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June 13, 2012

More than 1,500 graduates and guests are expected to attend Camosun College's Spring 2012 Graduation Ceremonies Tuesday, June 19, 1pm and 4pm, at the Royal Theatre, Victoria. Tuesday's ceremony is the largest ever hosted by Camosun College, and more than 100 faculty will be on hand to cheer their students' achievements.

In addition to presenting certificates, diplomas and bachelor's degrees in Aboriginal Education, Arts and Science, Business, Health and Human Services, Trades, Technologies, Sport Education and Adult Upgrading (Access), the college will present two major awards—the Governor General's Collegiate Bronze Academic Medal and the Camosun College Distinguished Alumni Award.

Ceremonies begin at 1pm for students graduating in Arts, Sciences and Business programs. Ceremonies begin at 4pm for students graduating in Trades, Technologies, Health and Human Services, Adult Upgrading (Access), Aboriginal Education and Sport and Exercise Education.

Governor General's Collegiate Bronze Academic Medal—two medals awarded

The Governor General's medal is presented annually to recognize the top academic achievements of a graduate or graduates of a two-year or longer program. This year the medal is awarded to two recipients with identical A+ averages: Bryan Dwyer, graduating with a Diploma in Business Administration, Marketing Option; and, Erica McMonnies, graduating with a Diploma in Business Administration, Accounting Option.

Bryan Dwyer has completed his two-year diploma in Business Administration, Marketing. He says he chose the program at Camosun because it was "a local, cost-effective option" which gave him the flexibility to finish training in two years with a diploma or go on to complete his four-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree in Marketing & Communications. "I also appreciated the fact that the instructors have a lot of real-world marketing experience to impart," he says. What piqued his initial interest in marketing was Seth Godin's book: All Marketers Are Liars Tell Stories. The book's advice for marketers is "go tell a story. If it doesn't resonate, tell a different one. When you find a story that works, live that story, make it true, be authentic and subject to scrutiny. All marketers are storytellers." Bryan also had the opportunity to work with local advertising agency Copeland Communications as one of their "zombie interns" last summer. Copeland's zombie intern contest inspired students to highlight their creative capabilities by promoting themselves in inventive ways through social media, and all means possible. Since his work term, Bryan has been studying to complete his BBA at Camosun by next May, and after that he plans to pursue employment with marketing/communications agency that "focuses on creative strategies and consumer insight." "I'm extremely interested in what motivates consumers to behave in certain ways, and what can motivate them to change their behavior."

Erica McMonnies has completed her two-year diploma in Business Administration, Accounting, and plans to graduate next year with her four-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree in Accounting from Camosun. Erica grew up on Pender Island and in Victoria, and says she chose Camosun because it was close to home, cost-effective and "known to be the best place in town" for the specific accounting training that she wanted. "The best thing about my experiences here were the instructors," she says. "They truly cared about my learning and were willing to talk when needed. They made sure we were all well prepared especially for our industry exams and seemed genuinely invested in our education." Erica decided to come to Camosun after working as a grocery store supervisor for three years after high school. She enjoyed stock taking, inventorying merchandise and analyzing the numbers so much, that a co-worker suggested she should be an accountant. Now Erica has her sights set on completing her degree and pursuing her Chartered Accountant (CA) designation.

2012 Distinguished Alumni Award

Camosun College Distinguished Alumnus, Cheri Wu.

2012 Camosun College Distinguished Alumni Award winner Cheri Wu.

This year's Camosun College Distinguished Alumnus is Cheri Wu, a 1992 graduate of Camosun's Diploma in Dental Hygiene program. Wu was one of three dynamic and accomplished alumni nominated for the award this year. Those included: Ron Heal, CMA and General Manager of Peninsula Co-op who is renowned for his professional accomplishments as well as his extensive community service and volunteerism on numerous high-profile community boards; and, Linda Leone, a long-time and respected instructor in Camosun's two-year Early Learning and Care diploma program, who is also a committed leader and advocate in the field of Early Childhood Education and who has made many educational and community contributions at the local and provincial level.

Cheri Wu is a dental hygienist and owner of her own company Focus on Dental Hygiene. As a single parent she entered the college initially taking upgrading courses and eventually enrolling in the two-year Dental Hygiene program. After graduating in 1992, she transferred to UBC where she completed her Bachelor of Dental Science (DH) degree. There Wu earned several honours including a gold medal for academic achievement, a third-year academic scholarship for her exceptional academic standing, and a certificate of recognition from the Academy of Dentistry for Persons with Disabilities. After UBC she became a dental hygienist for Vancouver Island's Cool Aid Community Dental Clinic which serves persons with mental health and addictions challenges. She began focusing her dental skills on patients with special considerations including those with anxiety, patients with mental and/or physical disabilities and persons with HIV/AIDS. Wu credits her success to Camosun College and to the first dentist she worked with, Dr. Bill Hunter. "I credit Camosun College for all that I have accomplished throughout the years, and to Dr. Hunter for his mentorship, support and humanity that enriched my education and confidence," says Wu. "At Camosun I was treated as an adult and with professionalism, and I worked part-time establishing the college's student society which really made me feel part of the college. The course load was heavy, but not only did I receive an excellent education, I also learned to believe in my capabilities. Once you graduate from the Dental Hygiene program, you have excellent problem-solving skills and the ability to "look outside the box." The program gave me the courage to say "WHY NOT?" instead of "WHY?" and that has led me on different paths in my career. I love working with my hands as well as my mind. I get great satisfaction from empowering people to be responsible for their oral health and seeing how it contributes to their overall health. Like they say, 'A smile is worth a thousand words.'"

"Cheri has a generous spirit, and a compassionate, gentle approach to her clinical care," says nominator and Chair of Camosun's Dental Programs Shirley Bassett. "Not only has she spent her career helping patients in need, she mentors young students and lectures part-time to students and other dental hygiene schools and organizations. She is an expert on clients with special needs and on ultrasonic and air polishing implementation. Cheri continues to be an amazing role model to all in the dental hygiene profession."

Camosun College congratulates all of its outstanding Spring 2012 graduates and award recipients this year.

Last updated: September 23, 2015 5:13 pm

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