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Serving as mace-bearer was a highlight for student union president’s time at UPEI

Mace-bearer Will McGuigan leads his classmates to the Saturday morning convocation ceremony at UPEI. McGuigan, who received his diploma for bachelor of business administration, served as president of the UPEI student union.
Mace-bearer Will McGuigan leads his classmates to the Saturday morning convocation ceremony at UPEI. McGuigan, who received his diploma for bachelor of business administration, served as president of the UPEI student union. - Submitted

For UPEI graduate and student union president Will McGuigan, it feels just yesterday when first he stepped onto campus.

“I even walked into a sign on day one,” said McGuigan while recalling his first day at UPEI.

After five years, McGuigan walked across campus again Saturday morning. However this time, he proudly led hundreds of his colleagues to the convocation ceremony as the mace-bearer.

“Words cannot describe the excitement that I’m sure all grads are feeling today,” said the Belfast resident, who received his diploma for bachelor of business administration. “It’s just absolutely indescribable.”

UPEI, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, conferred degrees on about 940 graduates during three convocation ceremonies this year.

Bachelor of business administration graduate Shelby Wilkinson-Martin, left, and her friend Hilary Bulger, who graduated with a bachelor of science, celebrate finishing their years at UPEI following the graduation ceremony Saturday morning.
Bachelor of business administration graduate Shelby Wilkinson-Martin, left, and her friend Hilary Bulger, who graduated with a bachelor of science, celebrate finishing their years at UPEI following the graduation ceremony Saturday morning.

McGuigan said some of his proudest accomplishments at the university were during his time in the student union.

McGuigan was the vice president for the 2017-18 school year and the president for this past year.

He said he was especially proud of renovating the campus pub which became The Fox and Crow.

But most of all, it was the students who made his experience in the union worth it.

“You get to see the stories and some struggles that students may face during their university careers but you get to help them, you get to support them and ensure that they have an amazing time at UPEI,” said McGuigan.

Serving as mace-bearer was a personal goal for McGuigan.

“I came into this year lobbying that I wanted to be the mace-bearer and I told everybody so when it finally came time everybody knew I was gunning for it. And when they asked, I was absolutely ecstatic,” said McGuigan, who was chosen for the role by the convocation committee.

McGuigan isn’t just walking out of UPEI with a diploma. He already has his first job lined up on his career path.

During grad photos McGuigan was unsure of his future and took photos holding a sign that said “Hire me”.

His wish came true when he was approached by the P.E.I. Reach Foundation to be its new business manager.

“It’s so rewarding and it took away so much stress to be offered a full-time job and the Reach Foundation does so much great work on our Island to help youth with addictions with recovery,” he said.

For future UPEI students and graduates, McGuigan has one piece of advice.

“My advice would be don’t take it for granted because, the next four or five years, it’s gonna come quick and you’re not going to realize,” he said. “It’s going to flash before your eyes.”

Bachelor of education graduate Lydia Lawless, left, and bachelor of business in tourism and hospitality graduate Amy Dawson celebrate following Saturday’s convocation ceremony.
Bachelor of education graduate Lydia Lawless, left, and bachelor of business in tourism and hospitality graduate Amy Dawson celebrate following Saturday’s convocation ceremony.

Bachelor of education graduates, from left, Rachel Marick Kocay, Andrew Thompson Robinson and Andrew Flynn get ready for their next chapter in life following the UPEI graduation ceremony Saturday morning.
Bachelor of education graduates, from left, Rachel Marick Kocay, Andrew Thompson Robinson and Andrew Flynn get ready for their next chapter in life following the UPEI graduation ceremony Saturday morning.

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