain View. Celia Sutton, President, Olds College Student’s Association followed by introducing the 2023 Valedictorian – Tabitha Martin, graduate of the Animal Health Technology diploma program. Martin’s valedictorian address highlighted the fear of failure, celebrated the new beginnings and congratulated fellow graduates. 

“Our industries are waiting, our futures are coming, and our happiness lies with the present moments that will get us there,” exclaims Martin. 


The historic event was further marked by the installation of Dr. Ben Cecil as the 14th President of Olds College. With President Cecil taking his Oath of Office, swearing to “preserve well and faithfully the mission and social purpose of the College, and to ensure our highest tradition of education excellence on behalf of our students, our College, and the communities we serve.” The moment was commemorated through a Robe Ceremony overseen by both current Chair, Ted Menzies, and past Chair, Leona Staples, of the Olds College Board of Governors.

Following the installation, President Cecil approached the podium to deliver his inaugural Presidential Address. Expressing gratitude, he thanked his family, friends and the platform party for joining him on this special day. He went on to highlight the important role innovation plays in the agriculture industry.

“As you leave the College today to pursue your path and opportunities you have been provided, consider how you will contribute your knowledge, your passion, your dreams, and transform agriculture for a better world, and build a better, more prosperous, sustainable, fair society,” expresses President Cecil. 

Debbie Thompson followed President Cecil to present the 2023 Olds College Honorary Degree to Dr. Jay Cross, for his outstanding contributions to veterinary medicine and education.

The Parade of Graduands began, with students crossing the stage to shake President Cecil’s hand and pose for a commemorative photo. Those who achieved academic excellence were also awarded their honour cords. Associate Dean’s Christine Chalaturnyk, Paul Blankestijn and Lisa King, had the honour of announcing the students as they crossed the stage. 

Pam Piche Lashmore returned to the stage to acknowledge the graduates and welcome the Red Crow Community College Drum Group, who then performed an indigenous honor song.

The ceremony concluded with the presentation of graduation awards by the Olds College Board of Governors, the Olds College Alumni Association, the Faculty Association of Olds College, and President of Olds College. 


Award winners included:

Governor General’s Academic Medal (Collegiate Bronze)

  • Jenna Dell, Land & Water Resources Diploma, Environmental Stewardship & Rural Planning and Land Reclamation & Remediation 

Olds College Faculty Association Awards

  • Jamie Wiebe, Agricultural Management Diploma, AgriCommerce Major
  • Oluyemisi Ologbon, Business Management Diploma, General Management Major
  • Steven Tokarski, Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management Diploma

Olds College Alumni Association Awards

  • Hayden Sotheran, Business Management Certificate
  • Jenna Dell, Land & Water Resources Diploma, Environmental Stewardship & Rural Planning and Land Reclamation & Remediation
  • Celia Sutton, Horticulture Technologist Diploma
  • Brandon Ramirez, Agricultural & Heavy Equipment Diploma

The award presentations conclude with the prestigious Presidential Instructional Excellence Award, recognizing the exceptional contributions of Mark Fournier, an Instructor, from the Werklund School of Agriculture Technology. Mark's exceptional commitment to excellence in teaching and his profound impact on student learning make him a deserving recipient of this prestigious honor. 

As the ceremony drew to a close, the recessional commenced, accompanied by the sounds of Métis music performed by the talented musicians Watson Kaquitts and Watson P Kaquitts from Morley, Alberta.

Congratulations to the Class of 2023!

Watch the live streamed recording

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