Mary Weller is spending some time this month helping organize Durham’s spring convocation.
Next year, she’d like to be wearing a cap and gown at the college’s annual celebration of the graduating class.
Weller, 53, is working part-time as an alumni development officer at DC, currently involved with the Countdown to Grad program which handles the alumni services and benefit plan which consists of different discounts from retail stores, restaurants, dental and home insurance.
She is also a first-year full-time student in the office administration program at the college. Weller recently went back to school to get a diploma, hoping to obtain a full-time position at DC.
When working in the alumni office, she’s in charge of connecting alumni to that plan. She says she’s also responsible for promoting events on social media. A new app called DC Alumni Connect has been launched for alumni to access their discounts, says Weller.
She also works at Winners in Bowmanville on top of being a mom of two and being in school can be difficult at times but she learned to organize herself, although she had to reduce some hours at Winners.
Still, she’s looking forward to completing her program and attending convocation as a grad, instead of helping organize it.
“At this time around being a mature student, you really get a better appreciation of education and the college system. When I was 17 it was hard to make that commitment but as an older adult you see the benefit of a certificate,” explains Weller.
She says she’s received a warm welcome from her peers and feels like a regular student.
She says her two children are proud she went back to school and she hopes her decision will motivate her son to go back to school as well.
Angela Werner, executive assistant in the department of enrolment services at DC, says the convocation committee meets throughout the year to plan the graduation ceremonies which take place in spring and fall. She says the committee has to organize a “communication plan, records management, logistics, vendor relations, and staff participants,” before graduation.
DC graduates about 5,000 students per year but not all of them attend the ceremony. About 500 graduates walk on stage to receive their diploma at each of the six annual ceremonies, meaning about 3,000 students attend their graduation.
The spring ceremonies take place at the Tribute Communities Centre June 10-12. The last convocation to be held on campus took place in 2012 when 327 of 795 graduates attended the ceremony in the gym, says Werner.
Students expecting to graduate this spring should register themselves on MyCampus before graduation.