Graduation is a special day for students. While many students expected to attend a convocation ceremony, all dressed in a graduation gown and cap, the sudden spread of Covid-19 took that in-person celebration away from the classes of 2020 and 2021.
While watching a credit roll of graduate names on YouTube sounds anticlimactic compared to the festivities that would have taken place at the University of Toronto’s St. George campus, the most disheartening thing may be the diplomas that came in the mail. Only the diplomas.
Compared to other Canadian universities, the University of Toronto’s convocation packages were disappointing, to say the least. Ryerson University’s website notes, “[their] convocation celebration box will include a blue [graduate cap] and special 2021 tassel, an alumni welcome package and fun surprises.” York University’s vibrant red box was complete with a “congratulations” message, an alumni pin, a graduate cap, and more. Western University promises the graduate’s diploma, “along with a special package of gifts to welcome them to the Western Alumni family.” However, the award for most effort would likely go to Guelph University for their Grad Tour, where UofG representatives traveled to six cities and gave their graduates an opportunity to take professional pictures with graduation attire and props.
With a plain white package containing your diploma and two booklets of graduate names, it feels like UofT does not care. Considering they charge fees wherever they can and likely saved on costs with the cancellation of in-person convocation, graduates don’t feel valued or celebrated. The gifts do not need to be extravagant, but a little effort would be appreciated. In the end, it is about how much the university is willing to do for the students. For a university ranked first in Canada and placed in the top 15 globally for public universities this past June, UofT did not give its graduates the special goodbye and celebration they deserve.