First-ever Knox College virtual degree conferral ceremony
May 13, 2020, should have been Knox College’s 176th Convocation ceremony. However, given physical distancing restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Knox conferred all degrees in absentia and held a virtual celebration.
At Knox College’s first-ever virtual degree conferral ceremony, the Reverend Amanda Currie, Moderator of the 145th General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada, offered the Invocation Prayer from her home in Saskatchewan. She prayed for the graduands, “We thank you for all the ways that their education and formation at Knox has prepared them for the vocations to which you will call them, and for the fact that they will keep learning and growing, year by year, as they seek your will, use their gifts, and offer their lives in service of Christ and God’s people.”
Acting Principal Stuart Macdonald said, “I am deeply impressed by the faculty, staff, and all of our students who completed this academic year successfully, despite the fact that we had to offer our last three weeks of classes and our exam week remotely. We did it. You did it! Congratulations.
“My prayer is that the same spirit of adaptation, that willingness to pivot and change in order to meet the challenge, is what you will take into this next year and into our rather uncertain future. Whether it’s in hospitals, churches, or counselling situations, wherever God calls you: finding new ways to connect in order to meet the real and deeply felt needs of people is what you are called to do. Your calling matters, and so it’s important that you rely on God as you move forward, and strive to meet the needs, whether they’re spiritual, psychological, or practical.”
Professor Peter McKinnon, Convener of the Knox College Board of Governors, brought greetings on behalf of the Board, noting that the conferral of degrees is the highlight and broadest objective of the Board’s work.
The Reverend Duncan Jeffrey, President of the Knox-Ewart Graduates’ Association, presented the Knox College Gold Medal to Dave Lee, the graduating Master of Divinity student with the highest academic standing in the program. A variety of other prizes and awards were also given; see knox.utoronto.ca/2020prizes.
Knox conferred degrees, diplomas, and certificates upon 20 graduates in absentia, including: five receiving the Master of Divinity Degree and the Diploma of the College; one receiving the Master of Divinity Degree and the General Assembly Certificate; and one receiving the Master of Divinity Degree. One received the Master of Theological Studies Degree, and one received the Master of Religious Education Degree. Three received the Master of Pastoral Studies Degree, and one received the Master of Pastoral Studies Degree and Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy Certificate. One received the Certificate in Theological Studies, the first graduate from this new program.
Six received graduate degrees: one the Master of Arts Degree, four the Master of Theology Degree, and one the Doctor of Philosophy Degree. Knox also recognized three students who completed the Doctor of Philosophy Degree awarded at the University of St. Michael’s College in November 2019.
The May 13, 2020, ceremony acknowledged graduates’ accomplishments and officially conferred their degrees according to requirements of the University of Toronto, the Toronto School of Theology, and the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Knox College also intends to recognize and celebrate the Class of 2020 at a later Convocation.