College of the Rockies Celebrates Annual Convocation

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Image shows College of the Rockies President David Walls shaking the hand of Lieutenant Governor's Medal recipient Brenda Cortes Vargas during the 2019 commencement ceremony.
College of the Rockies President and CEO, David Walls, congratulates Lieutenant Governor’s Medal recipient, Brenda Cortes Vargas, at the 43rd annual commencement ceremony on Friday, June 7.

College of the Rockies’ President and CEO, David Walls, presided over the College’s 43rd convocation ceremony on Friday, June 7.

After a welcome from Acting Vice President, Heather Hepworth student representative Daniel Denegri Estrada provided an inspiring speech in which he extolled the benefits of attending post-secondary at College of the Rockies.

“The College has provided us with an unrivaled personalized learning experience which has improved our ability to understand and retain the course material,” he said. “This is largely thanks to the professors and faculty who tirelessly work to make the learning experience for all students and engaging and enjoyable one.”

President Walls then addressed graduates, reminding them that in what some call the post-truth era, it is more important than ever for them to use their critical thinking skills.

“Information has always been vulnerable to manipulation and a misfortune of the times we live in is that instant access to information, and its sheer volume, has wrought increased potential for manipulation,” Walls said. “My hope is that College of the Rockies has armed you with not just the technical aspects of your discipline, but also the ability to be discerning.”

Jesse Nicholas, Chair of the College’s Board of Governors assisted with the presentation of academic medals. 

The Lieutenant Governor’s Medal, awarded to a student who promotes diversity and inclusion, reconciliation, civic engagement, and the advancement of human rights, was presented to Brenda Cortes Vargas. A graduate of the post-degree program in sustainable business, Cortes Vargas is originally from Mexico City. She hopes to remain in B.C. to pursue an entrepreneurial career, support economic and social development, and continue to enjoy the region’s beautiful surroundings.

The Governor General’s Bronze Medal, awarded to the student who has achieved the highest academic standing upon graduation from a two-year diploma or associate degree program, was awarded to Sarah Clarricoates. A graduate of the Business Management Accounting diploma program, Clarricoates earned a grade-point-average of 9.67 out of 10. She plans to return to the College in the fall for the Bachelor of Business Administration: Sustainable Business Practices program.

The President’s Award of Excellence is presented to a first- or second-year student, planning to complete a four-year degree at the College or elsewhere, who has achieved the highest cumulative grade-point-average.  Rebecca Suzanne Barron graduated from the Business Management certificate program with a perfect 10 out of 10 grade-point-average. Originally from the UK, Barron moved from Scotland to Fernie last year to study at the College while enjoying the skiing and mountain biking available in the East Kootenay. She will be continuing her education at the College, pursuing a Business Management Accounting diploma

“It was a great thrill to recognize these three worthy recipients,” says Walls.  “I am proud of each and every one of our graduates and of the terrific team we have in place at the College who played a part in their success stories.”

To date, College of the Rockies has awarded 575 certificates, diplomas and/or degrees to students in the 2018/19 academic year with the potential for 255 additional credentials being awarded as more programs wrap up in June. 

One hundred eighty-four graduates were able to attend the June 7th ceremony, the highest number to attend in the ceremony’s 43 years. This year’s graduating class included, for the first time, fourteen Bachelor of Science in Nursing students who completed all four years of the program at the College’s Cranbrook campus.


About College of the Rockies
For more than 40 years, College of the Rockies has provided post-secondary education that meets the needs and aspirations of the people, industry and businesses of our region. Each year, we welcome more than 10,000 full-time and part-time students into a full range of programs, including: skilled trades, university studies, adult upgrading, early childhood education, health and human services, business, office administration, tourism, hospitality, recreation, fire services, continuing education and contract training. Through smaller class sizes, highly-personalized instruction and dedicated support services, our students are primed to succeed in the job market, or in the next stage of their academic journey.


Heather Jackson
Manager, Communications and Marketing
College of the Rockies