Trinity Western University nursing major Johan Bouwer, this year’s undergraduate class valedictorian, recognized the significant journey made by the class of 2023 – many of whom embarked on their university career in the fall of 2019, just ahead of the pandemic.
Bouwer shared his message recently, before more than 1,000 Trinity Western University graduates reaching their academic milestones this spring.
“We joined a community that pushed us towards finding who we are. We were immersed in beautiful connections that altered our lives forever. …[Graduation is] a day of celebration and acknowledgement of all that we’ve been through as a class. We really made it,” he said, also recognizing family, friends, professors, and the community who supported the class of 2023 along the way.
Bouwer is a top student who completed his degree with distinction, served as a student leader, discipleship leader, teaching assistant, research assistant, and community volunteer. He also contributed on the dean’s advisory council and nursing students’ association, and participated in completing a planetary health report card at TWU.
He was joined on stage during the recent graduation ceremony at Langley Events Centre by TWU’s largest ever graduating class.
Among them were two senior students, Rachelle Vogel and Andrew Bouchard, who won this year’s citizenship awards for outstanding leadership and positive impact on the spirit and wellbeing of the campus community.
Graduating with a major in corporate communications, Vogel served as a community life and student ministries leader, where she helped to organize multiple campus events and actively fostered community among students.
Graduating with a degree in business administration, Bouchard took on multiple campus leadership roles throughout his time at TWU, including being the 2022-23 student association president.
Two faculty members also won awards during the services, these for teaching excellence and teaching innovation.
Dr. Shane Durbach, associate professor of chemistry, won the 2023 Davis distinguished teaching award for a high level of excellence in the craft of teaching.
Dr. Matthew Etherington, professor of education, won the 2023 provost innovative teaching award for adapting new and creative methods to improve student learning.
An honourary degree of doctor of laws was conferred upon Vivek Anand Savkur, this year’s commencement speaker. A business and community leader, Savkur has served as national president of the Indo-Canadian Business Chamber, is a member of the Simon Fraser University India Advisory Council, and on the Trinity Western University Richmond steering committee, is president emeritus of the BC-India Business Network, and chairman emeritus of the Canada India Education Council (Western Canada chapter).
Trinity Western University is a global Christian liberal arts university founded in 1962, with its main campus in Langley, two other smaller campuses in Richmond, and one in Ottawa.
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