June 14, 2023

Belleville, Ontario, June 14, 2023 – Amid cheers, tears of joy, and an atmosphere of overwhelming pride, 2,526 Loyalist College students graduated during a series of ceremonies from June 6 – 9.  The College’s Belleville campus was abuzz as faculty, staff, family and friends gathered in person to congratulate graduates as they crossed the stage and entered a new phase in their personal and professional journeys. Others tuned in virtually from around the globe, cheering on the Class of 2023 via live stream.  

Graduates and their guests walked the red carpet through the College’s front entrance, were greeted warmly by Loyalist faculty and staff, and enjoyed photo opportunities with their peers. 


The ceremonies opened with inspiring words from Loyalist College President and CEO Mark Kirkpatrick and Chair of the Loyalist College Board of Governors Pam Jolliffe. Speeches from the 2023 Valedictorians and honorary diploma recipients celebrated students’ academic achievements and the spirit of Loyalist’s close-knit community.

“To the Class of 2023 – congratulations on this incredible milestone,” said Loyalist College President and CEO Mark Kirkpatrick. “Throughout our region and across the country, Loyalist College grads are essential members of the workforce, delivering services in health care and justice, skilled trades, business, creative arts, applied sciences and more. Our grads are entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders dedicated to creating economic growth and positive social change. As our newest cohort of graduates, you are well-equipped with the knowledge and skills you need to achieve career success, and a deep sense of social responsibility that will help you make a meaningful impact in your communities. Know that you will always have a home here at Loyalist College, and we can’t wait to see what you accomplish next.”

Each ceremony began with the delivery of the Ohèn:ton Karihwatéhkwen, which translates to “The Words Before All Else,” delivered by Tewathahá:kwa Jennifer Maracle, Director of Indigenous Services. Also known as the Thanksgiving Address, the words have prefaced Haudenosaunee meetings and ceremonies since time immemorial. In addition, Loyalist College proudly honoured self-identifying Indigenous students with a beaded medallion, created by Erin Ferrante of Kenhte:ke Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, to recognize students’ academic accomplishments while honouring their cultural identity.

The College presented Rachel Nelson, a graduate of the Paralegal program, with the prestigious Governor General’s Academic Medal. The Collegiate Bronze Medal is awarded to the student who achieves the highest overall average upon graduation from a diploma-level post-secondary program. Rachel graduates with an outstanding academic record and a cumulative average of 97.7 percent. 

“We come from different backgrounds, cultures and experiences, but we are united by a common goal – to serve and make a positive impact in our respective fields,” said Rachel Nelson, 2023 Valedictorian and recipient of the Governor General’s Award. “As we embark on this next chapter of our lives, let us carry with us the lessons we learned and the memories we created, and keep close to the friends we made along the way. May we continue to support one another, embrace diversity, stand up for justice and extend a helping hand to those in need.”

Relive Loyalist College’s celebration of student success by watching the 2023 Convocation ceremonies here.


Michelle Derry  
Advertising and Marketing Communications – Creative Design   

Rachel Nelson   

Michael Nguyen   

Temiloluwa Nosa-Aguebor   
Supply Chain Management – Global Logistics    

Rajam Vasantha Nair   
Cyber Security 

Anna Marie Wilson
Occupational Therapist Assistant and Physiotherapist Assistant

Xiaoli Zhao
Business – Accounting
Hugh P. O’Neil Outstanding Alumni Award

The Hugh P. O’Neil Outstanding Alumni Award was presented to Janak Alford, Chief Technology Officer and Enterprise Architect at the Government of Canada. A 2002 graduate of the College’s Architectural Technician diploma program, Mr. Alford was honoured for his remarkable achievements as an entrepreneur, designer, and leader in enterprise technology.   
Honorary Diploma Recipients  
Monique Belair  
Fire Chief, Kingston Fire & Rescue Services     
Hanna Bunton  
Professional Canadian Hockey Player  
Josiah Fallaise  
Founder and Owner of FDF Raceshop    

Pam Jolliffe  
Outgoing Chair, Loyalist College Board of Governors 

Shelby Lisk 
Photographer, Filmmaker, and Journalist 
Lisa Kirbie 
Founder and CEO, Blackbird Strategies 
Henry Saulnier 
Warden, Millhaven Institution 
Mike Shoreman 
Athlete, Author, Speaker, and Mental Health Advocate 

About Loyalist College
Loyalist College is located on the territory of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, and the Haudenosaunee people. We acknowledge our shared obligation to respect, honour, and sustain these lands and the natural resources contained within. Ranked one of Canada’s top 50 research colleges, Loyalist College empowers students, faculty, staff, and partners through experiential, industry cluster-based education, training and applied research programs. As Ontario’s Destination College, the College provides job-ready graduates for, and knowledge transfer to, industry and the community. Located on more than 200 acres in the beautiful Bay of Quinte region, the College is perfectly positioned between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Loyalist College offers more than 70 full-time diploma, certificate and apprenticeship programs in biosciences, building sciences, business, community service, health and wellness, media studies, public safety, and skilled trades. Continuing education options are available through, including hundreds of online, distance and in-class courses, and through the College’s 100+ university transfer agreements. Loyalist College is a key driver of social and economic health in eastern Ontario. It contributes 3.8 percent of the Gross Regional Product, representing $398.9 million annually to the regional economy – based on a November 2022 report by Emsi. For more information on Loyalist College’s Belleville, Bancroft and Toronto campuses and Port Hope satellite location, visit   

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Hannah Brown
Acting Director of Marketing and Communications