Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) honorary degree recipient Janet Austin was formerly sworn in today as the 30th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.
Austin was recognized as a community leader and advocate of social change by KPU in 2013 with a doctor of laws for her decades of work in the not-for-profit sector championing women’s equality and improving the lives of women and their families.
In her KPU Convocation address, Austin gave the following advice to graduating students.
“Over the course of my many years in the work world, I’ve had the privilege of doing very many different things. Part of the reason for that is that I’m actually the product of a liberal arts education, and so the polytechnic mix of many arts, sciences and skills that I acquired through my formal education has both nothing and everything to do with whatever I may have accomplished in subsequent years. Nothing, in that there’s no direct linear connection between what I studied and what I’ve actually done in the world of work. But, it also means everything, in that it helped me to see that all fields of knowledge are connected, and it helped me to develop the critical thinking and communication skills that allowed me to make those connections and also to make use of them both in work and in life.”
Through her work at Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland, BC Housing, and YWCA in Vancouver, Austin emphasized social and community development, including early learning and care for children, social housing, and advocacy for mothers without legal status.
“It may not always be totally clear to you how the knowledge you’ve acquired in this polytechnic environment will manifest in your future life and your future work, but I guarantee you that it will in profound and positive ways,” Austin added in her address.
“We’re pleased that Ms. Austin is the new Lieutenant Governor,” said KPU President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Alan Davis. “She has proven herself as an outstanding community leader in this province, and we’re proud to count her among KPU’s alumni as an honorary degree recipient.”