Sault College prepares for 2015 Convocation


Friends and family of Sault College’s newest graduates will come together to celebrate and recognize academic achievements at three spring convocation ceremonies.

Thursday’s May 21st ceremony will feature Dave Wilkin, founder and CEO of Ten Thousand Coffees, a place where professionals can tap into the ideas, insights and talent of the next generation and where students and recent graduates can find industry professionals to kick-start their career. Sault College will be the first College in Ontario to partner with Ten Thousand Coffees, giving their graduates, students, staff and faculty the opportunity to get and stay connected, share ideas and gain expertise and insights.

The morning ceremony of Friday, May 22nd will feature a keynote address by Thanh Campbell known as Orphan 32 who was born in Vietnam and came to Canada as part of the last flight out of Saigon in 1975 with 56 other orphan children. In addition, Chief Joe Hare from M’Chigeeng First Nation will be receiving an honorary diploma in Social Service Worker – Native Specialization for the leadership he has shown in his community and the region.

Friday afternoon’s ceremony will feature Sault College’s first graduating class of Digital Film Production. In honour of this achievement, award-winning film-maker and director, Warren P. Sonoda, will be giving the keynote address and receive an  honorary diploma in Digital Film Production from Sault College. Sonoda has become one of Canada’s most prolific and accomplished film-makers, having directed 10 feature films in 10 years including Sault Ste. Marie-based productions “Swearnet” and “The Masked Saint.” He most recently received the best feature film award at the International Christian Film Festival.

In addition to an inspiring lineup of keynote speakers, Sault College will also commemorate the completion of its Science Without Borders Scholarship program with 20 Brazilian students participating in convocation.

To recognize the College’s recent signing of the Indigenous Education Protocol, platform party guests, faculty and student procession will include White Thunder Women and Baawaating Community Jingle Dress Dancers.  Smudging will be available before the events in the Native Education Centre. As in previous years, the College welcomes the “Korahsters” from Korah Collegiate, under the direction of Denine Williams, who will be singing the national anthem and a dedication song before each ceremony on Friday.

Following the presentation of liripipes and diplomas, there will be a travelling song performed by the White Frost Drum. A reception with refreshments will take place in the Common Link after each ceremony where faculty and staff can celebrate with students, their families and friends.

The first ceremony begins at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 21st and confers students in the School of Health, Wellness and Continuing Education. The remaining two ceremonies will take place on Friday, May 22nd with a ceremony for graduates from the School of Community Services, Interdisciplinary Studies and Community and Faculty Enrichment taking place at 10:00 a.m., while the graduation ceremony for students from the School of Environment, Technology and Business will take place at 2:00 p.m. All of the convocation events will take place at the Health and Wellness Centre with a total of 1,063 students eligible to graduate from Sault College this year.


About Keynote Speakers

Dave Wilkin

Social entrepreneur Dave Wilkin is on a mission: to unlock the power of the next generation. The founder of—the world’s first movement connecting students, recent grads, and young professionals with thousands of organizations and industry professionals for coffee conversations. Wilkin is a multi-award winning entrepreneur, marketer, and leader – helping youth around the world have coffee conversations to share ideas, unlock insights, and access opportunities.

With rural Canadian roots, Wilkin’s story from small town to global entrepreneur brings to life the power of the millennial generation, entrepreneurship, and innovative disruption. He’s worked with prominent brands, organizations, government, and industry leaders to help them engage youth and shape what’s next. Wilkin regularly contributes to national print, radio, and broadcast media outlets such as The Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, and CBC as a thought-leader on young professionals and entrepreneurship. He also sits on a number of boards including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Cannes Young Marketers, and CivicAction.


Thanh Campbell

Thanh Campbell was born in Vietnam and came to Canada as part of the last flight out of Saigon in 1975 with 56 other orphan children. His book cronicles his experience of being one of the children airlifted out and reuniting with them 32 years later. Thanh is a graduate of Redeemer University College and currently serves with Trinity Western University as the Development Officer for Eastern Canada. In 2006, Thanh reunited with many of the children that flew over with him back in 1975 as war orphans. This milestone was captured numerous times in the media. Invited to be a guest on such programs as CBC News, TVO, Canada AM, 100 Huntley Street, he has had the chance to share his life story to the Nation. The 57 Orphans’ story has been covered by many newspapers including the Toronto Star, Hamilton Spectator, Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun, Saigon Newspaper, and included in the French Consulate Newsletter. Thanh has been invited to speak at numerous groups, churches and schools across Canada as a keynote speaker sharing his story of coming to Canada.Thanh Campbell is a master motivational speaker. He has spoken to audiences across the country, and is repeatedly asked to speak at Fortune 500 Companies on topics critical to building the culture of their corporation. He invites audiences everywhere to live a “Life of Purpose.”


Warren P. Sonoda

Warren Sonoda has become one of Canada’s most prolific and accomplished filmmakers having directed 10 feature films in 10 years including Sault Ste. Marie-based productions “Swearnet” and “The Masked Saint”. He’s also directed over 160 music videos and six TV series including “Trailer Park Boys” seasons 8 and 9 for Netflix Originals and the Emmy-Award winning “Odd Squad” for PBS. He also knocked Martin Scorsese’s “Wolf of Wall Street” out of the Guinness Book of World Records for the record amount of expletives in a feature film (“Swearnet” with 868), was recently elected as DGC Ontario’s Director Rep, is Chair of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Film Fest and received the Diamond Jubilee Medal from Queen Elizabeth II for his outstanding contributions to Canadian film.  He’s incredibly honoured to deliver Sault College’s keynote convocation speech and always has a special place in his heart for the Sault.


About Chief Joe Hare

Chief Joe Hare is the longest standing Chief of his community which speaks to his connection and commitment to the people of M’Chigeeng. Chief Hare was also the Grand Chief of the Anishnabek Nation, presiding over the 44 First Nation members. In 1980, under Chief Hare’s leadership, M’Chigeeng became the first Ontario First Nation to create a locally-controlled band-operated school.  This became a model for all band office schools that followed. During his tenure, M’Chigeeng has been progressive in making significant investments in the energy sector resulting in strong revenue streams that have created sustainability for this community. Profits made from this participation will be shared and distributed to the membership signifying Chief Hare’s commitment to equity and social justice. Through his leadership approach Chief Hare imparts First Nations teachings to the community founded on a belief that a connection with their history and knowledge of their achievements it will steady them through trying times in their lifetimes.


About Science Without Borders

The program, launched in 2011, was developed by the Brazilian government in response to the country’s fast economic growth which is outpacing Brazil’s ability to educate skilled workers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The Brazilian government chose Canada as an education destination of choice due to its excellent education system and leading industry sectors. Sault College has taken part in this exciting international scholarship program that sends upper year University students to Canada to improve their English skills and gain academic and hands on experience through attending Canadian post-secondary institutions and working with Canadian industry partners. These students are from the areas of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Pharmacy Technician, Civil Engineering and Computer Programmer.