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Squamish's Quest University celebrates its graduating class of 2023

The ceremony marked the end of the school as it is known, but president Arthur Coren said people are already working on its future.

About 350 people gathered at Squamish's Quest University Saturday to celebrate an estimated 60 graduates and to commemorate what the university meant to them. 

Alumni, faculty, students, staff and other representatives at the convocation congratulated the graduates for their efforts and courage while at school.

Given that the embattled post-secondary institution has pressed pause on offering its programs as of this month — sending current undergrads to other institutions for next year — and that the campus buildings and lands are for sale, some former students travelled to bear witness to what will likely be the last graduation ceremony, at least at Quest’s current location. 

In his speech, Quest president Arthur Coren focused on celebrating the accomplishments of the current crop of graduates. Still, he also took a moment to address the school's future, comparing it to the hero’s journey.

“In every hero's journey, there's always a point where they hit the ordeal in the darkest moments,” he said. “And every hero's journey, regardless of culture, also has the phase that they call resurrection and rebirth.”

“Quest, too, will have a resurrection story.”

Coren said that while there aren’t any exact details yet, many people are already working hard on the future.

One of the highlights for the students included the two graduating class speakers, Won Sun Mbengeni and Lach Vella.

Mbengeni had the whole room loudly yell one word to summarize what Quest meant to them and then shared that her word was “you.”

“You taught me how to come out of my shell,” she said to the group.

Meanwhile, Vella fought back tears addressing the crowd.

“What will never be lost is a generation of people before me that I know, however they apply themselves, will give the people … and the systems of this world their best chance, which is more than anyone or anything could ever hope for,” Vella said.

“Until the next time, it has been my absolute pleasure, and I cannot wait to see how you folks change the world because they don’t know what’s coming.”




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