Top marks net VIU graduates academic medals

June 6, 2012 - 9:15am

Vancouver Island University graduates received special recognition from the federal and provincial governments at spring convocation for outstanding academic achievements.

Alex Lumley of Nanaimo, a VIU Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduate, won the silver Governor General’s Academic Medal for obtaining a perfect 4.33 Grade Point Average (GPA) in a degree program.

Graduate Angela Linthorne, also of Nanaimo, received the bronze Governor General’s Academic Medal for obtaining a 4.27 GPA in a two-year diploma program.

“I’m thrilled to receive this award,” said Lumley. “The nursing program has been challenging and it’s taken a lot of time and effort to get here.”

Lumley, 44, was out of school for more than 20 years when he decided to go into nursing. He upgraded chemistry, math and biology through VIU’s Adult Basic Education program before enrolling in the Nursing degree program.

Originally from Sooke, Lumley spent 10 years in the Canadian Army as a medical assistant based in Ottawa.

Together with his wife Christina, a nursing officer in the Air Force, the couple raised three children and lived in various cities across Canada before settling in Nanaimo in 2007. Lumley looked after the children while his wife was deployed to Afghanistan.

Lumley started thinking about returning to the workforce either as a paramedic or a nurse. He opted for nursing because “it offers far more opportunities and autonomy.”

A month before graduating from VIU, Lumley obtained a casual employee position with the Vancouver Island Health Authority in the Emergency department’s clinical decision-making unit at Nanaimo Regional General.

Lumley writes the final Canadian Registered Nursing exam this week and starts a full-time temporary position in the Emergency department on June 13.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to moving out of student mode and starting my full-time job. I’m really happy about the way things have turned out.”

Attending school as a mature student has been a “transformational experience,” added Lumley. “It’s changed the way I think. I realize now the world is not black and white and full of possibilities.”

Linthorne, meanwhile, said attaining a high grade point average in VIU’s two-year Criminology diploma program required hard work and dedication but “the investment is well worth it.”

“I want to become a lawyer so I think Criminology is a good fit,” she added. Linthorne plans to return to VIU next fall to complete the Criminology degree program before applying to law school.

Other medal winners included Wendy Nixon Stothert, a Comox Valley music teacher and highly respected conductor of community choral groups. She received a Governor General’s Gold Medal for achieving a perfect grade point average in VIU’s Masters of Education in Educational Leadership program. Her Master’s thesis was entitled “Music Performance Anxiety in Choral Singers.”

Shelley Melissa of Qualicum Beach, a graduate of the Practical Nursing program, received the BC Lieutenant Governor’s silver medal. The award recognizes excellence in studies and positive contributions to the life of the university and/or community by a student graduating from a full-time vocational or career program of less than two years duration.

For more than 130 years, the Governor General’s Academic Medals have recognized the outstanding scholastic achievements in Canadian high schools, colleges, and universities. Medals are presented on behalf of the Governor General, along with personalized certificates signed by the Governor General. They are the most prestigious award that students in Canadian schools can receive.

A total of 626 students graduated from VIU in three convocation ceremonies this week. Click on the following link for more photos

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