I welcome you to our Fall 2019 Simon Fraser University Convocation with both joy in the occasion and pride in your accomplishments.
The word Convocation means “calling together”. This is the hour and this is the place for your peers, mentors, supporters, family, friends and admirers to gather together to 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 a remarkable human history of commitment to enquiry and scholarship.
The first Convocation of Simon Fraser University took place on September 9, 1965, when 2,500 charter students crossed the threshold of this institution and headed out to put their new skills into use. On that date, over 50 years ago, those students made the same commitment to continued discovery, learning, listening 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 160,000, and spans the world. While our work and further studies 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. We share a foundation that will be an ongoing source of support and strength for us all.
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.
Travel well. Shed light for those who travel in the dark. Be curious. Be creative. Be a force for good. Show the world that SFU has helped you to become your best self.
And be sure your journey sometimes brings you back to this place, these people, your own SFU. I for one can’t wait to welcome you again, as continuing students, as teachers, as colleagues, as mentors, as parents, as supporters and as friends.
Anne Giardini, O.C., O.B.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 fitting 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. From our original campus high atop Burnaby Mountain, to our transformative presence in downtown Vancouver and in Surrey City Centre, 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, our graduates join a diverse community of more than 160,000 SFU alumni living in more than 140 countries – and 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 within each of you 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, C.M., Q.C.
President and Vice-Chancellor
Alumni Association Message
As President of SFU’s Alumni Association, I congratulate you on receiving an academic credential from SFU! 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 160,000 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 are here to help you expand your personal and professional network through our events and initiatives, and to 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 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, co-op advocate, research partner, and donor.
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
Jasmine Cumberland, BBA (Hons) ‘09
President, SFU Alumni Association