Booth UC Convocation Weekend unites faith and friendship with hope for the future

Booth UC Convocation Weekend unites faith and friendship with hope for the future

May 4, 2017


From Saturday’s naming and dedication of Booth University College’s main campus building to the profound Convocation Address on Sunday by The Salvation Army’s Chief of the Staff, Commissioner Brian Peddle, the past weekend was a momentous one not soon to be forgotten.


To mark Booth UC’s 35th anniversary, its main campus building was dedicated in honour of the late Commissioners John and Helen Waldron, in recognition of the critical role they played in the establishment of Booth UC. Located at 447 Webb Place, the building is now known as “Waldron Building.”

“Commissioners John and Helen Waldron had a vision of something more for The Salvation Army in this country and this territory. They had a desire to invest in the education of our emerging leaders, and through their leadership and faithful service, they accomplished just that through this institution,” said Commissioner Brian Peddle, The Salvation Army’s Chief of the Staff. “We thank them for their visionary leadership in establishing and supporting the ongoing development of Booth University College.”

Lt. Colonel Edith Pigford, one of the Waldron’s daughters, spoke on behalf of the family. “Dad would say it was the faith and service of many that brought about Booth University College, but we are indeed grateful for his vision of what this institution could be and proud of what it has become,” said Lt. Colonel Pigford. She was joined at the event by her husband, Lt. Colonel Eugene Pigford, Craig and Mary Whiteley, and Daniel  and Gail Pigford. (Read the full release here.)


On Sunday, attention turned in full to the 2017 graduating class, beginning with a morning Baccalaureate Service in Booth UC’s Hetherington Chapel. While acknowledging that it is a great day to celebrate, Commissioner Susan McMillan, Territorial Commander and Chancellor of Booth UC, said it is also a great day to think about the future.

“Where do we go from here? We are in the business of preparing you, our students, to be leaders for the future. While we have provided you with a great education and skills to succeed, and while we have prepared you to go out into the world and lead others, if you want to be the kind of leader that stands the test of time, I leave you with three important messages: Clothe yourself with humility. Be resilient. And stay faithful, even in difficult times, and you will see that God is also faithful,” said Commissioner McMillan.

Her Baccalaureate Message, ‘What Will I Be When I Grow Up?,’ was not a statement about the age or the maturing of the graduating class, but rather, a question for all to reflect on.

“You see, none of us, not one, has already arrived.  We are all in the process of growing up into the faith.  Life is a learning process in every way, and though you may think that with this parchment your learning days are over and your doing days have begun, you’re wrong,” she said. “Every day is a learning day.  And every day is an opportunity to grow in grace and spiritual wisdom as we grow closer to the image of Christ. Be like Christ, and every day, grow to be more like him. Be humble and able to laugh at yourself, to recognize your own mistakes and weaknesses, and acknowledge strength in others. Grow to be resilient, faithful, and accountable for what God has given you. Grow to be like Jesus.”


Booth UC was blessed and honoured to have Commissioners Brian and Rosalie Peddle take part in the weekend events, which was very much a homecoming celebration for both of them. Visiting from London, England, where The Salvation Army’s international headquarters are based, Commissioner Brian Peddle is a former Chancellor of Booth UC while Commissioner Rosalie Peddle – the Army’s World Secretary for Women’s Ministries – is a graduate of the institution.

The weekend’s keynote speaker, Commissioner Brian Peddle, delivered an inspirational Convocation Address that touched on both the challenges and opportunities of today’s political landscape. Through self-reflection and an emphasis on the impact of our choices, Commissioner Peddle painted a profound vision of what could be should Booth UC graduates go out into the world and “choose well.”

“We are not pleased with the status quo of our world right now. And generations like mine, like ours, are looking for leaders who will step in and lift this world to a new place where life, opportunity and dignity is available to all,” said Commissioner Peddle. “A pervading hope is that out of the choices we make comes the character of who we are and can be. Choices that bring us to a place where we are people of character such that we fill the gaps that exist in our communities and eliminate the deficiencies in the leadership landscape around us. Where we become neighbours of excellence and we become justice advocates simply because we should be. The message today is: choose well.”

In summarizing a chapter in Andy Stanley’s Next Generation Leader, Commissioner Peddle said there should be no disappointment or surprise when individuals arrive at a destination in life because they are where they are as a result of the path they choose. He encouraged graduates to determine with clarity today who they will be, how they will serve humanity, and how they will be who God wants them to be.

“The choices you make today will shape the character that you will become. Destinations are influenced by many things, but choices, when made with courage and purpose will make it possible for you to make the world a better place,” said Commissioner Peddle, noting that a big part of the problem in our world is that we’ve stopped asking people to do big things.

“Worst of all we’ve stopped believing that God can do big things. Well, we’re not at a point in our journey as human beings where we can excuse ourselves of the responsibility of doing big things, of having a voice, of making choices that matter, of creating a character that can withstand the battering rams of this world we live,” he said. “I challenge you to determine how you will take Booth University College’s promise of providing ‘education for a better world’ to shape your character and make it the very fabric of who you are. I hope you will make the choices that need to be made today to become the kind of individuals that will be able to lead us in times such as we live now and will live in the future. In the words of Edmund Burke – the only necessary thing for the triumph of evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing. Choose well. Strive for a better world. Make your life count.”

At Booth we have received both faith and education in abundance, and we are richer for it.
Clearly it is not just the education, but that combined with the desire and motivation to be an agent of change that makes the real difference. Through its promise to provide ‘education for a better world,’ Booth clearly states its intent of bringing positive change through its programs and students. While we all came to Booth for our own unique reasons and from our own unique backgrounds, we leave here together with our faith, our education,
and a shared purpose – the desire to make our world a better place.”
Markus Beveridge, Valedictorian and BSW graduate


 This year marked the 10th annual awarding of Booth UC’s General’s Medal and Chancellor’s Medal, which were first awarded at Convocation during Booth’s 25th anniversary year in 2007.

The General’s Medal is awarded to an extended learning graduating degree student who has achieved a high academic standing, has demonstrated potential for leadership in The Salvation Army, and has demonstrated a clear intellectual and experiential grasp of the distinctive mission and theology of The Salvation Army. The Chancellor’s Medal is given to a graduating Winnipeg campus degree student who has achieved high academic standing, has demonstrated significant spiritual development, and has contributed in significant ways to the life of the University College and the wider community. Presented by Commissioner Susan McMillan, this year’s winner of General’s Medal was BA graduate Tiffany Marshall, and the winner of the Chancellor’s Medal was BBA graduate Emma Gerard.


Prior to the conclusion of the Convocation ceremony, Booth UC Chancellor Susan McMillan recognized the long-standing support, commitment and contributions of Colonel Glen Shepherd to the institution.

“After an incredible 15 years of service, Col. Shepherd will end his term as Chair of Booth UC’s Board of Trustees in August. He was a member of the Board from 1994-1998, 2003-2008, and from 2011 to the present – including serving as Chair since January 2013,” said Commissioner McMillan. “On behalf of Booth University College, our sincere thanks for the invaluable role you have played, and for your many years of advice and guidance.”

Commissioner Brian Peddle congratulated Booth University College’s faculty, staff and Board for the progress made over the past 35 years, applauding the institution’s ability to move over the years from strength to strength, expanding its scope of course delivery, enhancing its program profile, and creating partnerships that has made it stronger.

“This is a progressive university college and it has created the ability to give back to the country and beyond,” he said. “The means by which we strengthen communities is with our theologians, our social workers, people of business competence and spiritual care. I offer my congratulations to Booth UC and thank you for your gift of people who will make a difference in the land in which we live.”