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REF NO.: 300

SUBJECT: Spring Convocation 2006: Memorial University success stories
DATE: May 23, 2006

Note to editors:
 
This week, from May 24-26, Memorial University is holding its spring convocation at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre.
More than 2,000 degrees will be awarded during eight sessions of convocation. Outstanding individuals from the worlds of business, public life, the arts and sports will be awarded honorary degrees during the ceremonies.
Convocation is the highlight of a university career for students and heralds the end of an important life stage and the beginning of something new. While every student has a worthy story, the following students could make feature stories:
Andrew Critch has done something most folks can only dream of. The Hillview native is graduating with his undergraduate bachelor of science (honours) in pure mathematics in just two years after graduating from Clarenville High School. Among his many accolades, he will be awarded the Governor General’s Medal (Undergraduate). This summer, Mr. Critch is starting an undergraduate research assistantship position with the University of Toronto and will begin his master’s of pure mathematics in the fall. Mr. Critch will graduate on Friday, May 26, at 3 p.m.
 
Cupids resident Susan Lidster’s determination is an inspiration for others. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1973 and for the last 10 years she has been limited to a wheelchair; however, she sometimes uses a walker at home. She set a goal for herself ­ to walk across the stage at convocation. She also promised herself that she would complete her degree in five years. On May 24, she will be doing both. Her husband Kevin has been at her side throughout her entire university career, attending every class with her and will even walk across the stage with her at convocation. Ms. Lidster will graduate with a bachelor of arts on Wednesday, May 24, at 3 p.m. 
Kerri Highmore and Erika Stokes are about to lace up for a different kind of career. They spent part of their university life on the courts, but now the former Sea-Hawks basketball players will soon be doctors. After four years of medical school, the two basketball stars will start postgraduate residency training. Ms. Highmore, who is from Pasadena, and is pursuing radiology at Memorial; Ms. Stokes, a native of St. John’s, is matched to the University of British Columbia for radiation oncology. Both will graduate on Thursday, May 25, with doctor of medicine degrees at 10 a.m.
 
Steve Cranford isn’t putting his pencil and paper down just yet. He graduates this week from Memorial but has received a full scholarship to complete his master’s engineering at the prestigious Stanford University. The award is valued at $55,700, covering three-quarters of tuition, as well as a monthly stipend of $2,275. Mr. Cranford is no stranger to awards. He received 12 scholarships during his undergraduate degree at Memorial, totalling approximately $25,000. Mr. Cranford is from St. John’s. He graduates Thursday, May 25, at 3 p.m. with a bachelor of engineering degree.
 
Pam LeDrew career is working out exactly the way she dreamed it would. The Memorial nursing graduate, who grew up in Springdale, entered the School of Nursing directly from high school. During her four years of study, she involved in the Centre for Collaborative Health Professional Education (CCHPE) and the development of an interprofessional education curriculum for students in the health professions. She was also the Nursing student representative in public and an advocate within the School of Nursing for interprofessional activities. She’s now employed in a permanent full-time position at the Colchester Regional Hospital in Truro, Nova Scotia, and delighted with her new job. Ms. LeDrew graduates on Thursday, May 25 at 10 a.m.
Meanwhile, Dr. Marina Tvalavadze will become the first woman to obtain PhD in Mathematics at Memorial. Andrea Burgess is the first woman from Memorial’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics to receive the University Medal for excellence in Graduate Studies; and Dr. Alejandra Premat will be the first woman to have a regular faculty appointment in pure mathematics at Memorial. She’ll be appointed assistant professor on June 30, 2006.

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