Grads encouraged to be humble, remain students for life
Published on October 21 2009
On Saturday, Oct. 17, more than 700 Brock students received their degrees at Fall Convocation.
During the day’s two ceremonies, Chancellor Ned Goodman spoke to the graduating class and delivered a message about ethics, adversity and success — three seemingly unrelated subjects that often interact.
“An ethical mind helps individuals aspire to do good work that matters,” he said. “But in our very busy society it is often easy to lose our way. We need the retention of an ethical compass because it is essential to your personal reputation and the health of the organization you will work for or represent.”
On the topic of adversity, the Chancellor reminded students that it is always easier to create new ideas and dreams than it is to cling to broken ones. He also encouraged students to speak their minds on what they believe and to be prepared to accept the consequences of their actions.
With respect to the issue of success, he urged students to challenge conventional wisdom and nurture the capacity to endure humiliation.
“Be humble and you are halfway there,” he said.
Rudi Kroeker, Chair of the Board of Trustees spoke to students about the value of education and the ways in which Brock has forever changed their lives and ways of thinking.
“Today we witness that you have been measured by the Senate and are worthy of a title that recognizes your education,” he said. “You achieved this because someone in your life expected more from you that you did, and you made these expectations your own.”
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, Kroeker also presented Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock Medals to undergraduate student John W. M. Henhawk at the morning ceremony, and graduate student Christine Arnold at the afternoon ceremony.
These medals recognize students who exemplify the qualities that best embody the spirit of Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock — leadership, courage, innovation, inspiration and community involvement.
During his addresses to students, President Jack Lightstone spoke to the graduating class about applying their knowledge acquired at Brock to the real world outside the University.
“Know that our disciplines are convenient ways of focusing our analytic attentions on aspects of our world,” he said. “But the world is not contained by our disciplinary boundaries.”
He encouraged students to put the world back together, since it must often be taken apart in order to engage in discovery, and to not be limited by their discipline’s perspectives.
At Saturday’s 10 a.m. ceremony, Professor James Mandigo, Physical Education and Kinesiology, was presented with the Brock University Award for Distinguished Teaching. This was the second major teaching award he has received from Brock this year, having received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching at Spring Convocation.
Professor Mandigo also delivered the morning Convocation address to students.
“Whatever you choose to do after you walk across this stage today, remember that we all have a shared responsibility to act,” Mandigo said. “Each of us has a shared responsibility to ensure the healthy development of our communities, our countries and our world.
“And remember, although we are expecting great things from each of you, we know you have the knowledge, talent, and skills to follow your dreams and be the agents of change that not only you want to see in the world, but what the world wants to see in you.”
At the morning ceremony, Governor General’s Silver Medals were also awarded to two students who achieved the highest academic standing at the undergraduate level. These medals were presented to Tamara Foster, Biomedical Sciences, and Laura Sangster, Speech and Language Sciences.
At the 2 p.m. ceremony, Brock bestowed an honorary degree upon Dan Patterson, President of Niagara College, for his outstanding leadership, his strong service and commitment to the Niagara community, and his advocacy for post-secondary education in Ontario.
During his convocation address, Patterson urged students to remain students for life.
“Remember that the process of learning does not end here at Brock,” he said. “You will need to keep learning — as we all do — to keep pace in our ever changing world. It is our lifeline to success and prosperity and it allows us to explore new ideas, refine our skills and develop new understandings.
“Continual learning is what opens your mind, develops your interests and encourages you to set higher goals.”
At the afternoon ceremony, Professor Teena Willoughby, Psychology, was presented with the Brock University Award for Distinguished Research and Creative Activity. Willoughby was recognized for her outstanding research achievements, training of future researchers, and overall consistency in scholarly or creative performance.
Chancellor Ned Goodman (right) presents President Dan Patterson of Niagara College (left) with an honorary degree at Fall Convocation