2021 Knox College Convocation
Knox College conferred degrees, certificates, and diplomas upon twenty-four graduates in absentia and held a virtual celebration on May 26, 2021, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 200 family members and friends gathered to celebrate the graduates at the virtual event.
In his remarks, Principal John Vissers told the graduates, “This evening is about you. You are a remarkable group of students who have persevered, in the full sense of that word, to complete your programs of study under the conditions of a global pandemic. As a college, Knox is proud of what you’ve accomplished.”
He said, “Tonight we celebrate together the conclusion of what has been a remarkably challenging year. We’ve studied together, we’ve taught together, we’ve worked together, we’ve eaten together, we’ve prayed together, we’ve wept together, and we’ve laughed together. All at a distance…. But we’ve done it together.”
Vancouver School of Theology Principal Richard Topping gave the Convocation Address, “Passion and Compassion.” He said, “I think there may be no greater sign of the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ than this: he was moved by compassion. When compassion gains traction in a life, it makes leadership and service a Christlike thing.”
Mary Jane Bisset, President of the Knox-Ewart Graduates’ Association, presented the Knox College Gold Medal to Joshua Heo, the graduating Master of Divinity student with the highest academic standing in the 30-credit program. Anne McGillivray received the Mathewson Memorial Scholarship, the top prize for a student in the 20-credit MTS or MPS programs. Many other awards were also given; see the full list here.
Knox College Principal Emerita J. Dorcas Gordon offered the Invocation Prayer. Knox College Board of Governors Convenor Randal Phillips and University of Toronto Chancellor Rose Patten brought greetings. Toronto School of Theology Director Dr. Pamela Couture, along with fellow staff Jesse Billet and Diane Henson, gave creative congratulations in Latin and English. The evening featured musical performances by Vice Principal and Academic Dean Stuart Macdonald and by the Knox College Virtual Choir, led by MTS student Claire Lemiski.
The ceremony also included special recognition and appreciation for Professor Nam Soon Song, retiring after 21 years of distinguished service as Ewart Professor of Christian Education & Youth Ministry at Knox College. Principal Vissers said, “Since her arrival at Knox College in 2000 . . . Dr. Nam Soon Song’s influence has been deep and wide and transformational, for her students, the College, and the Church.” He concluded, “Knox College extends its deep gratitude to Professor Song as she transitions to a well-earned retirement; we honour her for her outstanding contribution to our community of faith and learning; and we pray for God’s blessing upon her and her family.”
The May 26, 2021, 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 2021 at a future in-person Convocation.