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Valedictorian Danielle Jacqueline Elizabeth Gariepy

Some things just run in the family, and as Danielle (Dani) Gariepy's mother watches her daughter cross the stage today with a Bachelor of Nursing, she will not only be proud of her university graduate, but of her soon-to-be colleague.

2014 Valedictorian Danielle Gariepy
Valedictorian Dani Gariepy urges fellow graduates to, "Take your piece of blue with you wherever you go." ~Photo by Michal Waissmann

Looking beyond the traditional take on a nursing career, it's Gariepy's interest in global health inequities that she hopes will lead her to a career in community development outside of the usual nursing paradigm.

Always focused on taking the most from her experiences, Gariepy became well ingrained in the campus community working as a Resident Advisor (RA), a Residence Community Advisor, a Recreation employee, and through participation in community projects, including a symposium on dating violence.

"While living in Residence I was approached and asked to be an RA. For me, that was very special," says Gariepy. "So, over the four years I lived on campus, I really made it my home - the friends that I made in my very first year will be my friends forever."

As president of the Mount Royal Womens' Ringette Club for two years and as an avid player, Gariepy was able to represent Mount Royal twice on a national stage.

Taking a year hiatus from her studies to be a Stampede Princess for the Calgary Stampede's centennial celebration, Gariepy had the unique opportunity to be an ambassador for her city, but leaving her home on campus made her realize how much Mount Royal life meant to her.

"I really felt like the community took me in," says Gariepy. "And, in leaving I felt sad, but I had no doubt that I would be back, and I'm just thankful for the support I received that allowed me to go and have those amazing experiences."

That support she received from the campus community was what she credits for helping her persevere through moments of doubt during the academically rigorous Nursing program.

"Every test was a challenge," she says. "And, I often doubted myself, but the support of Mount Royal faculty helped to ensure that I overcame those challenges."

From someone who worked, learned, lived and played on campus, Gariepy says she will miss the community but looks forward to entering the workforce with her peers as an ambassador for the University.

"Take your piece of blue with you wherever you go. Take what you have learned during your time here and build it into your own community."

Brendan Greenslade - June 6, 2014