Cape Breton University Celebrates Fall Convocation

This Saturday, Cape Breton University (CBU) is celebrating the achievements of nearly 300 graduates during its 2012 Fall Convocation Ceremony being held at the Membertou Trade & Convention Centre. In addition to the conferral of degrees, diplomas and certificates, CBU is bestowing two honorary degrees on two respected individuals. Wanda Robson and Vishvanath (Vishy) Karri are both being honoured with Doctor of Letters, honoris causa degrees. The ceremony begins at 2 p.m.

“Students who have graduated from our fine university are contributing to change in communities around the world. I expect the very same for this year’s class.  We’ve set standards of excellence, and I am confident that our graduates uphold these same standards as they move forward in their personal and professional lives. I am delighted that we are bestowing honorary degrees on two deserving people – Wanda Robson and Vishy Karri.  Although they come from different backgrounds, their actions demonstrate their commitment to education and the strength of perseverance,” says Cape Breton University President John Harker.

Wanda Robson was born and raised in Halifax, N.S. In 2004, at the age of 76, Robson graduated from Cape Breton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree, fulfilling her lifelong dream of pursuing a university education. Robson has become known as the youngest sister of Viola Desmond, a woman who challenged the practice of racial segregation in a New Glasgow, N.S. movie theatre in 1946. Since graduating from CBU, Robson has become an active spokesperson for the African Nova Scotia community, giving dozens of talks at schools and community events. In 2008, she initiated public awareness of the circumstances surrounding her sister’s arrest in 1946. As a result, in large part, to this effort, in April 2010, the Nova Scotia Legislature enacted an unprecedented Mercy Free Pardon for Viola Desmond.

Vishy Karri was born in Anakapalle, India and moved to Australia in his teens. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) degree and a PhD from the University of Melbourne.  He is the President of the Australian College of Kuwait and has held that position since 2008. Under his leadership, the institution has grown significantly and he has helped the Australian College with its seamless transition to becoming the best private university in Kuwait.   Over the past 23 years, Karri has worked in the fields of multi-disciplinary manufacturing, renewable energy and mechanical design. He and his colleagues have intensively studied alternative energy sources and applications to mobile and stationary use. He has published over 200 peer reviewed papers, a book on engineering management and has been granted patents which are being used by industry.    

This year’s valedictory address is being delivered by Bachelor of Arts Community Studies graduate, Tim Morrissey. The message he’d like to leave with his fellow graduates speaks to life-long learning. “Education is far from over and even though the academic world may be behind us, a lot more learning lies ahead. A university education is important, but it's only one of many important steps in life. Cherish the experience, take what you’ve learned and go out into the world with open minds, and try to be the people you want to be,” says Morrissey.

The Fall Convocation Ceremony is being broadcast online at www.cbu.ca/convocation starting at 2 p.m.