“This isn’t the end of our story”
The honour of being named Class Valedictorian at Mount Allison University is not one to be taken lightly. And Hanna Fuzesi, the 2022 speaker, does not.
“I am honoured to be in this position to represent the Class of 2022,” she says. “I learned the news during an Ultimate Frisbee tournament. I’m so excited to take part in this role for Convocation. It is truly an honour for me that my classmates would entrust me with delivering this message and representing them!”
Fuzesi was chosen by her peers to deliver the valedictory address, which she will do during Mount Allison Convocation ceremonies on Monday, May 16. Fuzesi herself will graduate in the morning with an honours degree in biology, minors in biochemistry and psychology, and a certification in the foundations of health, introduced at the University in 2020.
From Campbellton, NB, Fuzesi is also the winner of the University’s Don Norton Award for campus and community involvement and leadership. Serving as Vice-President, Student Life for the Mount Allison Students’ Union, she has been involved in several initiatives over her time at Mount Allison including Health Care outreach, Relay for Life, and volunteering at the local hospital and nursing home.
Many members of the graduating class completed over half their degree in the pandemic. Fuzesi says the sense of community she experienced at Mount Allison and in Sackville became even more important over the course of the pandemic.
“I was part-way through my second year when everything shut down in March 2020, that was a turning point for me,” she says. “The isolation pushed me to become more involved where I could and connect with other students and community members. Knowing others were experiencing the same challenges and we were working towards common goals really strengthened that sense of community and I hope helped contribute to building the Mount Allison community for the future.”
In addition to her work with the MASU and volunteer work with various clubs and societies on campus, Fuzesi also worked with the University’s Wellness Centre as the Mental Health and Harms Reduction intern and the Meighen Centre and with athletics as intramural coordinator and student therapist for the volleyball team. She was a teacher’s assistant and tutor throughout her degree and will be working as a research assistant in Dr. Jillian Rourke’s biochemistry lab this summer.
“I’ve felt so welcomed in so many areas of campus. I hope I can share that sentiment in my address to my classmates,” she says. “No matter what your experience was at Mount Allison, we should all be proud of ourselves — for not only completing our degrees in the pandemic but also for being pioneers and advocates in times of success and hardship alike! Not an easy task! Everyone graduating has a place in this class that is theirs alone, no one can take that away — you matter. This isn’t the end of our story, but I think it is an important chapter, both for the group and for Mount Allison as the first class to graduate in person in the pandemic.”
Fuzesi will be taking a year away from her studies following Mount Allison but plans to complete a master’s degree in the future.