Graduation is typically about closing one door while opening another.
For Cumberland College that will truly be the case on May 31 at the Kerry Vickar Centre in Melfort when the last ever Cumberland College graduating class crosses the stage before the college begins life under a new name after completing a merger with Parkland College.
“This graduation is symbolic because it is the last grad with the Cumberland College name,” acting president and CEO Alison Dubreil said. “There will continue to be graduation celebrations in the future, this will not change. But of course, we will be celebrating with a new name.”
Cumberland College and Parkland College have announced that they will merge on July 1, 2023, to create a new college. This means that the graduating class of 2023 will be the last group of students to receive a certificate or diploma from Cumberland College.
Dubreil said the college will officially merge on July 1. Approval of the merger was officially received from the province in January.
“Our colleges have been operating as a coalition since 2019 through a shared CEO and Board of Governors,” she said.
“The merger will better position both colleges to serve our learners and communities through shared resources, increased partnership opportunities and the development of new programming.”
She said that the new college will be based on shared values and an equal partnership that will support the local labour market and demands of a growing Saskatchewan economy.
“While the new merged college will still have the same student-centered approach to support diverse learners throughout our region, the college will go through a rebranding process resulting in a new name and logo,” Dubreil explained
The new brand will reflect the shared values which include being an innovative, inclusive, relevant and responsive centre for adult education. They expect to announce a new name in July.
Until then, college business will carry on as normal, including graduation. Dubreil said the event still brings excitement to the campus.
“Graduates have worked hard to cross the stage and having their family & friends present to celebrate is the focus point of graduation ceremonies,” Dubreil said.
“Our graduation ceremonies are an opportunity to celebrate our students’ success and to recognize the work of incredible staff that have made these accomplishments possible.”
Brayden Hodgson is one of the final graduates of the Business Diploma program at Cumberland. He chose the program because of the opportunities it offered in a changing world.
“We’re kind of switching over to a lot of more Internet based business world, and I really got to learn a lot of through Cumberland,” Hodgson said. “We did more of a hybrid program or have online up in person, so it really got me familiar with more of the online business world. I find that a good experience and I’m really glad that I did the program. It’s been a very great I’ve learned a lot.”
Hodgson said the name change and amalgamation will be a significant event. He’s confident students will be well-served.
“I think it’s going to be pretty good. It’s going to provide a lot more opportunity for a lot more students,” he said. “I got to experience what Cumberland had to offer, and I’m sure there’s going to be a lot more brought to the table with the new changes.”
Hodgson, who is from Melfort, chose to attend Cumberland because it was close to home.
“I heard good things about the programs there. I read up on it. I went and I did a bit of research myself and I thought it would be a good fit,” he said.
The final graduation ceremony for Cumberland College is on May 31 at 2 p.m. at the Kerry Vickar Centre and Hodgson is looking forward to the day,
“It’s exciting that there’s going to be a new change at the college,” he said. “Hopefully there’s more opportunity for students who want to attend business and get into business, and maybe there’s going to be new things to be learned with this new merger coming along with the two colleges. It should be exciting.”
Cumberland College has campuses in Melfort, Tisdale and Nipawin. Parkland College serves Yorkton, Melville and area.