Congratulations Class of 2023! KPE celebrates new graduates

KPE class of 2023 arriving at Convocation Hall (all photos by Dewey Chang)
KPE class of 2023 arriving at Convocation Hall (all photos by Dewey Chang)

More than 5,500 students from across Canada and 70 countries around the world graduated from the University of Toronto this fall. Among them were students graduating from U of T’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, who crossed the stage at Convocation Hall on November 9.

caroline fusco in ceremonial gown

KPE associate professor Caroline Fusco delivered the keynote speech to graduating students from KPE, the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, and the Faculty of Music, who crossed the Convocation stage together on November 9.

The graduates and their friends and families were later invited back to the Clara Benson building at KPE for a more intimate graduation reception hosted by Gretchen Kerr, a professor and dean at KPE.

“On behalf of our Faculty, I would like to share a heartfelt congratulations with our new graduates,” said Kerr. “Not only did you earn degrees from an academically rigorous program at Canada’s most prestigious university, but you gained expertise in a field whose relevance and importance are increasingly recognized and appreciated around the world.”

five students outside of simcoe hall in graduation gowns
More KPE grads on their way to Convocation Hall

Kerr said the core mission of the Faculty – to develop, advance and disseminate knowledge about the interactions of physical activity, mental wellness and overall health – remains as important today as it ever was, and that she couldn’t think of better ambassadors than KPE graduates to carry that mission forward. 

two smiling students outside of simcoe hall in graduation gowns, holding envelope with degree
KPE's newest graduates holding their diplomas 


Ashley Stirling, an associate professor and vice dean of programs at KPE, congratulated the graduates on earing their degrees from a demanding academic program at Canada’s top university, calling it a big accomplishment of which they should all feel proud.

“In my role, I am well acquainted with the depth and breadth of the research undertaken by our faculty and their talented students,” said Stirling. “Ranging from behavioural to biophysical to physical cultural studies, the impact of their research is felt far and wide.”

Shalom Brown with family in front of faculty backdrop and balloons
Shalom Brown, second from right, is flanked by proud parents and brother at the KPE graduation reception following convocation

Stirling introduced Shalom Brown, who graduated from KPE with a master’s degree. Under the supervision and guidance of Assistant Professor Janelle Joseph, director of the Indigeneity, Diaspora, Equity and Anti-Racism in Sport (IDEAS) research lab, Brown’s research addressed questions about the complexity of identity and physical movement for mixed-race Canadians.  

“There are things that are well known about this program such as that it consistently ranks among the top kinesiology programs in Canada, has remarkably talented faculty, and is situated in a world-renowned research university,” said Brown. “What is lesser known, is that this program is one that fosters change.”

Brown said she had yet to encounter a graduating student who says they are the same person they were when they entered the program - not due to the passage of time, but due to what she described as “intentional disruption of assumed knowledges and beliefs” incorporated into their education.

“KPE inspires students to find their voice, and use it in their research and practice,” said Brown. “I feel blessed to have been a part of a community that not only taught me, but showed me that my experiences, my life, matter.”

Catherine Amara, an associate professor and vice dean of undergraduate education at KPE, congratulated the students on reaching this important milestone in their lives. 

“I’ve had the pleasure of following the progress of many of you - from the first year you joined the bachelor of kinesiology program to this exciting moment – and it’s been so impressive to see how much you’ve grown from those early days,” she said. ”The discipline of kinesiology is wide ranging and far reaching and our undergraduate students are a wonderful testament to that.”


Francesca Tatangelo with family in front of faculty backdrop and balloons
Francesca (second from left) Tatangelo's family is all smiles at the KPE graduation reception

Amara introduced Francesca Tatangelo, who graduated from KPE with a bachelor degree. 

“As graduates of KPE, we’ve been taught that the human body is an intricate, interconnected system,” said Tatangelo. “Our education in this discipline has been equally diverse.”

Tatangelo thanked the faculty and staff for their dedication and commitment to nurturing young minds, adding the diverse and vibrant university community provided her with rich opportunities for collaboration, cultural enrichment and a broadened perspective. 

“I truly cherish the friendships I formed on this academic journey,” she said. “We are graduating not only with a deep understanding of the mechanics of the human body, but also a profound appreciation for the impact physical activity has on the health of individuals and society as a whole.

“Whether we choose to become healthcare professionals, sports scientists, fitness trainers, or even venture into other diverse fields, the principles and values instilled in us through our education will be our guiding compass.”


Tom Babits, president of the alumni association of KPE, told the graduates that the experience they gained through both curricular and co-curricular programs at U of T will be of great benefit to them in their career and throughout their life. 

Babits, whose sons and wife are all proud KPE alumni, said the over 6,600 graduates of the Faculty share a special bond.

“Wherever your work or travel may take you, your connection with this University and this Faculty will act as an impressive introduction and a remarkable stepping stone,” he said.

Related reading:

Set small, achievable goals every day and celebrate the small wins, says KPE graduate Maeghan James

Be open to opportunities that come your way, says KPE graduate Sandhya Mylabathula

“It’s ok to say no occasionally,” says KPE graduate Sarah McGee

Graduate school studies a transformative experience, says KPE graduate Stephanie Dixon