Campus Life

Piquette eager to assume Chief Marshal role, duties

Dr. Noella Piquette has been a consistent presence at University of Lethbridge Convocation ceremonies over the years, as an attending faculty member and convocation volunteer. Beginning with Fall 2019 Convocation, she’ll be front and centre as the new chief marshal.

Piquette, who was handed the University Mace from outgoing chief marshal Dr. Olu Awosoga at the conclusion of Spring 2019 Convocation last week, couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity.

Dr. Noella Piquette after officially receiving the University Mace to begin her service as the Convocation Chief Marshal.

“I’ve spoken with Olu about this quite a bit and he has told me how much he’s enjoyed it and I cannot anticipate anything that would not give me joy about this. I’m really looking forward to it,” says Piquette, an associate professor in the Faculty of Education. “I’ll be honoured to be contributing to the University community.”

Piquette is an unabashed lover of convocation and everything associated with it, especially the tradition and pageantry.

“It is pomp and circumstance and that’s what makes it so wonderful. I think that’s what makes it such a solemn and moving experience too,” she says. “I really enjoy the students’ excitement and the parental pride that is so apparent. The ceremony itself is so rich with tradition, so full of happiness, and it’s an excellent reminder of why post-secondary education is so vital.”

The chief marshal serves a three-year term and sits on the Convocation Committee. Some of the duties associated with the position include encouraging faculty members to participate in convocation, whether it be to attend on the platform or serve as volunteers, and to take part in University outreach initiatives such as the mace program that takes the University Mace into southern Alberta schools. And, of course, the highlight of the role is to lead each procession of graduands into the ceremony.

This is where the outgoing chief marshal has some sage words of advice.

“He’s told me to wear flat shoes, he seems to be very concerned about this,” laughs Piquette. “Perhaps he’s seen some of my footwear.”

More than anything, the chief marshal is often seen as the face of convocation and Piquette is eager to assume that responsibility.

“I deeply respect the tradition of convocation and the hard work that goes on behind the scenes and the commitment to highlight our students, as well as the larger community. I’m completely moved when I see the shift from student to graduate at the end of our ceremonies,” she says. “I see that what I’m doing is making a difference. All of us at the University, whatever we are doing, it doesn’t matter what role we play, every single person is helping the students move through that transition and I can’t emphasize enough how it is opening doors and opportunities for them.”