Convocation Addresses

Oct 16, 2003, vol. 28, no. 4



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Luder Deecke
SFU has previously honoured me with a distinguished visiting professorship which extended research collaborations that continue to this day.

It was during that year spent at SFU that the use of new technology pioneered on this campus, the magnetoencephalograph, led to the discovery of the magnetic equivalent of the Bereitschaftspotential, a brain signal I had co-discovered earlier in my career. It is in part for our discovery here at SFU of the Bereitschaftsfield or readiness field of the brain that I am receiving your most appreciated recognition today. Thanks to the efforts of my long-time friend and collaborator at SFU, Hal Weinberg, and a new generation of magnetic brain scanners that was available when I came here to work at the brain behaviour laboratory.

With the aid of this new technology, we were able to find the magnetic signal which indicates that the brain has made a decision and is preparing to act.

There is one person, above all, who made this fruitful collaboration possible, Hal Weinberg. He is a biopsychologist from Canada, and I am a neurologist from Vienna. So what have these different people, with different backgrounds, to do with each other? The answer is: Hal and I have a common meeting place and that is the brain.

I like to think that today's award of this prestigious degree is more than just the recognition of one person. It is a tribute to the world of science that makes the collaborative pursuit of knowledge possible. The scientific community truly embraces the globe, fostering tolerance, trust, and personal understanding while it enhances our grasp of the natural world.

For full text see Luder Deecke.

Max Wyman
We have all heard the jokes about the usefulness of an arts degree in the real world, so I won't dismay you with feeble attempts at entertainment at your own expense.
Because we have reached a point in the development of society in which arts graduates like you, far from being the unemployable wallflowers of popular myth, are cornerstones of the new world order. And that's no joke.
You are venturing out into a world in which the technological revolution is offering perhaps unprecedented potential for human good and human advancement. But it is also a troubled world, a complex and unpredictable place.

We are far from finding solutions to the great social challenges. We are managing global health threats badly; we are unable to protect human rights; we have little control over the international flow of capital; and we are nowhere near curing the world's environmental ills.

In Canada we know the challenges and the thrilling opportunities of living in a plural, multi-cultural society. You are going to live a far more interconnected life than the generation that preceded you.

As a society, we are under intensifying pressure to come up with new ideas, new visions, new assertions of moral principle. And it's becoming more and more apparent that reason by itself is not delivering.

That is where you come in. That is why I call you the cornerstones of the new world order. Because you are going to be the makers and facilitators of our culture - and when I use the word culture, I mean human creative expression in all its marvellous variety.

The material world tempts us daily with its siren call to conform and consume. But there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in a materialist's philosophy.


Rosalie Tung
I have decided that it would be best to share with you some of the guiding principles that I have found useful in managing my career and balancing the demands of that vis-à-vis my personal life, namely as a mother, a wife, a daughter and a sister.

Dear graduands, as you embark on your professional careers, I know that many of you will face the same challenges that I and many others here do, namely to manage your work life, and at the same time, maintain some semblance of sanity in your personal life.

I have adopted what I call the 4-P principles in living my life.

The first P is Passion. You have to love what you do before you are willing to expend long hours and huge efforts on seeing that work to fruition. While I don't like to admit it, I am a workaholic - I work in the evenings, I work on the weekends, and I feel somewhat guilty when I go on vacation. However, I enjoy what I do so much so that work becomes play.

My second P is Prioritization. In light of the fact that all of us have to perform multiple roles in life, to bring order and sanity to our everyday living, I believe it is very important to prioritize.

By prioritization, I mean putting things into perspective in the broad schema of life.

My third P is Perseverance. Since setbacks are bound to happen in our lives, we cannot merely give up when things do not go our way. In my experience, an effective way of staying on course during times of adversities is to put the setback in the broad schema of life that I alluded to under prioritization before.

My final and perhaps most important P is Prayer. When I talk about prayer, it is not confined to formal prayers in the context of a specific religion. Some people may refer to it as meditation or simply time out to reflect on what is most important. In my own case, I begin and end my day with prayer regardless of how frantic my schedule is or how tired I am in the evening.


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