On a day the world was celebrating the 75th anniversary of D-Day, 29 students in Greater Sudbury made a little bit of history themselves.
June 6 marked the day the McEwen School of Architecture graduated the first class in its Master's of Architecture program.
“Every convocation is special,” said LU chancellor Steve Paikin. “Today is especially so … you graduated on the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
“If we were doing this 75 years ago, many of you wouldn’t be here. You'd be in uniform. They did us a major solid so we can enjoy our freedoms today.”
Paikin said the grads came from far and wide to study at McEwen, pointing to one student from Saudi Arabia whose entire family travelled all the way from the kingdom to attend the June 6 ceremony.
Places as far away as Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Jamaica – and Timmins, he joked – were represented in the class.
Interim LU president Pierre Zundel told students that just by making it to graduation, they had learned and grown so much as people.
“You might even have learned how to clean up your apartment,” Zundel said. “You've worked extremely hard to get where you are today. You should all feel extremely proud.”
“I have great confidence in your future success. I wish you a happy and successful future.”
In a news release, Dr. David Fortin, director of the school of architecture, said the day was a proud one for the school, the students and their families.
“When I think about this group of trailblazers, the first of many to follow, they’re an impressive group of resilient leaders,” Fortin said in the release.
“They’ve persevered through, and learned from, the multiple construction projects within the school. They’ve been the first to complete the many community projects and build partnerships. They’ve done all of this without a blueprint to follow.”
“From the beginning, we wanted to have an impact on Canada’s Indigenous architecture landscape,” Dr. Terrance Galvin, the school's founding director, is quoted as saying.
“I can think back to when we first started this program, there were 13 registered Indigenous architects across Canada. Now, we have three Indigenous architectural graduates (to add to the 18 registered Indigenous architects in Canada) and have many more enrolled. We’ve been able to bring together traditional teachings, the needs of our communities, and modern architectural practices to deliver a program that is truly unique.”