The University of Fredericton announces Valedictorian for the 2023 Convocation

On May 20, 2023, the University of Fredericton (UFred) will celebrate the achievements of the 2022 graduates from the Master of Business Administration, Executive Master of Business Administration, and Associate Degree in Occupational Health and Safety programs.

As a part of this celebration of achievements, UFred is pleased to announce the selection of the Valedictorian for the convocation ceremony: Valerie Hagens. 

Valerie, a Finance Manager at Nuna Group of Companies, graduated from the Executive Master of Business Administration program at UFred December 2022. Before her studies at UFred, Valerie had graduated from the University of Africa in 2007 with a Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Financial Management and obtained the Certified Professional Accountant designation in 2016. 

For Valerie, an MBA was a natural next step in her pursuit of life-long learning. That said, it was important to her that she first gain work experience, then apply what she learned during her MBA to her lived experiences. When she was ready, she found entering the Executive MBA program provided her with the next step on her educational journey and an opportunity to learn from others with differing worldviews. 

Valerie began the Executive MBA program with an already busy schedule, between her full-time career, family commitments, and volunteering, acknowledging that “…pursuing an online learning environment with accessible courses was the right path for me as it suited my family and work schedule.”

While completing her studies, Valerie found the highlight to be the time she shared with peers and professors, particularly the opportunities within the classroom to collaborate with peers and to think outside the box:

“Every question is a good question, and students were always encouraged to speak up during the v-classes. With mutual respect, students engaged in discussion posts sharing their opinions. Among the various teams I have been blessed to be a part of during the program, we have shared our strengths and areas we each wanted to improve. We had each other’s back and helped each other where required. Some of us have started a great friendship and decided to meet in person.”

In addition to Valerie’s professional commitments, she also participates in several volunteer positions with local and global footprints, including holding a board member seat with a not-for-profit organization called the Ujamaa Grandmas. This not-for-profit is a part of the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign. It aims to provide a variety of supports to those impacted by the AIDS pandemic in Africa. Valerie has also volunteered as a life-group leader at her local church for the past 5 years. 

“I hold the concepts and values of servant leadership very high, and I look forward to new ways to serve my community and keep growing in my leadership skills.”

With her degree complete, Valerie now plans to focus on the options available to her post-MBA. Her future plans involve pursuing further studies, potentially at the Ph.D. level, with the hope of teaching others about leadership skills at a master’s level.

“It has crossed my mind to teach master’s-level courses in leadership in the future and to help evaluate organizations and suggest strategies for solving problems. I enjoy working with people, and helping people and businesses grow and succeed.”

Valerie delivered a Valedictory Speech to her peers, faculty, and the broader UFred community at the convocation ceremony on May 20, 2023.