#OISEGRAD23 Congratulations You Did It!
You are an inspiration. With determination to make the world a better place, you have achieved the difficult task of completing your studies in a challenging time. You have now earned a degree from one of the top education faculties in the world – and you should be very proud.
Congratulations from OISE Dean
Congratulations to OISE’s Class of 2023! Completing a graduate degree is a major milestone by any measure. But when that degree is earned at the number one faculty of education in Canada during a global pandemic, crossing the University of Toronto’s convocation stage becomes a life-defining moment.
Some might say that you are primed for success in spite of the challenges of the last few years; at OISE, we believe you will succeed because of them. As graduate students, you were at the heart of our ground-breaking efforts to usher in new paradigms in teaching, learning, research, and engagement. Your experiences will continue to inform your work as OISE alumni, committed to transforming lives through education, leadership, innovation and creativity.
As an OISE graduate, you are now part of a worldwide network of more than 100,000 alumni improving the world. Our graduates include Order of Canada recipients, an Ontario premier, cabinet ministers, award-winning teachers, social entrepreneurs, clinical psychologists, university and college professors and researchers, CEOs, policymakers, and more.
I urge you to become an active participant in this one-of-a-kind network. Join in our many special alumni events, subscribe to our newsletter, access our career supports and read how OISE alumni just like you are making an impact—and, in time, share your knowledge and expertise as a mentor to new generations of OISE students.
Above all else, please keep in touch. Because even though you have much to celebrate today with the many family and friends who helped to get you here, we think your future is even more promising.
Thank YOU for having chosen OISE. We can’t wait to see what you do next!
Convocation Speaker: Dr. Kwame McKenzie
Dr. Kwame McKenzie is CEO of the Wellesley Institute, a full Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and an international expert on the social causes of illness and the development of effective, equitable social policy and health systems. He is also the Director of Health Equity at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and a practicing psychiatrist.
As a physician, psychiatrist, researcher and policy advisor, Dr. McKenzie has worked to identify the causes of mental illness, particularly in cross-cultural health, for over two decades. He is an active, funded researcher of social, community, clinical and policy issues, and has nearly 200 academic publications, including four books.
Convocation Speaker: Dr. Dean Barnes
Dr. Dean Barnes, Superintendent of Education at the Halton District School Board, is a double graduate of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) with a Bachelor of Education in 1994 and a Doctor of Philosophy in 2015. His doctoral research focused on restorative peacemaking circles, reflecting his commitment to justice issues.
As a principal and leader of the region's Welcome Centre for newcomers and international students, he brought these values to his administrative role. Dr. Barnes maintained connections with OISE and proposed an innovative high school credit program to support post-secondary pathways for racialized and Indigenous students.
Eagle Feather Bearer
Dr. Eve Tuck, an Associate Professor of Critical Race and Indigenous Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto, is serving as an Eagle Feather Bearer for this year’s ceremony.
Eagle Feather Bearers are nominated by their faculty or division, and are members of both the U of T community and an Indigenous community. In many Indigenous cultures – including the Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas – the Eagle Feather is sacred because it flies closest to the Creator. It symbolizes respect, honour, strength, courage and wisdom. The Eagle Feather used at convocation was gifted to the Office of the President by Elders at the 2017 entrustment ceremony for the University of Toronto Truth and Reconciliation Steering Committee’s Report, “Answering the Call: Wecheehetowin.”
Your #OISEGRAD23 Moments
From 3 minutes on screen to defending in person: Doctoral grad Nidhi Sachdeva earns success on thesis journey
Dr. Sachdeva, a doctoral candidate who successfully defended this thesis to her committee in April, was in high spirits speaking about her successes this spring.
Professor Leesa Wheelahan, who currently holds the William G. Davis Chair in Community College Leadership, says it is about time that the colleges convened for this special symposium.
OISE alumni who graduated with virtual convocations return for in-person celebrations. More than 7,700 members of the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 are expected to cross the stage at Convocation Hall.
Welcome To The OISE Alumni Family
Our alumni community – over 100,000 strong – is making an impact in education every day. With a degree from one of the world’s top education faculties, you are now equipped with the knowledge and skills to help make the world a better and brighter place. As an alum, you have access to a wide range of benefits and services that will connect you to meaningful professional opportunities as well as fellow alumni and new friends.
Check out well wishes to the Class of 2023 from family, friends and faculty.
Well Wishes From Your Fellow Alumni
Cindy Sinclair, MEd '09, PhD '17
"The world needs you. You have been given the tools to become a part of something big, and to be leaders in your areas. You are a graduate from the number one faculty of education in Canada. Pick up the baton and follow your dreams. Think big. Think outside the box. Most of all, believe in yourself."
Shakina Rajendram, PhD '19
"Know that you are not alone because you are now part of a global community of scholars – unified not by your geographical location, but by your joint commitment to transforming education towards equitable, socially-just, culturally-responsive, and high quality learning."
Sabrina Persaud, MEd '13
"I know this is a tough time, but remember there are so many skills that you’ve developed that are transferrable across different industries and sectors. You have so much passion, you are all so amazing and unique, and you are going to do so well. Reach out to your fellow alumni if you need anything at all."
Rumeet Billan, MA '10, PhD '14
"I want you to know that it is not about the legacy you want to leave, but how you want to show up every single day. I hope you enjoy every single moment and that you take the time to celebrate this incredible achievement. Congratulations!"
Shelley Murphy, PhD '12
"You’ve navigated a lot – especially in the last months. But with resilience, dedication and hard work, you have graduated from an institution that this year was ranked the 5th best educational institution in the world. You have much to be proud of."
Suleyman Demi, PhD '19
"Don't rest on your laurels. Put all that you have learned at OISE to good use and make a difference in your various communities. Be inspired by the historical moment we are in to change the course of history."
Professor Ann Lopez
"As OISE graduates, we are counting on you in these challenging times to lead the charge for social justice and equity wherever you may be and in whatever context you may find yourselves. Go out into the world and create that change."
Michael Salvatori, PhD '07
"Congratulations on the future that awaits you and the privilege to help students flourish. To help them become happy and productive citizens in our civil society. To connect their learning to their lived experiences, and to their discovery."
Liliana Compagnone, BEd '83
"My advice to you would be to send love ahead of you in everything that you do and everywhere that you go. You are never alone. Just look around and there will be someone there who is willing to help."