Spring 2023 convocation was extra special for two families, who got to share it with each other in a unique way!
Retired faculty member Bill Marr had the opportunity to hood his granddaughter, Isabella Bigioni (BA ’23). Marr attended many convocations over his 39 years as a Laurier faculty member, but this one felt more personal.
“It felt like a family event,” says Bill. “It was great to be there in person with our family in attendance … Wonderful memories of when I hooded my daughter [Isabella’s mother Jennifer Bigioni BBA '94], and Peter (BA '95), my son and Isabella’s uncle, almost thirty years ago.”
“I have very fond memories of my dad being on stage with me,” says Jennifer. “The university was a second home for me, since my brother and I basically grew up on campus. I knew so many of the faculty at convocation. They were like family.”
Isabella grew up hearing about her parents’ wonderful experiences at Laurier, and spending time on campus at summer camps and events like Homecoming. Her father, David Bigioni, is also an alum (BBA '95) and her parents were married at Martin Luther University College.
Stories of the clubs they joined and lifelong friends they made caused Isabella to want to become a Golden Hawk too and deepened her campus experience.
“Getting my acceptance was a big day in our house and just knowing I would soon be where my parents were before me was so special, it's hard to even describe,” she says. “For four years, I walked around campus thinking of how it was like when my mom or dad walked these halls and paths.”
The family is aware of how different Isabella’s experience was from her parents, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “She knew the history of the university in our family, so we were thrilled when she chose to be a Golden Hawk. But the last four years were so different and difficult. Convocation was a final celebration of the challenges she faced,” says Jennifer, “and the recognition of her hard work.”
Bill’s wife Marion and his grandson Joseph (Isabella’s brother) were also at Convocation.
Bill shares with readers a photo of a gift that Marion made for Isabella in honour of her convocation: a beautiful quilt stitched together from all the Laurier clothing Isabella had bought, worn and loved over her four years in university.
“I am sure that Isabella will remember her grandmother and her years at Laurier every time that she sees this quilt,” says Bill.
“It has definitely been a privilege to share these experiences with my parents and stand in their shoes while I make my own path,” says Isabella. “I will always hold the Laurier community near and dear as the place where my family came together.”
The Lawson family also shared a special convocation experience in 2023. Renée Lawson (BKin ’23) walked across the stage this year watched by her two parents who met at Laurier in a way Renee describes as “infamous” – but didn’t share details!
“I believe Renée was originally drawn to Laurier by the stories, friendships and experiences we shared from our time there,” says Nadine Barnes-Lawson (BA ’93). “So to see her complete her undergraduate years here as well - with the same, if not more, memories and experiences - truly makes my heart full.”
Renée’s father, Hugh Lawson (BA ’92) is “so proud of everything that Renée has accomplished during her years at Laurier.”
“It’s a great feeling knowing that I got to receive an amazing education from an institution that my parents have always spoken so fondly of,” says Renée. “I grew up hearing so many stories about their time on campus and what it was like being a student (and athlete) at the time. I look up to both my parents so much, so it means the world to me that they get to witness me graduate from the same school they attended, knowing I got to walk in their footsteps in my own unique way as a Golden Hawk.”
“Attending Laurier has played a very important part in all our lives,” says Hugh. “We owe so much to this institution and the great people there.”
“We are so incredibly proud of her,” adds Nadine. “Another Golden Hawk graduate in the family. Congratulations Renée!”
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