OLDS — Olds College president Stuart Cullum is cautiously optimistic that students and instructors will finally be allowed to return to in-person classes this fall.
“With the announcement by Premier (Jason) Kenney that we will be moving into stage 3 (reopening) on July, 1 we are optimistic that we will all be able to return to campus for the fall semester," Cullum wrote in an email.
“Planning is underway for a fall return to campus. As far as masks and social distancing, we will continue to follow the guidelines put out by Alberta Health Services.”
Cullum said some classes will be offered in-person and online “so that we can continue to reach a broader group of students who may not otherwise be able to attend Olds College.”
This year, due to the pandemic, Olds College held two convocations (grad ceremonies) in one day online. The facility’s 105th and 106th ceremonies premiered on June 5.
The 2020 Valedictory address was given by Applied Science - Agribusiness convocate Jamie Kuzma.
The 2021 Valedictory address given by Business Management Diploma - Sports Management Major convocate Katharina Oeltermann, who came all the way farom Germany to play soccer and study here.
Honorary awards were presented to Sheldon Kennedy for 2020 and posthumously to former OC chair Robert Clark for 2021.
Following are other awards issued during the two ceremonies:
Governor General’s Academic Collegiate Bronze Medalion: David John Klaver, Horticulture Technologist diploma.
Olds College Alumni Association Graduation Award: Michael Frankiw, Agricultural Management, Production and Agricommerce major.
Olds College Alumni Association Proficiency Graduation Prize: Brendan Klassen, Agricultural & Heavy Equipment Certificate; Calnek North, Agricultural Management, Production major.
Olds College Faculty Association Outstanding Student Awards: Mariflor Pasa, Business Management Certificate; Kyle Howard, Turfgrass Management Certificate; Brent Sereda, Agricultural & Heavy Equipment diploma.
Governor General’s Academic Collegiate Bronze Medalion: Lacey Evelyn Edwards, convocate of the Land & Water Resources diploma with a Reclamation & Environmental Stewardship major.
Olds College Alumni Association Graduation Award: Michael Frankiw, Agriculture Management, Production and Agricommerce major; Katherine Sopotyk, Agriculture Management, Production major.
Olds College Alumni Association Proficiency Graduation Prize: Katharina Oeltermann, Business Management diploma, Sports Management major; Devin Vriend, Agricultural Management, Production and Agricommerce major.
Olds College Faculty Association Outstanding Student Awards: Caoimhe Swords-Beales, Land and Water Resources diploma, Reclamation & Environmental Stewardship major; Mariflor Pasa, Business Management diploma; Grayson Chalmers, Apparel Technology diploma, Fashion Apparel major.
Olds College Presidential Instructional Excellence Award: Karen Lesnick, Animal Health Instructor, School of Life Science and Business.
Cullum was philosophical about the decision to hold both ceremonies virtually.
"Given the COVID-19 cases at the time of convocation we knew we would not be able to host it in person,” he wrote.
However, he’s optimistic the college will be able to hold next year’s ceremony in pre-pandemic fashion.
“We are looking forward to being able to have an in-person convocation next spring. It is one of our favourite days at Olds College,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, the $21 million upgrading and expansion projects for the James Murray Building, as well as $15.16 million to expand the Lachin McKinnon Building and Animal Health Technology Labs on campus are on schedule, he said.
“We are really looking forward to these two new additions to our campus," he wrote.
“The Ag Tech Learning Hub is on track to open for September 2022, and the new Animal Health Education Centre is on track for September 2023.”
-With files from Olds College.ca.