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RDC celebrates student success and achievements at 55th Convocation Ceremonies

Date posted: 
Thu, 06/06/2019
Red Deer College Convocation

On Friday, June 7, Convocation will come home at Red Deer College, when the 55th annual ceremonies are held for the first time at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre on RDC’s main campus. Throughout the morning and afternoon ceremonies, 606 of the 1,668 eligible graduates will cross the stage to celebrate their achievements.

“Convocation is special, as it allows students to celebrate with their friends, families and classmates on our main campus – it creates a feeling of community at the hub of our RDC community,” says Joel Ward, President & CEO. “All of us at Red Deer College are incredibly proud of our graduates, and this is a day to take time to celebrate and honour their accomplishments.”

At the ceremonies, two outstanding students will be recognized for their exceptional contributions to academics and to the community. During the morning ceremony, the Governor General’s Academic Medal (Collegiate Bronze Level) will be presented by Earl Dreeshen, Member of Parliament for Red Deer-Mountain View, to Svetlana Palmer. The academic excellence that Palmer achieved included six grades of A+ and a GPA of 4.0 in the final year of her Legal Assistant Diploma.

“The Governor General’s Academic Bronze Medal represents outstanding scholarly achievement that speaks to dedication and hard work on the part of the student,” says Dr. Paulette Hanna, Vice President, Academic. “It is a privilege to see a deserving student be presented with this Award each year, and Svetlana Palmer’s academic record sets her apart, making her a worthy recipient of this medal.”

During the afternoon ceremony, the Red Deer College Foundation Outstanding Student Award will be presented to Robin Chiles for her leadership and commitment to RDC. 

“This Award acknowledges a student who has demonstrated exceptional contributions to the College and the community,” says Tim Wiltzen, Chair of RDC’s Foundation Board. “With her vast contributions as a student leader – on RDC’s Board of Governors and within her program – along with her dedication to community volunteerism, Robin Chiles epitomizes the spirit of this award.” 

This year, RDC will also continue a tradition that began in 2014 with the granting of an Honorary Degree to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of social, cultural or economic development in a way that has had significant impact for RDC, central Alberta and beyond. Lyn Radford will be the fifth recipient of the Honorary Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies Degree in recognition of her unparalleled and passionate dedication as a community builder and leader. 

“Growing community is such an important part of who I am. Education is one of the most important elements of a community and of my life. Red Deer College – soon to be University – is an integral part of our community and to have the opportunity to contribute to this institution has been one of the most satisfying roles in my life,” says Radford. “This honour, which has been bestowed upon me, has both surprised me and humbled me. But I graciously accept on behalf of the thousands of community members that stood alongside of me and brought to life all the visions and achievements I have been part of.”

Please see the addendums on the following pages for detailed information about each of the award recipients. Additional details about Convocation are available at


Lyn Radford to receive Honorary Degree at Red Deer College’s 55th Convocation

Lyn Radford has distinguished herself as a passionate, tireless community builder and leader whose commitment to this region has helped to create a legacy that will have an impact for generations. Originally from Edmonton, Lyn received her Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta, and she worked as a teacher in Bonnyville and Rocky Mountain House. In 1986, Lyn and her family moved to Red Deer, where she has devoted herself to making this community one of the best places in the world to live, work and raise a family.

With diverse personal interests, ranging from education and sports to Indigenous heritage and community awareness, Lyn has devoted herself to volunteerism. She has spent countless hours volunteering for dozens of organizations and events, with much of her early contributions supporting the schools and activities of her four children. This work led to one of her first facility fundraising endeavours through the Red Deer Gymnastics Club. As a Board member for the organization, Lyn was the instigator and had a lead role in developing, fundraising and building a state-of-the-art facility.

The 2006 Alberta Summer Games, held in Red Deer, benefitted from Lyn’s leadership as Chairperson. The legacies from these Games included a new track, along with one of the largest financial legacies to support numerous non-profit organizations, including RDC and the Alberta Games Foundation, for scholarships and grants for students and athletes.

The Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta was also created thanks, in part, to the contributions of Lyn and her family. As the campaign chair family, they were instrumental in fundraising for the $12 million building, which has been supporting families in need since it opened in 2011.

Lyn’s advocacy was demonstrated during the six years she served on Red Deer College’s Board of Governors. Her background in education, combined with her community-minded perspective made her a strong supporter of the College and its students. She led an initiative to recognize Indigenous graduands at Convocation and, through her family’s business, they have supported scholarships for Indigenous students and female student-athletes in curling. Throughout her time on the Board, she worked to advance the needs of RDC both locally and provincially.

Most recently, Lyn’s passion to showcase our community and to create opportunities for its citizens was evident through her years of work with the 2019 Canada Winter Games. She was the main driver behind both securing the Games and overseeing the complex planning for and operations of the major national event. From the first idea of Red Deer hosting the Games to the closing ceremony and beyond, Lyn committed her whole self to this event and what it would mean for the community. Through her work as a servant leader, she earned the respect and admiration of those around her and then built and led a team where everyone was valued. Her inclusive and positive nature are an inspiration and frequently brought comfort and stability to the hundreds of staff, volunteers and committee members who worked alongside her.

From a community-building perspective, the legacy of the Games will be felt on RDC’s main campus for decades. Thanks to the opportunities the Games provided, the plans for RDC’s Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre and new Residence became a reality. The impressive buildings are innovative, dynamic and functional, and they will support teaching and learning, athletics, community members and student experiences now and during RDC’s future as a university. 

Lyn Radford is a visionary who continually demonstrates her commitment to making her community a better place and leaving a legacy to be enjoyed by current and future generations.

Red Deer College is proud to bestow upon Lyn Radford an Honorary Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at the 55th Convocation ceremonies on June 7, 2019.


Svetlana Palmer to receive Governor General’s Academic Bronze Medal at 55th Convocation Ceremony

Svetlana Palmer started the Legal Assistant Diploma program at Red Deer College in the fall of 2017. Originally from Ufa, Russia, Svetlana immigrated to Canada in 2010, and she resides in Sylvan Lake.

When considering her career path, Svetlana was looking to start a new career and receive post-secondary education in Canada. She had previously received her Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics in Russia and had worked as a translator for several years before applying to RDC’s Legal Assistant program. Svetlana was drawn to the College because of its credibility, location, and quality of education. The Legal Assistant program, in particular, caught her attention because she had experience translating legal documentation, and she thought it would be interesting to learn how and why these documents are created.

Once at Red Deer College, Svetlana excelled in her program. She immersed herself in a new world of Canadian education and successfully survived the stress of meeting deadlines, writing exams, and balancing school, work and home life. Being a part of the College community was a highlight of her program, and she enjoyed meeting wonderful people, both classmates and instructors, with the open communication and commitment from the instructors being an important part of her experience.

Taking a diverse mix of programs throughout her two-year Diploma, she especially enjoyed Estate Planning and Estate Administration, as well as Real Estate. Her success is demonstrated by the academic excellence she achieved, which included six grades of A+ and a GPA of 4.0 in her final year. Svetlana is honoured to receive the Governor General’s Academic Medal for high academic achievement. Her goal was to get the most out of her program, exercise dedication to goal achievement and increase her professionalism, and she feels extremely grateful for the recognition she has received for her work. 

Looking ahead, Svetlana will pursue her career as a Legal Assistant. As she gains experience in her field, she is looking forward to learning about different areas of law, possibly adding mediation to her list of expertise.

Svetlana Palmer will receive the Governor General’s Academic Medal (Collegiate Bronze Level) at RDC’s 55th Convocation on June 7, 2019.


Robin Chiles to receive RDC FoundationOutstanding Student Award at 55th Convocation Ceremony

Robin Chiles came to Red Deer College to pursue her passion for helping others, and her natural gifts of being a leader, role model and mentor have benefited RDC and those from across the institution.

Now a fourth-year student in the rigorous Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, Robin was first appointed by students to serve on the Board of Governors in 2015. With her informed, balanced, pragmatic and optimistic perspective, Robin excelled in her role, and she is the first student to be reappointed for a second term. Robin credits her time on RDC’s Board with broadening her view and helping her to develop an unexpected passion for board work.

In addition to her meaningful contributions on the Board, Robin volunteers for many other initiatives. She sits on Academic Council as a representative from the Students’ Association, and she has been a leader with RDC’s Open House, New Student Orientation, mental health initiatives and the Nursing Society. Outside RDC, Robin is a leader and volunteer with her church, serving as the president of the Young Women program, and she contributes to community-wide initiatives, including the Relay for Life and cancer programs, as well as the Red Deer River Clean-up and Red Deer’s Point in Time Homeless Count.

A caring, compassionate and informed approach underscore everything Robin does, and she is living her life’s purpose as she helps others to heal and thrive. As a cancer survivor, Robin’s professional path was defined, in part, by the incredible nurses who helped her and her husband and family throughout their journey. Through her program, the tables have now turned, and she has dedicated herself to helping patients, which has reinforced her true passion to become a nurse. As a wife and mother of two, Robin has balanced family, education, volunteerism and leadership as she has pursued her calling. Robin will graduate in December, with the goal of practicing in palliative and cancer care, and eventually pursuing her Ph.D. in Nursing.

Robin Chiles will receive the Red Deer College Foundation Outstanding Student Award at RDC’s 55th Convocation on June 7, 2019.

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For additional information contact:

Shelley Newman
Communications Strategist – Corporate

Brent Forster
Communications Strategist – Corporate