McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Kenya refugee is one of 237 nursing school graduates

Award-winning journalist honoured at convocation

Published: June 9, 2006
Nursing 2006
Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree recipient - journalist Michele Landsberg (left) and Dyanne Semogas, assistant professor in the School of Nursing.

Abraham Ture came to Canada from a refugee camp in Kenya in April, 2000 with his wife and two children. Tomorrow he is receiving his Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from McMaster University.

He is among the 237 graduates who attended the collaborative nursing program hosted at Mohawk College, Conestoga College and McMaster University.

Ture, who lived in the refugee camp for eight years, took the program at Mohawk College. Although it wasn’t easy to go back to school after so many years, Ture says his teachers, fellow students and friends were very supportive. The clinical work and approach to learning in the nursing program was team-oriented, which gave him the opportunity to meet and form friendships with many people.

Ture has been working for Hamilton Health Sciences as a nurses aid and he is now taking a full-time position with the hospital as a nurse.

"The diversity of the student population in nursing brings a great richness to the small group learning environment," said Catherine Tompkins, associate dean, nursing at McMaster University. "Our students have contributed in so many ways to their learning institutions and to their communities. As graduates, they are an exceptional and committed group of women and men and I know they will provide leadership to the nursing profession and within health care. As faculty we are very proud of our 2006 graduating class."

Journalist Michele Landsberg will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree at convocation. Landsberg has been a leading voice of women’s rights for more than a quarter century, using her platform as a National Newspaper Award-winning columnist in publications like The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail to inspire action in the name of social justice.

She was the first Canadian journalist to illuminate gender and race-based atrocities in Rwanda and Bosnia. She also helped expose imbalances in Canada’s divorce and custody laws. The Canadian Abortion Rights Action League has honoured her advocacy of women’s reproductive rights.

The author of three books has advised Canadian ministers of justice on sexual assault and custody laws and support laws. Her work on behalf of oppressed women resulted in changes to Canadian immigration policy. She was at the vanguard of enshrining women’s rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and was part of the committee that designed a more progressive and representative system for appointing Ontario judges.

Dyanne Semogas, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing who was the driving force in the development of a course to make students more cognizant of the plight of the homeless, will also be honoured at the nursing convocation. She has won the McMaster University President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (Course or Resource Design) this year.

She won for her work with the innovative nursing elective course, Poverty and Homelessness, established in 2002. She worked with both faculty and students to develop the course which combines the traditional McMaster tutorial model of learning with a service learning strategy.

Students explore issues of social justice in the classroom, and then apply their knowledge by serving community organizations that brings them into contact with the poor and marginalized of Hamilton.
Believed to be the only course of its type in Canada, Poverty and Homelessness addresses attitudes towards and factors contributing to poverty and homelessness, health concerns of the poor or homeless, and the role of advocacy and politics in poverty.

The School of Nursing is a world leader in problem-based learning and serves as a model for other schools. Within the international sphere, McMaster’s School of Nursing has worked with overseas universities and international agencies to develop nursing programs. Locally, Mac SOC (McMaster Student Outreach Clinic), a unique university/community-based organization, conducts outreach on the streets of Hamilton to feed people who are hungry, bring clothes to those in need and offer health education, advocacy, support and assistance for those who are homeless, poor and socially marginalised.

The School of Nursing convocation will take place on Friday, June 9 at 9:30 a.m. at Hamilton Place.

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