President and Vice-Chancellor's Convocation Address
October 4th, 2012
Chancellor, Governors, members of the Kwantlen First Nation, members of Senate, colleagues, students, alumni, guests and graduates.
Welcome everyone. And my congratulations to all those graduating: you may be here because you want to be and are proudly ready to celebrate, or you may be here because your loved ones really just wanted to make sure you finished. No matter.
These events are rather odd really: here we all are dressed like extras in a Harry Potter movie: you’ll come up here and I’ll greet you, even though we’ve never met before, and may never meet again: you are much more likely to have met Chancellor Bubber.
But I am here as President of this great institution to represent everybody who has worked with you closely to help you achieve this goal in your life. Those are the real stars on our team, and we celebrate today not just your achievement but also their dedication.
Thank you for giving us the privilege of helping you on your way.
Our garments are of course important: they symbolize centuries of tradition in higher education, which you are now part of. Universities have endured for nearly a thousand years as not just places to train for work, but as protectors of freedom of thought and speech and so of liberty and democracy.
As President, I am also expected to give you some advice and at least one quote.
So, I’ll quote my eldest daughter. One day, many years ago, I was sitting in the living room and feeling a bit low and sorry for myself, what with the burden of stress from work and so on.
My daughter was about 10 years old at the time, and she sat on the arm of the sofa and leaned over to me to say those 3 little words that mean so much.
Dad…..she said…….get a life.
Let’s break that down.
“Get” is the imperative: she meant that I should not sit idly, but do, something; take action.
“A” is the indefinite article: she didn’t say “the”; she meant “any”: and to not feel limited by my choice.
And “Life”: well, that means everything, and so I should not just get a job, or get a hobby, but to think big about everything.
So, I’ll pass that advice on to you. Class of fall 2012: Go! Get a life!