Retirement of Silvia Rosatone, Director, Office of Convocation

To:           Staff in Simcoe Hall
Principals, Deans, Academic Directors & Chairs

From:      Sheree Drummond, Secretary of the Governing Council

Date:       January 27, 2023

Subject: Retirement of Silvia Rosatone, Director, Office of Convocation

After over 25 years of dedicated leadership at the University of Toronto, Silvia Rosatone, Director, Office of Convocation, will be retiring on March 31, 2023. Her last day in the office will be March 9.

Silvia began her career at the University of Toronto in the Faculty of Medicine while pursuing her graduate studies at OISE. 

In 1999 she took on the role as a Statistical Officer in the then Office of Statistics, Records and Convocation thus making a shift that brought her into the ‘world of convocation’ and she never looked back. In 2002 the functions of that Office were divided between the Office of Planning and Budget and the Office of the Governing Council. At that time Silvia took on the general oversight of the activities of the Office of Convocation within the Office of the Governing Council. In 2003 she assumed the role of Manager of Convocations and Governance Committees Secretary. In addition to providing a full range of support and coordination services related to convocation, this unique role gave her insight into our governance processes as she provided support to the Committee on Academic Policy and Programs (AP&P) and the Elections Committee.

In 2008 she took on the role of Director, Office of Convocation. As Director she has been responsible for the overall management and strategic direction of the activities of the Office of Convocation, including providing leadership on convocations procedures and practices to all members of the University community. In this capacity she has worked closely with the Offices of the Chancellor and the President in their respective roles in convocation.

Over the course of her tenure, the number of ceremonies and the sizes of graduating classes have doubled. Within this environment Silvia has implemented a wide range of changes and enhancements to convocation and its activities, including but not limited to, enhanced online services for the Office of Convocation, an on-line verification system, a reader training program, ceremony webcasting, and e-ticketing. In addition, in collaboration with internal partners and with the involvement of external vendors, she broadened in-house services such as regalia distribution, portrait photography, and floral services. She was also a founding partner in the Convocation Plaza initiative. Silvia also implemented over 30 recommendations that arose from reviews of convocation in 2006 and in 2019.  As a widely respected and experienced convocation professional, Silvia has been active in the North American Association of Commencement Officers (NAACO).

Most recently, working closely with the President’s Office and University of Toronto Communications (UTC), Silvia was instrumental in delivering virtual convocation ceremonies in June 2020, November 2020, June 2021 and November 2021. In December 2022, Silvia and her team, along with their partners, delivered on a series of in-person graduation celebrations for the classes of 2020 and 2021. These virtual ceremonies and subsequent graduation celebrations were herculean undertakings.

Throughout the course of her career in convocation, Silvia has kept a singular focus on ensuring the best possible experience for our graduating students and their families. She has profound respect for the University’s long-held traditions, a deep commitment to inclusive excellence and a strong service-orientation. Keenly sensitive to the ‘all hands on deck’ nature of convocation, she has established strong relationships with institutional, divisional and external partners. Her impact on the fabric of convocation will endure well past her retirement. On behalf of all of us I would like to express deep gratitude for Silvia’s service and commitment to the University and wish her the absolute best for her well-earned retirement.

Finally, I would like to note that in light of Silvia’s retirement I have engaged Kennedy & Company to undertake a review of the Office of Convocation. This review will look at the processes and policies related to convocation, as well as the overall scope and mandate of the unit. While this review is underway Samantha Smith will be serving as Acting Director, Office of Convocation. I am very grateful to Sam for agreeing to take on this responsibility at this important juncture.