The Faculty of Arts and Science celebrates three new valedictorians

June 1, 2022

With three platform ceremonies scheduled for June 6, Concordia’s Faculty of Arts and Science is celebrating three exceptional scholars whose work spans its disciplines.

“You don’t just need to see the GPA of the students, you also need to look at how the students contribute to the life of the faculty,” says Philippe Caignon, associate dean of student academic services.

Students are nominated via departmental letters of recommendation.

“I want to see a letter that speaks to the enthusiasm of the department, and to what the student has done. That’s really important to me.”

The other criteria, of course, is finding a student who can speak in a huge public setting, since Convocation is no time to get stage fright.


‘Never doubt your abilities’

Zoe Aikman, a student in Communication Studies who minored in Law and Society, was chosen. In addition to her extensive community involvement, Aikman has experience in public speaking. She has won several awards at public speaking competitions through the Concordia Moot Law Society.

“Never doubt your abilities or let that doubt stop you from taking as many opportunities as possible. What I’ve learned during these unpredictable past few years, and what I am now honored to be able to share with this year’s graduating class, is that success isn’t about measuring your accomplishments against those of others— it’s about embracing your journey of self-growth and what this journey has to offer.”


A challenging two years

Alexandra Hillcoat, from the Psychology department, boasts a GPA of 4.30 per cent, and a long history of involvement in research and community projects.

“Completing any degree is challenging; doing it during the pandemic added an entirely new level of difficulty for all of us. I feel incredibly honoured to represent such a resilient and hard-working cohort of students at the first in-person ceremony after a very challenging two years,” Hillcoat says.


‘It all feels surreal’

Kate Burke, who hails from the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, rounds out the trio. Burke completed a double major in interdisciplinary studies in sexuality and women's studies, and has a rich background in feminist community engagement and research.

"It all feels surreal. In fact, so many opportunities that I had the pleasure to experience throughout my studies at Concordia felt surreal. I am truly honoured and thankful for the supportive professors and staff of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute that led me to this moment.”

Burke says she wants to especially thank professors Natalie Kouri-Towe and Gada Mahrouse, who nominated her.

Words of praise

“The way these valedictorians perceive Concordia, and our future, despite the pandemic, is really enchanting to behold,” says Caignon.

“We are blessed to have such wonderful students in our faculty.”


Learn more about the Faculty of Arts and Science.

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