Convocation Thursday, November 21, 2019, 9:30 a.m.

Convocation Thursday, November 21, 2019, 9:30 a.m.


– [Announcer] Ladies and
gentlemen, please rise for the Academic Procession
and the Chancellor. (traditional Indigenous drumming)
(traditional Indigenous singing) – [Dr. Spinner] I declare
that the 606th Convocation of McMaster University for the conferring of
degrees is now in session. – Please be seated. Good morning, I am Dr.
Susan Searls Giroux, Acting Provost and
Vice-President Academic. This morning I have the great pleasure of being your Master of Ceremonies, and it is my privilege and honor, on behalf of McMaster University,
to welcome all of you, graduands and guests, to
this Convocation ceremony. Before further remarks, I would like to call
upon Dr. Amos Key Jr., Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement and Associate Professor
from Brock University, to deliver a traditional
Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address. – I’m going to share some
words from the Haudenosaunee. That is our reverence for humanity, our reverence for our creation
given to us by our creator, but it also speaks of our indigeneity, the virtues and the ethics of the Haudenosaunee
Onkwehon:we civilization. And it brings us back to our moral compass as human beings and we’re
giving the acknowledgement to our creator. So I’ll ask all of you for
whatever faith you’re from, and whatever way you give
thanks and with gratitude, to take a moment to pause while I recite these words of the creator and thank him for bringing us
here tonight, today, sorry. And for acknowledging a great
leader in our community, Ms. Santee Smith. (speaking in Cayuga) (speaking in Cayuga) (speaking in Cayuga) (speaking in Cayuga) (speaking in Cayuga) Among my people, it is always an honor to sing the creator’s song and because of this great
occasion for McMaster, for the family of Santee
Smith and for Santee Smith, being installed as a new
Chancellor at McMaster is an historic occasion. And I want to share with
you that raises the spirit of Santee to the creator this morning, my (speaking in Cayuga). These are songs of the
creator and I’ll try my best to raise this song on behalf of all of us and especially Santee Smith. (singing in Cayuga) (singing in Cayuga) Thank you very much (speaking in Cayuga). (audience applauding) – Thank you, Mr. Key Jr. for those beautiful and sonorous words. On behalf of the University, I would like to recognize and acknowledge that we meet today on the
traditional territories of the Mississauga and
Haudenosaunee nations within the lands protected by the Dish With One
Spoon wampum agreement. We must remember that we all have a role in upholding the spirit of this agreement, which urged for the peaceable sharing of the Earth’s resources. We must also not forget
that merely acknowledging our presence on these traditional lands is only a small step on our
shared path to reconciliation. I challenge you to consider how you can foster reconciliation among the many Peoples that
now inhabit these lands. At this time I would like to acknowledge some of the notable leaders joining McMaster’s senior leaders today. President of Mohawk
College, Mr. Ron McKerlie, and President and CEO of
Six Nations Polytechnic, Ms. Rebecca Jamieson. Before we start our formal program, may I ask everyone in the Hall to switch off any electronic devices that may ring or beep during the ceremony. I would now like to call
upon Ms. Andrea Thyret-Kidd, Secretary of the University
Senate and Board of Governors, to administer the
Instrument of Appointment of the Office of the Chancellor. – Mr. Vice-Chancellor,
Mr. Chair of the Board; honored guests, it is now my duty to read the following
Instrument of Appointment of the Chancellor of McMaster University. Pursuant to Section 13, Subsection a of The McMaster University Act, 1976, and pursuant to Article II, of the By-Laws of the Senate
of McMaster University, Santee Sue Smith, Tekaronhiáhkhwa, has been nominated by the committee for Nominating a Chancellor
and subsequently appointed by the Senate as Chancellor
of the University for a three-year period
beginning September 1st, 2019. – Good morning. Madam, you are now to assume the function and the Office of Chancellor
of this University, to which you have been duly appointed. You shall now swear to keep and preserve, well and faithfully, during
your period of Office, the statutes, liberties, customs, rights and privileges of the University, and to promote its well-being and that of its members
so far as in you lies. – I promise to do so. (traditional Indigenous singing) (traditional Indigenous singing) (traditional Indigenous singing) (traditional Indigenous singing) (traditional Indigenous singing) (traditional Indigenous singing) (people cheering)
(people applauding) – Madam, by the authority
of the University Senate, I now install you in the office of Chancellor of McMaster University, and I invest you with the authority and charge you with the responsibilities which appertain to this high office. (people applauding) (people applauding) I would now like to
invite the 19th Chancellor of McMaster University, Ms. Santee Smith, to deliver her Address. (people applauding) (speaking in Mohawk) – Thank you very much. Greetings, honored guests, faculty, staff, family, friends, and most
importantly, graduands. It’s a pleasure to be
present with you today and to share in this exciting time as we mark this milestone in life with acknowledgement and celebration. Today’s convocation
represents the culmination of a tremendous amount
of work and dedication to fulfilling your academic goals. Congratulations (speaking in Mohawk). Santee Smith (speaking in Mohawk), Six Nations of the Grand River, my Haudenosaunee name is Tekaronhiáhkhwa, which means picking up the sky in Mohawk. And now I have a new
name, Chancellor Smith, it has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it. I’m deeply honored to have been invited to step into the role of
Chancellor of McMaster University. As a proud Onkwehon:we Mohawk woman and a proud McMaster alumni, I couldn’t be more thrilled
to offer my insights and perspectives gained
through my experiences and from the wisdom passed on
to me from my many teachers. It’s a privilege to be
in service to McMaster, upholding the mission and
the values of the university, and expanding upon the
principles of understanding and cooperation with the
Haudenosaunee and Mississauga on whose land we now stand,
work, play, learn, share, and with actions of love and
gratitude, endeavor to sustain. During my time as Chancellor, I aim to work through
my Haudenosaunee values: fairness, sharing, honesty, kindness, confidentiality, consistency, integrity, responsibility, responsiveness, cooperation, openness and trustworthiness. Many of these values align with McMaster and serve the social, cultural and economic needs of our
community in our society. These parallel ideals remind me of our two Two Row Wampum treaty. Its symbolic agreement
foundational to this country and agreement that teaches
us how to live in a good way, in friendship and in peace. (speaking in Mohawk) Thank you, Mr. Amos Key
Jr. for his recitation of the Ohén:ton Karihwatéhkwen, the words spoken before all else. For it grounds us in
our kinship relationship to the natural world and to each other. It is the ultimate land acknowledgement. As the words aim to bring
our minds together in unity, so to reflect on mutual respect, conservation, love, generosity, and the responsibility to understand that what is done to one
part of the web of life affects us all. And as an artist, my life’s
work has been about sharing the beauty and the power inherit in indigenous narratives and knowledge, highlighting indigenous continuants, truth, intergenerational resilience, ways of being in the world,
collaboration, and creativity. In many instances, Western-based knowledge is playing catch-up to our
ancient understandings, particular to well-being and health, the environment and equitable diplomacy. As Chancellor, I aim to
position the sharing of truth at the forefront. For example, setting Canada’s truth and reconciliation calls
to action into actions. Last year, my production, The Mush Hole about Canada’s
first residential school, The Mohawk Institute, was
presented at McMaster University as a part of the Socrates Project. Initiatives like this are
critical opportunities to promote understanding
with an embodied impact. Central to McMaster’s
vision is creativity, it’s a concept I fully support and I have built an entire career around. Being creative is having the courage to step and play in the unknown. With the tools and the
skills you have learned here, I challenge you to be and cultivate creativity in everything you do. From a young age, I was taught
about our responsibility during our time spent here on Earth. That everyone has at least one gift, a high purpose to fulfill. It is our responsibility
to discover what that is, and once discovered, it’s our responsibility
to selflessly share it for the betterment of
the entire community. Graduands, you are the
present and future leaders and innovators. What you choose to do with your time has the potential for
incredible positive impact locally, nationally, and internationally. Graduands, I would like
to acknowledge also the people in this room and beyond who have contributed to your
success and achievement. Take a moment to reflect on all the people who made it possible for you at this very juncture in your life. Hold them in your
thoughts and in your body and say, “I’m grateful.” On behalf of McMaster University, thank you to the family members, friends, colleagues, instructors and mentors. Breathe in and relish in
the pride and admiration that is circling around us. I would like to acknowledge
my family and friends, I appreciate your unwavering
support and belief in me, you inspire me to continue. I acknowledge the long line
of my Kahnyen’kehaka ancestors who made it possible for me to be here, who made decisions for our
family and community survival. I acknowledge my family who
attended residential school, and to those who continue
to advocate for our nation. (speaking in Mohawk) To my mother, (speaking in Mohawk) Leigh Smith who endured many late night
phone calls from undergrad me over stressing about exams. I acknowledge my father
(speaking in Mohawk) Steve Smith who is my avid supporter and an artistic genius
and epic storyteller. I’m grateful for my daughter
Semiah Kaha:wi Smith who you heard singing alongside the (speaking in Mohawk), the very beautiful Haudenosaunee singers, Jennifer Kreisberg, and Benay Elijah. I was so thrilled and relieved when Semiah chose McMaster as her university. She’s in third year Health Science and she was born at the
McMaster Children’s Hospital. So McMaster runs in the family. Through her as mother and Chancellor, I have an inside track on student life, the challenges, the questioning of personal and professional direction, and the excitement of building friendships that will last a lifetime. And I so wish Echo360
was around in the ’90s, it would’ve made my nine a.m. biomechanics class that much easier. Since my first campus tour, I fell in awe with this university. The mix of academic tradition,
trailblazing research and dynamic learning style, the vibrancy of the
students, it was palpable, invisible on the grounds
then as it is today. Our experiences at
McMaster shape who we are and we will carry them with
us, and we will carry today as one of the great moments of our life. I challenge you to be curious seekers, a passion for learning and unlearning is one of the most powerful tools we have as individuals to transform, to deconstruct, to
better position ourselves to contribute to our communities and to open our minds to new perspectives. Because life is about
the journey, isn’t it? And I hope like me, you make the journey and circle back to McMaster. And as you make your next move, I ask that you consider
your decisions wisely, taking into account the impacts
on your future ancestors, how will you make this a brighter world for the next seven generations to come? I would like to share a quote by environmental scientist David Orr, I feel it’s relevant and
you might have heard it. “There’s a myth that
the purpose of education “is to give one the means for
upward mobility and success. “The plain fact is that the planet “doesn’t need more successful people, “but it does desperately
need more peacemakers, “healers, restorers, storytellers,
and lovers of every kind. “It needs people who live
well in their places, “it needs people of moral courage, “willing to join the fight “to make the world habitable and humane. “And these qualities have little to do “with success as we have defined it.” Once again, on behalf
of McMaster University, I extend sincere congratulations and best wishes to the class of 2019. Graduands, you are now valued members of the alumni family, welcome. I am humbled to be a part
of McMaster University in such a significant way and support the vision
of one of the world’s most respected and renown universities. I’m eager to begin my work as the 19th Chancellor
of McMaster University. (speaking in Mohawk) Thank you. (people applauding) – Santee, thank you for agreeing
to be our 19th Chancellor. It has been a true honor to be a part of a slightly modified
ceremony this morning, and to see you here in a slightly modified but absolutely stunning Chancellor’s gown. Your remarks I think
spoke to our students, your Haudenosaunee values will guide you. Having a student at McMaster provide you with a wealth of information about us and I look forward to working with you over the next few years,
thank you very much. (people applauding) – Dr. David Farrar, Acting
President and Vice-Chancellor, will now come forward
to present the graduands to our new Chancellor for
admission to their degrees. – Will the graduands please stand. Madam Chancellor, on behalf
of McMaster University Senate, I present to you these
candidates and those in absentia, in order that you may confer the appropriate degrees upon them, and I bear witness that they
are worthy and suitable. – Graduands, by my authority and that of the McMaster
University Senate, I have the great pleasure to
admit to those before me today and those in absentia, to their individual degrees
at McMaster University, all of the rights and privileges pertaining to those degrees. My sincere congratulations to you all. (people applauding) Please be seated. – Please be seated. Graduands, I now ask each
of you to join me on stage so that the Chancellor
and I may welcome you to the McMaster community of scholars. (soft piano music) – Graduands and guests, so that each graduate’s name may be heard, it would be appreciated
if during the presentation of the graduates, you would
hold your collective applause to the end of each degree
category, thank you. Madam Chancellor, may I present to you the following graduates of the
degree Doctor of Philosophy. Sepede Abrahini. Mohammad Kayed. Morteza Mashayekhi. Fariba Nosrati. Constance Imbault. Kyle Ruiter. Md Mahbubur Rahman. Margaret Boyce. Emma McKenna. Roshaya Temma Rodness. Kascindra Ida Sadie Shewan. Alison Ross. Chelsea Barranger. Bradley Shubert. Nowrin Tabassum. Kelsey Leonard. (people cheering) John Van Maaren. Alice Debas. Allyson Ion. Casey Scheibling. (people applauding) Madam Chancellor, may I present to you the following graduates of the degree of Master of
Business Administration. Akil Jabari Annamunthodo. Adejisola Boluwaduro Hannah Atiba. Hassaan Basit. Kimberly Anne Blair. Jacques Bouthillette. Todd Brown. Mohammed Chahdi. Ryan Chong. Richard George Clifford. Elaine De Marzo. Raymond James De la Paz. Heather Dunn. Sarah Ferri. Steven Frits. Gunther Ha. Wemi Jayeoba. Dale Robert Kalina. (people cheering) Jamie Henry Leacock. Seyed Hooman Loghman. Lilia Martinez. Mark Alexander Milligan. William Alan Noble. Gregory Goran Pavlica. Alexandra Pecar. Kathleen Peters. Fan Pfeifer. Mangala Rao-D’Sa. Rupinder Singh. Jamie Deon Shalen Sodhi. Angelika Specic. Valentin Vaduva. Kenton Charles Vermeer. Caterina Vlahos. Markiyan Vytvytskyy. Rob Chen-Pang Yang. (people applauding) Madam Chancellor, may I present to you the following graduates of the degree Master of Health Management. Grace Akah. Meagen Maria Elizabeth Boisvenue. Hannah Oi Hay Chan. Deliana Dale. Sarah Elizabeth Givens. Rosemary Hayhoe. Ronald Annushton Perinpanayagam. Gillian Rachel Storry. Erin Elizabeth Thrasher. Tawnie Urbanski. Rebecca Sharmila Willis. (people applauding) Sorry, yeah. – [Dr. Horn] Madam Chancellor,
may I present to you the following graduates of
the degree Master of Arts. Andrew David Kirkconnell. Shahtaj Saleem. Tala Al-Ramahi. Emmanuel Appiah. Liam John Floyd. Nicholas Lazzarato. Timon Andre Moolman. Johanna Ness. Jill Alanna Niessen. (people cheering) Victoria Leigh Throckmorton. Sai Sumithra Voora. Shega Berisha. Emma Sommer Croll-Baehre. Marta Maxwell Croll-Baehre. Kristine Ingrid Germann. Arun Jacob. Kaitlin Hanna Rothberger. Ishaan Selby. Kuan-Yun Wang. Levko O. Iwanusiw. Anabella Farah Lamarche. Sean Justin Leslie. Brandon Paul Lucey. Alannah Maryse McBride. Harryharan Parameswaran. Samantha Squires. Bowen Yan. Sania Khan. Raquel Ann Arcenio. Kylie-Anne Grube. Frank Antony Keber. Shannon Marion Murray. Ella Ratz. (people cheering) Hannah Elizabeth Barrie. Susan Patricia Cape. Fiona Marie Theodorakidis Gordon. Katelyn Angela Dawn Knott. Elizabeth Schofield. Latifa Abdin. Shelby Rheanne Auburn. Alexandra Christine Cotter. Landon Jamie Fama. Emily O’Kell. Emily Thompson-Becker. Sarah Barbash. (people cheering) Emma Elizabeth Conway. Michelle Delena Doherty. Sophie Elisabeth Marie Geffros. Courtney Jean Harnett. Erika Clara Malana. Beth Louise Aiken. – [Man] Yeah! – [Dr. Horn] Jeremy Coleman. Alison Emily Dobslaw. Geneva J. Gillis. Tyler Robyn Harris. Tina Kocic. Hang La. Joshua Matthew McLellan. Carrie Lynn McMullin. (people cheering) Graeme Moore. Triveni Srikaran.
– Yeah baby. – [Dr. Horn] Fatih Asik. (people cheering) Lily Eskin. Victoria Lynn Galea. (people cheering) M. Priti Gujadhur.
– [Audience Member] That’s my sister! (people laughing) – [Dr. Horn] Elaha Musakheel. Mackenzie Porter. Joy Magdalena Schnittker. Esharit Esha Youkhana. Lina Assi. (people cheering) Anne-Marie Laurel Bresee. Mel Milad Napeloni. Leanne Maye Woodward. Lautaro Nicolas Grilli. Dania Homsi. Sally Khater. Anwar Mohammed. Rebecca Morikawa. Iason-Nikolaos Rodopoulos. Robyn Cheung. Alaina Dostanko. Suzanne Kennedy. Maddie Stotts McLaren. Lisa Yvonne Seiler. Ruhina Shaikh. Eleni Audrey Maria Simpson. Jillian Sunderland. Tiffani Ashlie Williams. (people applauding) Madam Chancellor, may I present to you the following graduates of the degree Master of
Communications Management. Ann Elizabeth Allison. (people cheering) Nisha Borshettar. Rodrigo Garcia Rojas Villegas. Eileen Marlowe. Lesley Agnes Patel. Nii Sackey Sackeyfio. Danielle Van Duzer. Brady Jefferson Wood. (people applauding) – [Dr. Gillett] Madam
Chancellor, may I present to you the following graduates of
the degree Master of Science. Didi Muhammad. Muhammad Ahmed. Tanisha Dave. Daniel Anthony Di Marco. Melodie Hambaz. Prathiba Harsha. Zainab Khan. Eva Luu. Opeyena Okelanu. Sidra Shoaib. Ashnit Singh. (people applauding) Madam Chancellor, may I present to you the following graduates of the
degree Master of Social Work. Azalea Clara Azinda. Lee Marie Cecckin. Tracy M. Gibbs. Erica Kathleen McKenzie. Jason Palmer. Courtney Rogic. Gregory Tedesco. Glenda Guendolyn van der Leeuw. (people applauding) – [Dr. Swett] Madam Chancellor,
may I present to you the following graduates of the degree Bachelor of Arts Honors. Marvin Adrian Andrade. Robin Michelle Bakmar. Acacia Jeanette Blake. Elizabeth Bloomfield. Kyle Boddy. Claire Broddy-Stubbs. Wei Cao. Xianglin Chen. Cassiana Giardigi. Eisha Faisal. Karin Elfriede Filbert. (people laughing) Allison Brasil Goncalves. Haley Samantha Greene. I think this one. Danielle Gullace. I don’t know. Marissa Claire Hay. Kastler Jean-Louis. Amandeep Khehra. Trisha Marie Lagumbay. (people cheering) Laura Amy Lenjosek. Alexis Ann MacDonald. Suvastika Mahendran. Cynthia Denise McQueen. (people cheering) Andrea Meunier. Larisa Katherine Cecilia Musytschuk. Sahand Norouzi-Farsangi. Ugo Michael Okafor-Osadebe. Yitong Pan. Morgan Potter. Khalil Elliot Prescod. (people cheering) Jill Marie Rogers. (people cheering) Jessica Satlouski. Noor Safar Allawardi. Dwight Matthew Satumba. Nicole Shea. Adam Stansfield. Emily Stewart. (people cheering) Nathaniel Andrew Triantafillou. Ollowapamenmo Samuel Tunji Ahjay. Mitchell Thomas Wendover. Zoey Zofko. (people applauding) – [Dr. Corner] Madam
Chancellor, may I present to you the following graduates of the degree of Bachelor
of Social Work Honors. Rachel Shaule. (people applauding) – [Dr. Hassanein] Madam
Chancellor, may I present to you the following graduates of the degree of Bachelor
of Fine Arts Honors. Rabi Abid. Rajan Ahir. Adrian Brodie.
– Yeah, Adrian! – [Dr. Hassanein] Ming Chen. Ming Chen. Adam Colavecchio. Nicholas Dattolico. Julian David Divito. (people cheering) Anuraj Kaur Gill. Zain Hassan. (people cheering) Eric William Hill. Alejandra Maria Huezo Yanes. Joshua Hummel. Michael Istiphan. Suhong Byong. Lingyun Li. Otto Chi-Shun Pang. Peter Papadopulous. (people cheering) Sergio Esteban Perez. Aranpreet Singh. Ryan Matthew Skinner. Veronica Soto. (people cheering) Stephen James Whitten. Hang Xu. Qing Ning Zhou. (people applauding) Madam Chancellor, may I present to you the following graduates of the degree Bachelor of Commerce. Ryan Chan. (people applauding) – [Dr. Wilson] Madam
Chancellor, may I present to you the following graduate of the degree Bachelor of Arts and Science Honors. Arielle Madeleine Spilak. (people applauding) – [Dr. Corner] Madam Chancellor, may I present to you
the following graduates of the degree Bachelor of Arts. Precious Adetunji. (people cheering) Darlynne Padolina Capua. Cheng Hei Chio. (people cheering) Ibrahim Chowdhury. Gabriele Daniele. Julian De Belen. Kakon Deb. Jordana Brianne Doucette. (people cheering) Xiangyu Feng. Austin Calder Freeman. Sarah Guild. Joshua Andrew Hennessy. JiaQi Jia. Zara Khan. ZhanJie Kuang. Breanna Lauretani. (people cheering) Patricia Lino. (people cheering) Megan Manser. Giovanni Martino. Darlene Merkhai. Vishma Samona Mervyn. Adriana Miskic. Rita Mohamed. Diandra Unduka. (people cheering) Provinen Nhermadan. Anandan Paramanathan. Saif Salim Patel. Maria Pham. Morgan Richmond. Thulashiha Selvakumaran. Jasleen Sra. Bocheng Wang. Jiaming Wang. Shaila Williams. (people cheering) Dominika Wrobel. Yang Yang. Mara Alessia Zentil Cassey. (people applauding) – [Dr. Searls Giroux] Let’s
give one more round of applause to all the newest graduands
of the Class of 2019. (people applauding) I would now like to welcome
Dr. Jeremiah Hurley, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, to the podium to present our
honorary degree recipient. – [Jeremiah] Ms. Chancellor, by the authority of the
Senate of McMaster University, I have the honor to
present Eva Egron-Polak. (people applauding) Eva Egron-Polak was educated
in the Czech Republic, France and then Canada
where she earned her M.A. in international relations and affairs from Carleton University. With her post-graduate research focusing on European Union
policy in higher education, it was a logical progression
for Ms. Egron-Polak to establish a career as a global advocate for the role that higher
education institutions can play in developing a
more equitable, ethical, sustainable and internationalized society. Ms. Egron-Polak is best known for serving as Secretary General of the International
Association of Universities from 2002 to 2017. Created in 1950 under
the auspices of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the International
Association of Universities is a membership-based organization serving the global higher
education community. As the executive leader of
the International Association, Ms. Egron-Polak directed work that emphasized and promoted ethics, academic values and the responsibilities that post-secondary institutions have to the communities they serve. Her development of the
Internationalization Strategies Advisory Service helped many universities, including McMaster University, internationalize their policies, strategies and relevant programs. Prior to joining the International Association of Universities, Ms. Egron-Polak worked
at Universities Canada for nearly two decades, culminating in her holding the position of Vice-President International. Though she’s now completed her
tenure as Secretary General of the International
Association of Universities, she remains active in
global education matters serving of boards of advisory committees for a number of internationally
focused organizations including the Global Access to Post-Secondary Education initiative. She is a member of the
Executive Advisory Board of the International Higher Education Teaching & Learning Association and the advisory board for StudyPortals, a Netherlands-based organization that helps students explore
international study options. She’s been a member of
the governing council of the Magna Charta Observatory since 2012 and she has also influenced McMaster by encouraging and
supporting the University in a number of international initiatives, including becoming a signatory to the Magna Charta Universitatum in 2013. Madam Chancellor, I present
Ms. Eva Egron-Polak to you so that you may recognize her diverse and influential contributions to the international
community of higher education by conferring upon her the degree Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. (people applauding) – [Chancellor Smith] Eva
Egron-Polak, by the authority of the McMaster University Senate, I have the great pleasure
to confer upon you the degree Doctor of Laws honoris causa, at McMaster University, with
all the rights and privileges pertaining to that degree.
– Thank you. (people applauding) – [Chancellor Smith] I would now
like to invite Dr. Egron-Polak to deliver the Convocation Address. – [Eva] Madam Chancellor,
Acting-President Farrar, honored guests, graduands,
families and guests. I am both honored and incredibly proud to receive this honorary degree
from McMaster University. I’m particularly pleased that
it is McMaster University that honors me in this way. As I believe it is one
of the great examples of what a university should be. As the Chancellor has already spoken, it is underpinned and
promotes the kinds of values all universities around the world should stand for and promote as well as instill in the graduates. Today is a very special
occasion in each of our lives. Yours as graduands, as you
end a phase of your life and achieve a milestone
and embark on a new one. For me, a wonderful reward
on a very enjoyable journey professionally so far. So let me first congratulate
each and every one of you for this achievement and for the hard work that it took you to get here. Thank you very much for sharing
your convocation with me since neither of my two children have ever attended one
of their graduations. So I have not had this privilege before. I’m very grateful though, my daughter did come
here today and joins me. So to mark this very personal
occasion for all of us, I decided to focus on just one
notion, the notion of choice. And I wanted to make my
comments rather personal rather than academic. Most of us in this room
are highly advantaged by having had the possibility
to attend a university to earn a degree. And I’ve had the privilege to further work in higher education for close to 40 years. Since we are here today,
we obviously had the choice to acquire a higher education degree and I would like to remind
us that unfortunately such a choice is still too
often not available to many around the globe, but also here in Canada. I believe that it is our
collective responsibility to ensure that our societies
make such a choice possible for everyone who wishes to study. I’m a first generation Canadian. My parents, when they sought
political asylum in 1968, chose Canada. They felt it was the
place where they thought our future would be most secure, most free and most peaceful. They made the right
choice and I’m very proud and grateful to them for
having chosen Canada, even if some 18 years ago, I were moved to France to
took up my position in Paris. I’m also the first person in my family to get a university education. This, however, was not by choice
in the case of my parents. Their choices were taken away
first because they were Jewish and grew up in Czechoslovakia
during Second World War. They were lucky, they survived, but their choices were
restricted once again when the Iron Curtain came down. The Communist Regime
bestowed such a privilege as access to higher education
only to loyal party members. So university education was
not in my parents’ future nor in their children’s future. Yet, I was brought up in an atmosphere where seeking knowledge
and learning were valued. And not only because they were a means to improve one’s economic
standing, but for their own sake, for the horizons they opened up. In fact, my parents lack of this choice made them fervent believers
in the emancipatory power and essential value of
a university education. For me, and indeed for my children, there was never a choice, university was an inevitable
part of our future. In hindsight, it’s perhaps not surprising that I devoted most of
my professional life to working with universities. I see them as key actors
in promoting a better world and a better life for everyone. My father told me that a university is where I would learn to learn, a place where I would learn to think. Today, some people argue that universities have become obsolete as there are new and multiple ways to acquire information. But information is not the
same as acquiring knowledge. Acquiring skills is not the
same as acquiring an education. Universities are spaces where we learn to critically examine,
compare, contrast and analyze the massive amounts of
information available to us in order to turn it into knowledge and to create new knowledge. In the current post-truth
era and fake news era, where scientific knowledge
is often being questioned and expertise is sometimes disdained, I think acknowledging this special mission of the university is essential. My personal history, as well
as my work here in Canada and in France at the International
Association of Universities, have offered me the fantastic opportunity to get to work with universities
from around the globe and to continue learning
from the experiences of university leaders,
researchers and students in places as diverse as Algeria and Zimbabwe, Iran, and Peru, Malaysia,
Lithuania, and many others. What have I learned? Let me just share three
very quick lessons. First, to narrow the gaps
that continue, unfortunately, to grow between and
more so within nations. Education is key. More people must be
given the choice to study and the value and
benefits of inclusiveness and diversity in the classroom
and in the laboratory needs to be celebrated and embraced fully by decision-makers as
well as universities. I think McMaster has shown how much it celebrates
that diversity today. Second, our world and our local societies are interconnected as never before. And international collaboration
among universities and their internationalization which aims to increase understanding, mutual learning and respect
among different cultures is today as essential as ever before. Whether you as graduates, whether your lives take you abroad or you stay here in Canada, being sensitive to diverse perspectives and learning from them is enriching and absolutely invaluable. Third and last lesson that I have learned and I’d like to share with you is that today around the world, universities are increasingly
shifting their narrative from pointing out how
they are as institutions central to economic competitiveness, to a new narrative, one that demonstrates their social responsibility and the impact that their work has, especially in terms of sustainability. And in my view, this
means that universities are making very important and
new choices of priorities. And you as students and young people are and will continue to be in the driver’s seat in this push. This graduation ceremony
marks the end of one phase of your learning at McMaster University. Of course you may be back
here for another degree or you may attend another university. No matter what your next step in life is, let me congratulate each of you for reaching this goal and for
choosing McMaster University, one of the best in the world. Not only because its high rankings but because it is a caring university, committed to improving lives
of people here in Hamilton and around the globe. You face a rather turbulent
and stressful future, but I’m certain that you
will continue your life transformed by the
experience you have had here and that you are well prepared
to make the choices needed to contribute to McMaster’s goal, namely to build a brighter world. I wish you much success in your personal and professional lives
and let me thank you again for letting me share your
graduation ceremony with you. (people applauding) (speaking in Mohawk) – [Chancellor Smith] Thank
you for your inspiring words and your experience that you shared with us
today, Dr. Egron-Polak. Congratulations and I’d
like to agree with you that McMaster supports the
endeavor of life-long learning and we can take that with us
as we go through our lives. (speaking in Mohawk) (people applauding) – [Dr. Searls Giroux] Again,
congratulations Dr. Egron-Polak. May I now call upon Dr. Pamela Swett, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, who will present The Governor
General’s Gold Academic Medal. – [Dr. Swett] The Governor
General’s Academic Medal is one of the most prestigious awards a student in Canada can receive. Established in 1873, this honor recognizes exceptional academic
achievement at the high-school, collegiate, undergraduate
and graduate levels. Each year, McMaster awards just two Governor General’s Gold Medal to the students at the
university who has achieved the highest academic standing
at the graduate level. Earning this accolade not only
places this year’s recipients among the top students to
graduate from McMaster, it places them among the top
students in all of Canada. On behalf of Her Excellency the Right Honorable Julie Payette, it gives me great pride to present the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal to Dr. Shane Neilson. Shane graduated with a PhD
in English this past Spring. Madam Chancellor, I ask that
you and all those present, join with me to express
recognition of his achievement. (people applauding) (people applauding) – [Dr. Searls Giroux]
Congratulations, Shane. May I now introduce Dr. Jean Wilson, Director of the Arts and Science Program, who will now present the Distinguished Alumni
Award for the Arts. – [Jean] The recipient of
the 2019 McMaster University Distinguished Alumni
Award is Bruce Miyashita. (people applauding) One of the first graduates of McMaster’s Arts and
Science program in 1984 and later a graduate of the Ivy School of
Business with an NBA in 1988, Bruce Miyashita began his business career as an analyst with IBM Canada joining the group writing technical and user manuals for software. He was a consultant
with McKinsey & Company and then the Director
of Strategic Initiatives for Bombardier. He was the Vice President of
Six Sigma with Maple Leaf Foods where he led the company’s performance improvement initiatives
for more than a decade. Mr. Miyashita has also
served in an executive role with BMO Financial Group where he built the organization’s Process
Centre of Excellence. Mr. Miyashita currently divides his time between Miyashita Advisory,
a consulting practice that deploys his expertise
in process excellence and running the Tom &
Nancy Miyashita Foundation. Mr. Miyashita started
the foundation in 2015 to honor his late parents
and serve as a vehicle for philanthropy and pro-bono work designed to build practical life and employment skills for young adults. Mr. Miyashita is an
engaged community leader and philanthropist whose
impact at his alma mater has been significant. He created the Tom & Nancy Miyashita Arts & Science Program Enrichment Fund, as well as the New World
of Work Forum at McMaster where his involvement
includes mentoring members of the forum’s student
project management team. He has also been instrumental in connecting McMaster
Arts and Science students to the unique culture and experience of Fogo Island, Newfoundland
where he is an honorary member of the Fogo Island Arts Advisory Board. Mr. Miyashita serves on
the Board of Directors for Academic Without Borders,
a not-for-profit organization that assists developing
countries’ universities in training their own
experts and conducting their own research to
enhance national development. In 2017, Mr. Miyashita was inducted into the Princess Margaret
Cancer Center Hall of Fame for his fundraising efforts. McMaster is proud to
recognize Mr. Bruce Miyashita of the class of 1984 with the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award. (people applauding) – [Bruce] Chancellor Smith,
Acting-President Farrar, McMaster faculty, fellow
alumni, honored guests, and especially the members of the McMaster Class of
2019, good morning to you all. I am a proud to say that I’m a graduate of the class of 1984,
among the first graduates from the then-new Arts
and Science program. I’m sure that for many of you, 1984 sounds like a very long time ago. For example, that was the year the Apple Macintosh was launched with its massive nine-inch
black and white screen and incredible 128 kilobytes of memory, and a price of $2,500, or just over $6,000 in today’s dollars. On the other hand, many
things have not changed. For example, last week I
saw many of the same posters being sold in the lobby of the Student Centre
beside its importance. There was also the same
great energy one gets wherever students gather. I would suggest that
some of the other things the class of 1984 and 2019
have in common are these. A sense of accomplishment. Relief perhaps, that one’s calendar is no longer jammed with
classes, assignments and exams. Anticipation of what lies ahead. A sense that you are now at a
major milestone in your life. You’ve heard a bit about my career and the path that my McMaster
education helped pave for me. Each of you will find your
own unique path forward whether that path is
clear to you today or not. I will confess my own path was
unclear on my graduation day but it seems to have worked
out all right in the end. If I can share one piece of advice, it would be to recognize
the value of mentorship. I think the value of seeking mentorship from others is obvious,
but what you need to know is that it is incredibly
rewarding to mentor others. So, when you reach out to
others in the Mac community, I think you’ll find that
people are eager to help you. Today, you’ve become a member
of the very diverse community that is the McMaster Alumni Association. This ready-made network is one that I encourage you to get to know and become an active participant in. On behalf of the more than
200,000 who have come before you, I welcome you to the Mac alumni family. In your first few years after graduation, the association can do a lot for you. Its MAC 10 program
provides great resources and assistance, social activities, online and in-person networking, and professional
development opportunities. If you haven’t already used
their online mentoring program check it out and tap into the wisdom of hundreds of fellow Mac grads. After I graduated from
Mac, I had the good fortune to have many more great experiences. But I would say that the
strongest affiliation I have is for my undergraduate days here at Mac. This is a great day for all of you. I remember the feeling. Congratulations, job well done and welcome to the McMaster Alumni
Association, thank you. (people applauding) – [Dr. Searls Giroux]
Congratulations, Bruce. Thank you for those inspired words and your ongoing generous
support of our students. May I now invite Acting
President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. David Farrar to deliver his Address. – [David] Again, congratulations to McMaster’s graduating class. I know how hard you’ve worked to get here, there will be more hard work to come but today is a chance to
pause and to celebrate the amazing things you’ve
already accomplished. I want to say a few
words about small steps and giant leaps because
today is about both. Today each of you walked across this stage and received your degree. It literally required you
to take a few small steps, and at that time you are
also making a giant leap from students to alumni,
that changes everything. Why small steps and giant leaps? It’s because I was alive before
people walked on the moon, and if you want to consider a
day that changed everything, it was July the 20th, 1969. You probably know the story, Neil Armstrong climbed
out of the lunar lander, he walked down the stairs and
spoke one of what is today a famous quote, “That’s
one small step for men, “one giant leap for mankind.” You might also know that
Armstrong left out a word. That was supposed to be,
one small step for a man, which would’ve made a lot more sense. I only mention it because if you tripped or stumbled a little bit as
you walked across the stage or we didn’t quite shake hands properly, don’t worry, you’re in very good company. Every generation has its goals and aspirations that seem impossible until the moment they’re achieved. For my generation, it was a moon shot. I shared in that dream as
it became closer to reality and the day Armstrong
set foot on another world is etched in my memory. Today, 50 years later,
it still inspires me. So what about your giant leap? Your world is very different from the one when men walked on the moon. In some ways, there’s been progress. For instance, if the moon
mission were happening today, there’s a small chance that the crew would include more than just white men. But also, there are other differences. 50 years ago, we had the Cold War, today you have climate change, the rapid advance of
artificial intelligence and a slide into
authoritarianism in the world. Universities have changed as well, but I believe that our
vision for higher education continues to prepare our current graduates for the world they face. You have more choices, more freedom, and more power than any other generation. As was just said, the
technology in your cellphone packs more computing power
than NASA used in total to put men on the moon. It connects you to unlimited
information and entertainment. You also have the opportunity to become the best version of who you are to discover and embrace who you really are to live, love, learn and experience the
world on your own terms. So, what will you do with that freedom, with that choice, with that power? There are practical answers to that, you can start a business,
patent a new drug, help the weak, lead the strong, give back to your community,
rise through the ranks, lead, innovate, entertain. These might seem like small steps but they’re real and they’re
valuable things to do. I want to encourage you
though to reserve some energy for giant leaps, for
pursuing the impossible, for taking your moon shot. Don’t be daunted by the pace
of change that accelerates. We see it everywhere,
technology, social media, entertainment, that relentless news cycle that we’re experienced to,
politics, the job market climate and research and education. I know how much the world
has changed in my lifetime, and you will see so much more. But you’re prepared for
it, you have the knowledge and you have the skills. Your moon shot may be
global warming or inequity or social justice, medicine
or health or technology, but I suspect it will be in some area that we could have never
imagined at this point. So how do you prepare for that? Look back over your time at McMaster and I hope you’ll see the answer. You prepare by being adaptive, diligent, collaborative, multi-disciplinary,
ambitious and determined by challenging assumptions and by focusing on what needs to be done. One last point to build on
something the Chancellor said. When you receive your
diploma from McMaster, you’ll note there’s only
one name on it, yours. But I suspect many people
helped you get here today, your family, friends, teachers and mentors who have supported,
inspired and cheered you on. I hope you’ll take some time very soon to find those people and to thank them. The end of your studies and
the granting of your degree may feel like you’re
crossing the finish line, but you’re actually just beginning. Today is a small step, your
giant leap is yet to come and I wish you the very
best in your journey. (people applauding) – [Chancellor Smith]
Inspiring words from everyone. Congratulations to the class of 2019! I am a proud alumni
and I’m looking forward to seeing where you go from
here as well as McMaster alumni. Eva, Bruce, Shane, congratulations
on your achievements, you inspire us. As Bruce eloquently
said, you are now a part of a wonderful community and
so take time to reconnect and circle back to McMaster often. Dr. Farrar, you’ve given
us a lot to think about. And it reminds me of creativity, creativity is about creating
something from nothing, and that’s what we do and
sometimes starting is hard because you have a number
of possibilities to follow, but starting is good (laughs). Graduates, take those wise
words wherever you go. My very best wishes to you all,
congratulations, thank you. (people applauding) – [Dr. Searls Giroux] I will
ask that you please remain standing at your seats until
the Academic Procession and the graduates have left the Hall. Please join now in singing
our National Anthem. After the singing of the Anthem, the Convocation stands adjourned. (“O Canada”) ♪ O Canada ♪ ♪ Our home and native land ♪ ♪ True patriot love in all of us command ♪ ♪ With glowing hearts we see thee rise ♪ ♪ The True North, strong and free ♪ ♪ From far and wide ♪ ♪ O Canada ♪ ♪ We stand on guard for thee ♪ ♪ God keep our land ♪ ♪ Glorious and free ♪ ♪ O Canada we stand on guard for thee ♪ ♪ O Canada we stand on guard for thee ♪ (people applauding) (bright piano music)

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