Members of Trent’s First Graduating Class Return for 50th Convocation Ceremony

As Trent University celebrated 50 years of convocations, members of the University’s first graduating class were invited to take part in the procession. Seven graduates from 1967 marched in with Trent faculty and had their own section of seating for the first convocation ceremony of 2017.

They were an energized – at time raucous – crew that were clearly having a good time as elder statespeople in the alumni community.

“Boy, the students were quiet,” joked Professor Don Lush '64 as peals of laughter echoed through Alumni House during a special convocation lunch. Fellow first class graduate, Richard Johnston '64 noted that they might not be as young at heart as some of his cohort.

Prof Lush (who gained his PhD in Biology from University of Waterloo) arrived wearing his original robes from 1964 – back when students still wore them to attend class.

“It doesn’t fit quite like it used to,” he noted.

“And I don’t think this used to be here,” he said, poking his finger through a well-worn hole in the fabric.”

Mr. Johnston, a noted former politician and vineyard owner, noted that he was shocked that 50 years had passed.

“It’s incredible that we can get together all these years later and still be recognizable to one another.”

When it came time to take a picture with Trent University Founding President THB Symons, the sense of excitement was palpable.

Someone quipped that it was like they were getting their photo taken with a rock star, and Martha Lush '64 was quick to agree.

“You have to remember how few of us there were back then,” she explained. “And professor Symons was a giant to all of us. It was like getting to rub elbows with a rock star then… and now!”

Mr. Johnston pointed out how rare it was for a university to be celebrating its 50th graduation with its founding president in attendance.

“It speaks to how young Tom – Professor Symons – was when he started out,” he said. “People like Dick Sadleir… the whole team. It’s incredible what they did in their 30’s.”

For many, it was the first they’ve seen of each other – and the university – in quite some time.

“We don’t make it to Trent very often,” admitted Ms. Lush. “But, in a way, it still feels like home.”

While the very first alumni to receive a diploma from Trent had wanted to attend the 2017 ceremony, he was out of the country. Professor Arnold Dyck '64 did, however send congratulations to all involved.

“I am pleased to learn that founding President Tom Symons will attend,” he wrote. “I send him my greetings. Since I was the first person in line that day, he may even remember conferring the degree on me. I still remember kneeling in front of President Symons and the Chancellor, waiting for ‘the moment,’ and the Chancellor whispering to the President: ‘What do I say?’ Well, some humor carried the day!”

Professor Dyck received his M.Sc. in biology during that 1967 ceremony.

“My only regret is that Professor Roy Edwards, my supervisor, is no longer with us,” wrote Prof. Dyck. “He hoped to live long enough to witness Trent’s 50-year anniversary, but sadly it was not to be.”

1967 graduates to appear in the 2017 convocation:

Don and Martha Lush
Phil McCrae
Lyn May
Ron Mace
Douglas Martin
Dianne Paddags
Carol Brown
Richard Johnston

For more convocation coverage, please visit the Trent University news page.


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