Brescia celebrates Class of 2016 and honours distinguished faculty at 2016 Baccalaureate and Convocation

June 20, 2016

London, ON – Brescia University College’s two-day long graduation celebration began June 19th with almost 900 Brescia faculty, staff and graduates gathering for its time-honoured 94th annual Baccalaureate and Magisterial Exercises. The celebration continues June 20th as graduands and families gather at Brescia’s campus before descending down Brescia hill to their Convocation ceremony. Three distinguished faculty will also be recognized: Professor Colleen Sharen, recipient of the Award for Excellence in Teaching – Full-time Faculty; Dr. Sharareh Hekmat, recipient of the Award for Excellence in Research; and Professor Carlie Bell, recipient of the inaugural Award for Excellence in Teaching – Contract Faculty.

“Baccalaureate and Convocation are signature celebrations at Brescia, where we are able to celebrate not only our outstanding graduates but also our dedicated faculty,” says Dr. Donna Rogers, Brescia Interim Principal. “We are incredibly proud and fortunate at Brescia to be able to recruit and retain some of the leading faculty in the country.”

Known by her students as a committed, caring and innovative instructor, Professor Colleen Sharen is the recipient of Brescia’s 2016-17 Award for Excellence in Teaching – Full Time Faculty. Teaching courses under Management and Organizational Studies and Dimensions of Leadership, Professor Sharen is known for exploring new approaches and teaching methods to engage and inspire her students. Her commitment to student learning extends beyond the classroom through experiential learning opportunities, specifically through the Just Own It! entrepreneurship program and the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative that serves over 400 high school students and over 200 college and university women.

Dr. Sharareh Hekmat, a faculty member in the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, is the holder of Brescia’s Award for Excellence in Research for 2016-17. Internationally recognized for her research, she has dedicated more than 25 years to investigating the benefits of probiotic yogurts. Dr. Hekmat and her research collaborators from Brescia and Western University have received numerous grants to conduct various clinical trials among patients who suffer from conditions such as IBD, HIV/AIDS and seasonal allergies. In addition to her innovative research, Dr. Hekmat’s teaching is as equally outstanding, having trained and mentored numerous Brescia students who have gone on to highly successful careers and professional programs in related fields.

An outstanding and dedicated mentor of students, Professor Carlie Bell of the School of Leadership and Social Change is the holder of the inaugural Award for Excellence in Teaching – Contract Faculty. Professor Bell has been on the Dean’s Honor Roll of Teaching every year since she began teaching at Brescia in 2005. An innovative and experiential teacher, Professor Bell has provided challenging but fun classes by using a variety of exercises to engage her students, including: public speaking exercises, community involvement, guest speakers, and case studies.

Media are welcome to Brescia on June 20th, where at 1:45 p.m. the graduands, led by bagpiper Eileen Robertson, will process down Brescia hill to Alumni Hall and have their degrees officially conferred upon them.

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Colleen Aguilar, Director Communications and Marketing at 519-432-8353, ext. 28293 or at, or Caitlin Core, Communications & External Relations Officer at 519.432.8353, ext. 28280 or at

Brescia University College, Canada’s only women’s university college, is affiliated with Western University. The 1,550 women registered as either full- or part-time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in the schools of Behavioural & Social Sciences, Food & Nutritional Sciences, Humanities, and Leadership & Social Change in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred, and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic University College welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity.