Spring is always an exciting time of the year. Gardeners are starting their seasonal labours. Cottages are being opened for the season. The kids are counting down the days to the end of another school year, and on campus it’s convocation time. Each year, your Queen’s University Alumni Association (QUAA) welcomes about 4,000 new graduates to its ranks. They were students for a short time, but they’ll be alumni evermore.
I remember graduation as being exciting, but also as a time that I faced with some trepidation. For several years – five, in my case – I’d studied, worked, cavorted, and lived on or near campus, including most summers. Now I’d finally reached the end of my student days at Queen’s and I wondered what would come next. Would I work or travel? Do another degree? Where would I live – back home, with my parents, after being independent for many years? Where would my friends move to and how would we stay in touch?
Graduation time is exciting because it’s so full of promise, possibilities, and uncertainties. The world is your oyster. When trying to figure out a career path, a way to stay connected to your tricolour spirit and ways to get by on a tight budget, the QUAA can help you. We can help you connect with fellow alumni in a new home city, or help you network with graduates who are already established in whatever field you’re keen to work in.
The QUAA can also help you stay in touch with what’s happening on and off campus through the Review, our website, and our Facebook and Twitter postings.
What’s more, the QUAA affinity partners provide alumni with valuable deep discounts on insurance, train tickets, and entertainment – to name just a few of many products and services. Please check us out online and update your contact information to stay connected.
Spring is also a time for reflection on what you’ve accomplished during your student years. On the QUAA calendar we reflect on the accomplishments of our fellow alumni. Your association hands out a variety of awards that celebrate the achievements and dedication of Queen’s alumni in various fields and stages of their lives and careers.
The QUAA offers some awards that focus on young alumni and even students. For example, the “One to Watch Award” salutes recent grads (less than five years out) who are making significant contributions in their field of endeavour or who are setting an example for future alumni. The “Branch Rising Star Award” celebrates an outstanding volunteer in our Branch network.
The “Outstanding Student Award” celebrates the volunteer work and dedication of a current student. If you know an alumnus who’s deserving of a thank you and recognition for his or her work, please let us know.
Recent grads may also want to nominate an inspirational instructor for the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching, which includes a $5,000 cash prize.
The QUAA firmly believes that mentorship is part of the alumni body’s role, and so we aim to cultivate this form of leadership. Do you know a grad who has “made a significant and ongoing contribution to the education and development of Queen’s students”? If so, I invite you to submit a nomination for the Alumni Mentorship Award.
There are also a series of awards celebrating Branch and Association volunteer efforts. There’s an award for outstanding service and dedication as an ambassador on behalf of Queen’s through a Branch (Branch Marsha Lampman Award) and one for substantial contribution to the QUAA itself (Herbert J. Hamilton Award). And there’s a prize for the best Branch Event of the Year Award.
As Queen’s graduates, we’re lucky to count among our ranks many notable alumni. To salute and celebrate individuals who’ve demonstrated “the high ideals imparted by a Queen’s education, through significant contribution to our society through their leadership and dedication,” the QUAA established the Alumni Achievement Award as its highest honour.
If you have any names to put forward for a QUAA award, I invite youto do so. The deadline for nominations is June 10. More information is available online.
On behalf of the QUAA, I wish all new grads all the best in their lives and future careers. Enjoy this season of change. Celebrate the transitions in your life, the fresh opportunities, and be proud of your accomplishments – one of which is your Queen’s degree.
Jess Joss, Artsci'96
To reach out and foster a lifelong association with Queen's, to engage our members in the life and work of the University, and to serve the alumni community in all its diversity.
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