St. Clair College continued its 55th convocation ceremonies with two sessions at the WFCU Centre on Tuesday, Oct. 4th. There will be close to 2,800 St. Clair College students graduating this fall.
Lori Kempe, Executive Director of Children First and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare's Executive Lead for Children and Youth Mental Health, delivered the keynote address for both sessions of the college's fall convocation for Windsor students. Lori, also a St. Clair Alumni of Distinction, said she hopes the students graduating from St. Clair take away two specific points from her keynote address - perseverance and passion.
"Perseverance, because starting in 1991, in a Sign Language Communicator program, not many people knew what that was, and they would challenge me, 'What are you going to do with a sign language interpreter diploma?'. But I persevered. I followed my dreams and surrounded myself with the people that knew this was what I wanted," said Kempe. "And then there's passion. When I completed the program and graduated, I was hired because there was such a demand for it, and I filled a need. And that is what the college does, filling community needs. What I remember most about St. Clair is that feeling of belonging. That was so important, especially coming out of high school."
After Kempe completed her training at St. Clair as a Sign Language Communicator in 1990 and Sign Language Interpreter in 1991, she earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Windsor and a master's degree in social work from Eastern Michigan University. Lori had worked in the children's services sector for over a decade before she was named Executive Director of Children First. This organization assists nearly 1,300 children and their families annually. In July 2022, she was named Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare's Executive Lead for Children and Youth Mental Health.
Lori has also served on the St. Clair Board of Governors for six years and is currently a director of the St. Clair College Alumni Association.
"Looking back, college has played an important role in my life. It's nice to be in that stage of my career where I can give back. When I first applied to be on the Board of Governors at St. Clair College, I saw it as an opportunity to give back," said Kempe. "I lived in Windsor-Essex but worked in Chatham, so I thought I could support both communities. That was an invaluable experience. I learned so much from being on the Board of Governors, and it is a passionate group of people who believe in the college's vision, 'Start Here, Go Anywhere.' That is what happened to me."
The first session of the fall convocation celebrated graduates from the opening session were students in the School of Community Studies, School of Engineering Technologies, School of Health Sciences, School of Nursing, and School of Skilled Trades & Apprenticeship. The day's second session had students graduating from the Zekelman School of Business, Zekelman School of Information & Technology, and School of Media, Art & Design.
Fall Convocation will continue with a ceremony in Chatham at the Capitol Theatre on Oct. 6th at 2 pm. Ace Acumen Academy campuses in the GTA will host the final three sessions of St. Clair's fall convocation on Oct. 19th at Meridian Arts Centre in North York.
For more information, visit www.stclaircollege.ca/convocation.