McMaster Engineering celebrates Spring Convocation 2023 – Faculty of Engineering

McMaster Engineering celebrates Spring Convocation 2023

The Faculty of Engineering welcomed 1030 of their newest graduates at this year’s convocation.


The Faculty of Engineering welcomed 1030 of their newest graduates at this year’s convocation held at FirstOntario Concert Hall in Hamilton on June 13.

This memorable gathering served as a celebration of academic achievements, hard work, and the limitless potential that lies ahead for graduates.

The celebration brought together esteemed faculty members, proud parents, supportive friends, and, most importantly a graduating class of talented engineers.

Student walking onto stage at convocation

Dean of Engineering, Heather Sheardown, kicked things off with an inspiring message.

Heather Sheardown spoke at Convocation

The world is facing some pretty big challenges right now, but with engineers like you, I feel like the world is in good hands. Even though today is about you, none of what we accomplish is in isolation, your friends, your classmates, your partners and your families who are here today to support – you all play a role.

Dean of Engineering, Heather Sheardown
David Farrar spoke at Convocation

“Whatever your area of study, your McMaster education has equipped you with the tools to solve critical problems and to make a significant positive impact on our community,” said McMaster’s President, David Farrar as part of the conclusion of the ceremony. “I am confident you will take that knowledge, experience and insight from the last few years and from that, you will create a world worth having.”

Valedictorian Address

George Fares, B.Tech Automotive & Vehicle Engineering Technology

Fares, the first ever B.Tech valedictorian in McMaster Engineering history, stood at the podium during the morning ceremony to address his fellow graduates.

George Fares, B.Tech Automotive & Vehicle Engineering Technology

Just like [McMaster’s notable alumni], we are graduating from the same university, and we can create a better world just like they do. I tell you this because I want us all not to be afraid. Don’t be afraid to create new ideas or challenge existing ones. Don’t be afraid to go boldly where no engineer has gone before. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. And while it is important that we do our best, I ask that you do not be afraid of failure as it is an excellent teacher.

Rebecca Di Vincenzo, Computer Engineering

Di Vincenzo spoke on behalf of her graduating class in the afternoon ceremony.

Rebecca Di Vincenzo, Computer Engineering

We’ve struggled together, succeeded together and we’ve grown together. Our passion and dedication for engineering is what’s going to make us so successful. We have McMaster as well as each other to thank. We have the privilege to be changemakers. Engineers shape our world and now we’re all in that position. Let us take all that McMaster has taught us and make change for the better.

Honourary Doctorates

Kimberly Woodhouse

Kimberly Woodhouse ‘93, has made significant contributions in the field of engineering throughout her career. With over a decade of leadership experience at Queen’s University, she holds the distinction of being one of the first women in Canada to serve as a dean of engineering.

Her PhD research, which focused on the development of a material to combat blood clots, remains relevant and continues to be worked on at McMaster. Woodhouse’s achievements have made her an inspiration and role model for women in the engineering profession, earning her numerous prestigious accolades. Notably, she is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and was honoured with the Medal for Distinction in Engineering Education by Engineers Canada in 2007.

Kimberly Woodhouse

Whatever your path, this world needs people with your background and your education, whether you knew it or not, your professors were trying, not to just get you to solve math problems or memorize answers, but to solve problems, open ended tough complex problems with no perfect answer. Complex problems are real world problems. You have been taught to define them to solve them, to make the best choice for many viable solutions. Very few people can do this well and very few people have the courage.

Howard Ketelson

Howard Ketelson, an esteemed figure in the field of ophthalmic drug and medical device innovation, has made significant advancements that have greatly benefited consumers globally. At Alcon, the world’s largest eye care company, Ketelson’s work has resulted in 37 patents, including two for market-leading products: OPTI-FREE EXPRESS®, a multipurpose contact lens solution, and SYSTANE®, a dry eye product.

As a McMaster alumnus, Ketelson’s collaboration with the institution has provided valuable support to graduate students in the Department of Chemical Engineering, generating numerous publications and facilitating the development of commercialized products for Alcon.

Howard Ketelson

You’re going to look back and you’re going to connect the dots like I’m starting to do and think, look at the great people that you’re surrounded with now, the friends that you’ve met, the professor, you’ve been around and the community… You’re going to think, wow, that semester or that year I spent with the person has changed my life.

President’s Awards for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning

Zhen Gao

Zhen Gao

Zhen Gao is an assistant professor in the W. Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology at McMaster. He fosters experiential learning, community collaboration, and innovation in an equitable and inclusive environment. He incorporates industry examples and cutting-edge technology, bridging theory and practice. Recognized for his exemplary leadership in teaching and learning, he has designed multiple courses, created lab experiments, and leads the Master of Engineering in Systems & Technology program.

Elizabeth Hassan

Elizabeth Hassan

Elizabeth Hassan, an assistant professor at McMaster, prioritizes critical thinking, analysis, and student well-being. Her teaching approach reduces stress and cultivates engineering judgment. Hassan’s expertise in accessible course design has influenced the Faculty of Engineering, and she advises on experiential teaching approaches at other institutions. Hassan’s approach to teaching has produced positive learning outcomes and connected deeply with her students. Her courses provide practical learning experiences, emphasizing teamwork and project planning, and bringing ideas to life.

This was the first convocation I’ve ever attended as a faculty member, and to attend it as an award winner was really meaningful. To have the work that I’ve put into my courses recognized in this way at the highest levels of the university, and to have it occur in the same ceremony as my students reaching a massive milestone of their own felt so significant and emotional to me.

“I recently reflected on my own convocation 20 years ago and realized that despite the changes in my life, the friendships I formed during my undergraduate years remain strong. My closest friends are still those I met during that time. I encourage my students to cherish and nurture their own friendships, as there’s something truly special about this period of life and the connections made here at Mac.”

The Ontario Professional Engineers Foundation for Education Gold Medal

Maddison Konway, Materials Engineering & Management

Maddison Konway, Materials Engineering & Management

I am so honoured to receive the Ontario Professional Engineers Foundation for Education Gold Medal. Receiving this award was a reminder of how much I am capable of. It has also inspired me to keep pursuing excellence in my career. One of the many things Mac Eng – and specifically the fireball family – has taught me, is the importance of people and community. I would like to thank everyone who played a role in my journey at Mac – from my parents to my professors, from my friends to the students I TA’d, and everyone in between: I could never have done it without you.

Don’t miss out on the moments from McMaster Engineering’s Spring Convocation 2023! Check out our Facebook album of photos and social posts for a visual journey of the event.

Engineering Convocation
Engineering Convocation
Students taking picture outside of convocation hall
Engineering student holding their degrees