Today is Convocation, a day to celebrate the years of hard work you have committed to your studies. As you walk across the stage and take your well-earned places as alumni of the University of Ottawa, take pride in all you have accomplished.
Irrespective of the challenges you will face or the opportunities you will seize, be sure to challenge the status quo. Pursue your passion. Remain open to new possibilities. The world needs innovators, dreamers, and activists to make meaningful contributions in communities around the globe. Respond with integrity and creativity to the demands of our rapidly changing world.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for choosing the University of Ottawa, and for making the University a better place to live, learn, and thrive.
On behalf of the entire University community, please accept my sincere congratulations. As you continue on your journey, know that you are always welcome at your alma mater.
Message from the Chancellor
My warmest congratulations to our new Medicine graduates on this special day, when we celebrate the fruits of your tireless work and perseverance.
While I sincerely hope that you can truly savour this moment, I cannot help but mention the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. You are graduating at a time when your medical knowledge, soft skills, patience and courage will never be needed more than right now. That is a big responsibility.
Convocation should be a time brimming with energy and relief, along with the desire to take on new challenges, equipped as you are with an extraordinary toolkit. But more than simply facts and knowledge, you have honed your curiosity for science and medicine, an appetite you must continue to develop, nurture and grow.
Some of those who are graduating today will be going on to further studies. Others will move confidently towards new horizons. Wherever you are, wherever you go, remember that you have the power to make change happen, not only in your own lives, but also in the world around you.
But this power and responsibility requires courage. Courage to be honest, to make unpopular decisions and to admit your mistakes. Never doubt that you always have within you the courage to make the right decision.
My third message is simple: pay attention. Pay attention to those around you, your colleagues, your patients or customers, your partners, your family members. Listen to what they say — and don’t say. Read their body language. Be prepared to nurture your soft skills, the kinds of skills you haven’t necessarily developed in a classroom or online. Because to succeed in today’s increasingly fast-paced world, you will need to harness these skills, to be internationally bold as well as socially engaged in your community. You will need to be flexible and to adapt as you respond to others.
To the families, friends and loved ones of the graduates we are honouring today, I would like you to know that we share your pride and joy. Many of you have supported these graduates through what might have felt to them, at times, like a very long journey. Today is your day as well. Congratulations to all.
Message from the Dean and Vice-Dean
Dear Graduates of 2020:
It is a special year to be graduating from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine. From celebrations of our 75th anniversary to unprecedented challenges in health care, it has been a remarkable time in the history of the Faculty and indeed, the world.
You joined our highly ranked Faculty of Medicine after competing against thousands of the brightest. You proved we selected the very best by developing your knowledge to meet the challenges posed by the increasingly complex world of medicine.
You have made us proud with your grace, flexibility and professionalism in adapting to rapid changes in how we learn, and practice and conduct research in the medical sciences. Now, you are stepping forward as leaders to help shape this ever-evolving medical landscape. We trust you will embody the principles of our Faculty and uphold our strong tradition of professionalism and social accountability.
We feel privileged to have watched your progress. We wave you off with pride, fully confident in your ability to answer the important call to serve humanity with compassion, humility and scientific integrity.
Your memories of this extraordinary year will never fade. Today is farewell, but never goodbye, for we eagerly await news of your achievements and tales of your success.
Bernard Jasmin, PhD
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
University of Ottawa
Melissa Forgie, MD, FRCPC, MSc
Vice-Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine
University of Ottawa
The University Gold Medal for the highest standing throughout the medical program in each of the anglophone and francophone streams.
University Silver Medal
The University Silver Medal for the second-highest standing throughout the medical program in each of the Anglophone and francophone streams.
Vitae XXV Prize
The Vitae XXV Prize for the third-highest standing throughout the medical program in each of the anglophone and francophone streams.
Donald S. Beanlands Prize
The Donald S. Beanlands Prize for the highest standing in cardiology.
Dr. Frank P. Kraft General Practice Scholarship
The Dr. Frank P. Kraft General Practice Scholarship for high standing in Family Medicine and the pursuit of a career in family practice.
Anne C. Amberg Prize
The Anne C. Amberg Prize for the best combination of academic accomplishment and sensitivity to community health issues.
Dr. Geneviève Moineau Leadership Award
The Dr. Geneviève Moineau Leadership Award is presented to reward a deserving graduate who has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities throughout their studies in Undergraduate Medical Education.
Professor’s Prize in Paediatrics
The Professor’s Prize in Paediatrics, based on overall performance.
Mark Cohen Prize in Ophthalmology
The Mark Cohen Prize is presented to the graduate who shows the most promise to be an outstanding clinician and is pursuing a residency in a Canadian ophthalmology postgraduate program.
Bradwejn-Koszycki Research Award for MD/PhD Students
The Bradwejn-Koszycki Research Award is presented to a graduating student in the MD/PhD Program (PhD component) at the Faculty of Medicine on account of his/her outstanding research work.
Aesculapian Society Award
The Aesculapian Society Award is presented to graduates who have made a significant contribution to the student body over the past four years.
Dr. Bernard Jasmin is currently Dean and Professor at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine. He obtained his PhD in 1988 from the Université de Montréal. Following postdoctoral training in Paris, France (1988-90), he worked as a Research Associate at the University of Miami School of Medicine for an additional two years. Throughout his training, Dr. Jasmin has focused his work on cellular and molecular neurobiology.
Prior to becoming Interim Dean in July 2017 and permanent Dean in October 2018, Dr. Jasmin assumed the role of Vice-Dean, Research, in the Faculty of Medicine (2009-2017). He was initially recruited to the University of Ottawa as an Assistant Professor in 1992 by the Department of Physiology. He quickly moved through the ranks and was promoted to Full Professor in 2000. In 1999, he co-founded the University of Ottawa Centre for Neuromuscular Disease and acted as one of its co-Directors until 2002. From 2002 to 2009, Dr. Jasmin was Chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (CMM). Early in 2017, Dr. Jasmin was also named Vice-President, Research, at the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC).
In his leadership roles, Dr. Jasmin has consistently worked closely with all stakeholders from the University, Faculty, and affiliated Hospitals and Research Institutes, to either lead or assist in the development of a number of flagship programs and initiatives that have had a clear positive impact on the educational and research missions of the Faculty of Medicine. In particular, Dr. Jasmin has been instrumental in the marked increase in research intensity seen in the Faculty of Medicine, while playing key roles in the establishment of several broad-based strategic initiatives including the Brain and Mind Research Institute, the Centre for Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, and the design and implementation of a joint recruitment plan for Professors/Scientists with Clinical Departments and affiliated Research Institutes. Dr. Jasmin greatly facilitated also the accreditation for the following graduate programs: Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Epidemiology, Microbiology and Immunology, and Neuroscience, with all programs receiving high rankings. In addition, Dr. Jasmin strongly supported the development and creation of the Division of Clinical and Functional Anatomy, the Department of Innovation in Medical Education (DIME), and the MD/PhD Program.
While assuming various leadership roles, Dr. Jasmin has maintained an internationally recognized research program that focuses on defining signaling pathways and regulatory events that control expression of synaptic genes and proteins in neurons and skeletal muscle cells. In his work, the emphasis is placed on studying fundamental questions that are relevant for our understanding of the physiopathology of various neuromuscular diseases and for developing novel therapeutics for these diseases. Over the course of his career, Dr. Jasmin has published more than 135 scientific articles and book chapters, mostly as senior investigator. The excellence of his work has not only been recognized by several awards, including CIHR New Investigator, CIHR Investigator, and CIHR/IMHA Quality of Life Award, but in addition, by invitations to present at prestigious meetings and institutions around the world. Most recently, he received an Honorary Doctorate from the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 in recognition of his research accomplishments as well as his commitment to international partnerships.
Biography – Vice-Dean
MD, FRCPC, MSc
Dr. Forgie is a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s medical school and has Royal College specializations in internal medicine and in hematology. She has a fellowship in thromboembolic disorders. She has a Masters in clinical epidemiology, and is a clinician investigator with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. She has publications in a wide array of prestigious journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine and Nature and continues to publish in her area of clinical expertise. She is an active investigator in a number of both peer and industry funded clinical trials.
She was previously Residency Program Director for the University of Ottawa’s hematology training program. Her clinical practice specializes in thromboembolic.
Dr. Forgie is now Vice-Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education, at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine. Prior to this, she was Assistant Dean, Student Affairs as well as the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) National Co-Chair for Student Affairs.
Dr. Forgie has received several teaching awards and teaches in both the Anglophone and Francophone streams of the undergraduate medical education program. She has received Faculty awards for her teaching in both languages.
She has also received numerous patient care awards and is a 2009 recipient of the Ottawa Hospital Physician Recognition Award. She is currently one of the most highly awarded physicians at The Ottawa Hospital and is a site chief.
In her capacity as Vice-Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education, she has received recognition for her advocacy for and assessment of the learning environment. She has recently developed a program for social accountability for the MD Program, which encompasses humanities, community service learning, global health, leadership and social determinants of health sub programs. She sits on a number of AFMC working groups.
She is an invited member of the International Women’s Forum, which features women world leaders who have broken through barriers and achieved recognition for their leadership.
She was appointed to the Board of Trustees for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in January 2015. In November 2015, she was awarded the Jeff Turnbull Healthcare Advocacy Award.
The Canadian Heraldic Authority was established by Governor General Jeanne Sauvé on June 4, 1988, under powers granted to the Governor General and her successors by Royal Letters patent received from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Canada. Canada is the first country in the Commonwealth outside the United Kingdom to exercise this ancient royal prerogative in its own domain. Coats of arms, which are grants of honour from the Crown, are symbols of authority, ownership and identity. Through these symbols, Canadian corporations and individuals have a beautiful and permanent method of celebrating their history, geography and aspirations.
Acting on behalf of the Board of Governors, Antoine D’Iorio, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa, petitioned the Crown to grant to the University armorial bearings by lawful authority.
In making the petition the Rector represented to the Chief Herald of Canada that the University of Ottawa was first established as the College of Bytown by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in September 1848 and was incorporated by Act of the Parliament of the Province of Canada on May 20, 1849, becoming known as the College of Ottawa in 1861 and receiving its university status in 1866 by Royal Charter, with a further evolution as a publicly funded, non-denominational institution in 1965 under the name University of Ottawa, according to the terms of an Act of the Legislature of the Province of Ontario. The Act of 1965 also created the federated Saint Paul University to which were passed the old civil and pontifical charters of the University of Ottawa.
The coat of arms of the University of Ottawa was granted under the powers held by His Excellency Ramon John Hnatyshyn, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, Head of the Canadian Heraldic Authority. The arms were granted to honour the University’s contributions as Canada’s oldest and largest bilingual university and as part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the University of Ottawa’s provincial charter.
Armorial Bearings of the Faculty of Medicine
The former Dean of the Faculty, Dr. Jean-Jacques Lussier, designed the armorial bearings for the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Faculty. Her Majesty the Queen graciously approved the inclusion of the Royal Crown in the Coat of Arms on June 10, 1970.
THE SHIELD: The colours red and silver (white) are the colours of Canada. They traditionally represent the two main languages and cultures of our country. Ottawa is situated at the border of two provinces, one inhabited by a majority of English-speaking Canadians and the other by a majority of French-speaking Canadians. The wavy fess represents the Ottawa River. The Royal Crown makes reference to Ottawa being the personal choice of Queen Victoria as the site of the then capital of the Province of Canada and later our federal capital.
The snakes twisted around the staff of Aesculapius have long been the symbol of the medical profession and considered in many early civilizations to possess mysterious healing power. The three snakes in the shield allude to the three programs of the Faculty of Medicine: undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate. The black border refers to the darkness of ignorance and fear through which shines the light of science and knowledge represented by the golden books, often represented in heraldry as the symbol of educational institutions.
THE CREST: According to legend, the pelican tears the flesh off its chest with its beak to feed its small with flesh and blood. Symbolically, it expresses compassion for others, which is so essential to the practice of medicine.
THE MOTTO: Sanando docemus (Healing we teach) refers to the fact that teaching the art and science of medicine cannot be separated from the practical application of this art and science. The medical educator transfers knowledge to students in the course of delivering medical care.
Baccalaureate of Arts Program (SPU)
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Management (Telfer School)
History of the Deans of the Faculty of Medicine
1945 – 1950
Father Lorenzo Danis
(Chair of the Executive Council)
1950 – 1957
Dr. Arthur Richard
1957 – 1975
Dr. Jean-Jacques Lussier
1975 – 1990
Dr. Gilles Hurteau
1990 – 1995
Dr. John Seely
1995 – 2006
Dr. Peter Walker
2007 – 2017
Dr. Jacques Bradwejn
Dr. Bernard Jasmin
Welcome to the Alumni Association!
On this special day, I would like to sincerely congratulate you on behalf of the Alumni Association for your achievement. I’d like to offer you a very warm welcome into the University of Ottawa alumni family!
After this Convocation, the University of Ottawa will have more than 211,000 alumni in over 150 countries. You are now an integral part of a prestigious network of alumni who are making their mark both professionally and personally and who are the best ambassadors of their alma mater!
The role of our association is to maintain and create strong relationships between alumni and the University, and to support alumni in their careers. Members of the association’s board of directors are volunteers active in different fields. The Board puts forward new ideas and fund many of the activities and services offered to the alumni community.
Every year during Alumni Week the association highlights the outstanding achievements of six alumni with the annual presentation of the Awards of Excellence. We also help students succeed through two generous scholarships.
In May 2015, we completed a historic project; for the first time since 1848, alumni will have their own hall on campus. Located in the heart of the campus, the Alex Trebek Alumni Hall is a special meeting point for alumni to explore new ideas, reconnect with former classmates and rediscover their alma mater. It’s a living symbol of alumni commitment towards their alma mater, and a recognition by the University of its proudest ambassadors.
We look forward to meeting you at one of the uO2.0 series of events in the fall or during Alumni Week.
Elizabeth Rody (BA ’83)
President, University of Ottawa Alumni Association
Member, University of Ottawa Board of Governors
Keep in touch and get the latest on alumni events, services and privileges!
Visit us at Alex Trebek Alumni Hall, 157 Séraphin Marion.