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Accomplishments of approximately 700 future justice and public safety leaders recognized at first in-person ceremonies in more than two years

The Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) celebrated the achievements of approximately 700 graduates and bestowed an honorary degree on retired Judge Thomas Gove at its Spring Convocation ceremonies held on June 9, 2022 at its New Westminster campus. These were the first in-person convocation ceremonies at the Institute since the pandemic was declared more than two years ago.

“Today, perhaps more than ever in recent history, your choice of careers as first responders and public safety professionals is essential to the safety of our communities while we continue to live amidst a global pandemic,” said Dr. Michel Tarko, JIBC President and CEO. “Whatever credentials you are receiving from JIBC, rest assured your newly earned skills and knowledge will be a valued contribution to our communities.”

JIBC President and CEO Dr. Michel Tarko addresses the graduating class at the 2022 Spring Convocation ceremony.
JIBC President and CEO Dr. Michel Tarko addresses the graduating class at 2022 Spring Convocation ceremony.

The Honourable Judge Thomas Gove (retired) was conferred an honorary degree in recognition of his outstanding and sustained contributions to justice, public safety and service during his 47 years in the B.C. justice system, first as a lawyer, then as a provincial court judge.

He spoke to the graduating class of his time as the presiding judge at Vancouver’s Downtown Community Court, in which those convicted of less serious crimes are given help to move out of the criminal justice system and into drug treatment, housing and employment. “The idea is to improve the quality of life of the community by improving the lives of individuals,” said Judge Gove.

Judge Thomas Gove is hooded by JIBC Board Vice-Chair Maria Preovolos as he is conferred an honorary degree at the 2022 Spring Convocation ceremony.
Judge Thomas Gove is hooded by JIBC Board Vice-Chair Maria Preovolos as he is conferred an honorary degree at 2022 Spring Convocation ceremony.

“My wish for you is that, during your work with people who might be struggling, you will bear in mind that you have special influence over each and every life that you touch,” he told the graduates. “I suggest that you try to treat everyone as an individual and with respect. This in no way means that we excuse their misconduct, even crimes, but we see the individual separate from the behaviour. In this way we can work towards a positive outcome for the individual as well as society at large.”

Judge Thomas Gove addresses the graduating class after receiving his honorary degree at the 2022 Spring Convocation ceremony.
Judge Thomas Gove addresses the graduating class after receiving his honorary degree at 2022 Spring Convocation ceremony.

Cindy Earle, graduating with a Certificate in Family Mediation, spoke on behalf of the graduating class at the morning ceremony. She talked of the daunting challenge of stepping out of her comfort zone and returning to school as a mature student.

Student Speaker Cindy Earle addresses the graduating class at the morning ceremony of 2022 Spring Convocation.
Student Speaker Cindy Earle addresses the graduating class at the morning ceremony of 2022 Spring Convocation.

“When I began, I quickly discovered JIBC is the very embodiment of a diverse learning environment. I had not returned to an academic institution filled with students in their late teens but rather, I had joined a collective community of professionals and young, dedicated learners,” Earle said. “Invariably, I was inspired by my fellow students and instructors. Where else could I study and work with those who have dedicated their careers to building our communities in the most real, tangible ways possible.

“Take that risk and try something new because after all, the best part of aging is learning who you are, and what you’re actually capable of,” she said.

Student Speaker Gurleen Cheema addresses the graduating class at the afternoon ceremony of 2022 Spring Convocation at JIBC.
Student Speaker Gurleen Cheema addresses the graduating class at the afternoon ceremony of 2022 Spring Convocation at JIBC.

Gurleen Cheema, graduating with a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Law Enforcement Studies, spoke on behalf of the graduating class at the afternoon ceremony.

“Our instructors’ lessons were very impactful as they drew inspiration from their own experiences. They not only taught us what good leaders are made of, but also taught us to be persistent and to never give up on your dreams,” Cheema said. “I learnt considerably about how through empathy and genuine compassion we can make a difference in someone’s life. Every single chapter that I read made me understand how I could be a better person than I was yesterday and how I could propagate hope.”

She spoke of coming to JIBC as an international student from India, where she had been a practising lawyer, and building a new life while experiencing culture shock and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“All the skills that I have attained from JIBC make me realize how far I have come. These skills are now helping me to establish myself and realize my dream in Canada,” she told her fellow graduates. “I can tell you that there will be challenges coming your way, in one way or another. But staying steady and hopeful will always pay off at the end.”

 


ABOUT JUSTICE INSTITUTE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA 

Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) is Canada’s leading public safety educator with a mission to develop dynamic justice and public safety professionals through its exceptional applied education, training and research. JIBC offers internationally recognized education that leads to certificates, diplomas, bachelor’s degrees and graduate certificates; exceptional continuing education for work and career-related learning and development; and customized contract training to government agencies and private organizations worldwide. Our education provides professionals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to excel at every stage of their career contributing to safer communities and a more just society.