BSW Class of 2021 Celebrated at Virtual Convocation

St. Thomas University held a Virtual Convocation to celebrate the School of Social Work’s graduating class of 2021.

The ceremony was live streamed on STU’s youtube channel and is available to stream HERE. It included traditional elements of an in-person Convocation, including remarks from the president, address to the graduates, and valedictory.

“Social work is a field that attracts people who care about others and who want to make a difference in the world,” said Dawn Russell, president and vice-chancellor. “It attracts game-changers, dreamers, and helpers. Those are the kinds of people who stand out and create new environments.”


Over the years St. Thomas University’s School of Social Work has earned an excellent reputation in the larger community for the quality of its BSW graduates, Russell added.

“I know that, like our BSW graduates who have preceded you, you too will make us proud and become a tremendous force for good in our society.”

Géraldine Poirier Baiani, president of the New Brunswick Association of Social Workers, was the guest speaker. She had a 35-year career as a social worker and public servant —starting in Child Protection Services and working in most of the programs in the Department of Social Development, moving from Supervisor, Manager, and Regional Director to Assistant Deputy Minister of Program Delivery.


"Your studies at St. Thomas have prepared you to enter the world with a critical eye and with a thoughtfulness about our fellow human beings," Poirier Baiani said.

"This is more than a profession; it is a journey and the clients you interact with during this journey make this the most valuable career path."


Graduating students Jessica Arbing and Jordan Grimsley served as co-valedictorians. In their valedictory, they reminded students to use the qualities and skills they developed at STU as they head into the field of social work.

"When you are in the workforce, when you are trying to pursue social justice, remember you are not alone. Remember the relationships you built with like-minded social workers at STU. Together we are stronger,” Grimsley said.

"You have all been resilient,” Arbing added. “It is now your turn to bring that into the world and inspire resiliency in others."


Medal and Prize

Both the University Medal for Academic Excellence in the Bachelor of Social Work and the Fay Nagler Levine Memorial Prize went to Jordan Grimsley of Limoges, ON.