It is with delight and pride that I welcome you to our Fall 2017 Simon Fraser University Convocation.
The word Convocation means “calling together”. This is the hour and place for your peers, mentors, supporters, family, friends and admirers to gather so that we can recognize and celebrate your accomplishments.
Simon Fraser’s Convocation continues a tradition of learning and achievement that began with the earliest institutions of higher education many centuries ago. Our various caps, gowns, hoods, certificates and diplomas, together with the procession of scholars, pipe and drum, mace and claymore, all serve to remind us that we are part of an unbroken human history of commitment to enquiry and scholarship.
The first Convocation of Simon Fraser University took place on September 9, 1965, when the first 2,500 students crossed the threshold. On that date, over 50 years ago, those first students made the same commitment to discovery, diversity and dialogue that you now embody.
Look around Convocation Mall and you can see that the youthful, creative and yes, even radical energy that characterized SFU in 1965 continues to flourish. In the intervening years we have grown not just in size and numbers but also in collective spirit and purpose. Our three campuses welcome more than 30,000 students each year, and today’s graduates join an alumni family that numbers over 150,000, and spans the globe. While our work will take us all over the globe, in this era of connectedness, we are undivided by geography or undertaking. We, the people of SFU, are linked by our common roots, and share a foundation that will be an ongoing source of support and strength for all of us.
Today is the moment to celebrate and honour the effort and accomplishments of our students and those who have taught and nourished them. But this is not a leave-taking. The ceremony of Convocation is not an end point. It is not your destination. Instead, Convocation is a way station on your journey of lifelong learning and your path of passionate engagement.
Venture bravely. Share your light with those who travel in the dark. Be curious. Be creative. Be a force for good.
And be sure your journey brings you back at some point to this place, these people, your own SFU. I for one can’t wait to welcome you again, as continuing students, as teachers, as mentors, as parents, as supporters, as friends.
Anne Giardini, O.C., Q.C.
The skirling of the pipes, the procession across the pond, the conferring of degrees: Convocation at Simon Fraser University is a glorious ritual and a suitable recognition of an academic job well done.
I join with your family and friends – and other generous souls who supported you on your university journey – in applauding this important accomplishment.
Simon Fraser University was founded over 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university. Although located high atop Burnaby Mountain, SFU has always had a strong commitment to contribute to society, to embrace new initiatives, and to engage deeply with communities near and far.
This October, we will celebrate reaching and surpassing a new milestone – 150,000 graduates. These graduates join a diverse alumni community filled with inspiring individuals making an impact in 141 countries - truly engaging the world.
I encourage you to continue the SFU tradition to blaze your own trail and to make a positive impact on society. This university is built on the premise that the greatest innovations in history have come from people bold enough to explore new frontiers and to take novel approaches.
W.B. Yeats observed: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” I see that fire burning brightly in each of your eyes today – a flame that will sustain you in the years to come.
Hearty congratulations to our graduates, and thank you all for being part of this happy occasion.
Andrew Petter, Q.C.
President and Vice-Chancellor
Alumni Association Message
As President of SFU’s Alumni Association, I congratulate you on achieving your academic goal; this is an accomplishment that has taken significant time, energy, and support to achieve.
I also welcome you as lifetime members of our dynamic and diverse worldwide network that is now more than 150,000 strong in over 140 countries. The community you are joining is vast, spans all industries and sectors, and includes alumni who graduated more than 50 years ago.
SFU and our Alumni Association are your lifelong partners. As your journey continues, we will always be there to help you expand your personal and professional network through our events and initiatives, and we will support your success by offering a selection of alumni benefits that include career services, library services, and preferred rates on programs that address your personal and professional interests and development.
We will also be reaching out to ask you to remain engaged by helping us advance and enhance the experience for future graduates. There are many helpful and rewarding capacities in which you can give back including serving as a mentor, guest speaker, donor, co-op advocate, or research partner.
Please keep your email and mailing addresses up to date with SFU so we can help you make and maintain connections, inform you of upcoming events, and let you know about opportunities to remain involved and engaged with our great University.
Like any strong community, we take pride in your accomplishments – so please keep us informed of your life journey, and watch our social media channels for information on the accomplishments of fellow grads.
Alumni are SFU’s greatest ambassadors. Thank you in advance for helping to showcase the value of your SFU education and the impact that it will have as you engage the world.
Congratulations, fellow alumni!
You can learn more about your association at www.sfu.ca/alumni
Robert Weston, BA ‘78
President, SFU Alumni Association