News From AU

New Global and Social Analysis website

Learn more on-line about the Governance Law and Management Degree available at Athabasca University by browsing the new virtual home pages for the Governance, Law and Management (GLM) and Public Administration degree programs

The new site is located at:

AU’s existence confirmed at June 13 and 14 Convocation ceremonies

“I admit I traveled to convocation not only to receive my degree, but to confirm that Athabasca University exists,” Bachelor of Administration graduate Ramona DeRose joked with fellow graduates, family and friends in her Address by a Graduate at Athabasca University’s Undergraduate Convocation ceremony, June 14.

DeRose was one of the degree program graduates who traveled to Athabasca last weekend to see for themselves that the institution does indeed exist, to participate in the Convocation ceremony, and to meet the professors, tutors and classmates who have played such an integral part in their education and lives. Seven hundred and sixty-three students graduated from their respective degree programs this year, and over 300 of them took in ceremonies, luncheons, pancake breakfasts, and other events in AU’s biggest event of the year.

In her speech, DeRose reflected on how much distance learning can seem a lonely experience, yet it takes many people in order for one person to earn a degree. She shared her memory of a moment with her son that happened while she sat working on an Economics course. He asked why she bothered to go to school, and DeRose turned the question back to him, asking why he practiced soccer.

“Because I want to get better,” he replied.

“Me too,” she responded.

“Although we are celebrating the end of our days as undergraduates,” DeRose continued, “we must recognize that the commitment to learning, and the desire to become what we are capable of becoming is our true achievement. For it is in the striving that we learn, and in the struggle for knowledge that we reveal our true potential.”

Parts of her address echoed the words of her graduate counterpart, Bill Robinson, the Master of Arts – Integrated Studies student who delivered the Address by a Graduate at Friday’s ceremony. He reflected on the path that he and his fellow distance learners have shared over the past few years of their lives.

“As many of you will attest, I have developed what I feel are very close bonds with many other students and staff in the program,” Robinson said. “I believe that these relationships are built on the shared challenges and successes we all face as we work our way through the various Graduate programs. I cannot tell you the pride I have felt when I witnessed one AU student offering advice and assistance to another when things may not have been going well.

“Tragically, I lost my father during the later part of my degree program,” he continued. “However the support I was shown from the other students and professor was truly outstanding.”

Edmonton construction giant Robert Stollery attended the graduate Convocation ceremony, June 13, to accept an Honourary Doctor of Laws. In his address, Stollery encouraged graduates to examine their own definition of success, and he imparted a message of the importance of lifelong learning, and the role of volunteering in creating the kind of world we all want to live in.

“You must look to the future with enthusiasm and confidence,” Stollery urged grads. “Work hard and smart and remember that old Eskimo proverb, “?Only the lead dog sees the landscape.’

“Indeed today’s graduates not only have the ability to lead, you have the responsibility to lead. Rather than complain about the acts of government and corporations, get involved in any way you can, and you can have a part in building the kind of Canada you, and your children want to live in.”

Canadian broadcasting star Vicki Gabereau lent levity to the June 14 undergraduate ceremony as she accepted a Doctor of Letters. She charmed the audience with her description of her own struggle with education – including a high school mathematics mark of 2 per cent – and discussed the education her life has delivered.

Governing Council Chair Robert Fulton started reaching for a pen and application form when Gabereau asked, “Can I enroll?”

In his address, AU president Dr. Dominique Abrioux congratulated the graduates on their accomplishments, outlined the most recent accomplishments, and urged the AU community to continue striving to improve.

“Athabasca University cannot afford to rest on its laurels and to be satisfied with past accomplishments,” Abrioux said on Friday. “We must accelerate our transformation into the electronic learning environment, and use this as an opportunity to continually improve upon the quality of the learning and the services we provide to our students.

“We must further develop our international reputation for excellence in research and distance and online education,” he continued, “for without such a reputation our domestic market will be at risk, as will be the added value associated with an Athabasca University degree that today’s graduands have worked so hard to earn.”

Balbinder Atwal, a Bachelor of Nursing graduate who came looking forward to meeting her professors and tutors reported she won’t forget her first real graduation event.

“I think it’s very important for me and my children to see that this is the result of hard work,” she said. “And it is a celebration for your hard work. It’s the beginning of good things. It’s a closure in that you’ve finished your studies, but it opens a lot of doors. Education is really important in a person’s life.”

Miss the ceremonies? The proceedings were taped this year and will be available for viewing at a later date. You can also read the complete Convocation speeches by clicking on the below.

Dominique Abrioux
Undergraduate ceremony (
Graduate ceremony (

Robert Fulton – (Still in Transcription Department)

Graduate speeches
Bill Robinson (Still in Transcription Department)
Ramona DeRose (

Honourary degree recipients
Robert Stollery (
Vicki Gabereau (Still in Transcription Department)