Virtual Convocation Address

June 11, 2020

Thank you Madam Chancellor … and welcome everyone … especially graduands who join us today.

As I acknowledged earlier, this celebration is not how you expected to mark this milestone in your lives.

But a virtual convocation takes nothing away for your real achievements.

COVID-19 has tested us all … and while it has not yet been beaten, you provide living proof of why we will not be beaten by it.

Nothing I could say today could be more inspiring than the example you have set.

The Class of 2020 is like no other.

You’ll forever be remembered for the determination you showed to complete your education in the midst of the worst global health crisis in living memory.

I know it wasn’t easy.

It took enormous grit.

But what you’ve accomplished gives us all hope for a better future.

That’s why you presence here today means so much.

Now more than ever, we need your resilience and resolve.

You graduate at a time of enormous uncertainty.

It can be a bit overwhelming.

But it’s also a time alive with possibility and the opportunity to make a meaningful and lasting difference to your province … your country … and your world.

I have no doubt that, whatever path you choose, whatever challenges you take on, you will rise to the occasion.

And you will do so, I hope, not only for own benefit, but for the benefit of others.

That’s the wonderful thing about gift of education.

In providing you the means to build a better future for yourself, it also provides you the means to build a better world.

And that is the greatest gift of all.

So thank you for working so hard, for keeping the faith and for making it to this day.

We owe you a huge debt of gratitude …

… as do your family and friends who supported you in your studies

 … and your instructors, mentors and fellow students who helped you along the way.

Congratulations to you all.

On a personal note, this is my last convocation as SFU President.

It’s been an enormous privilege to lead this great institution for the past decade…

…and an honor to share this moment over the years with thousands of SFU grads.

And while each Convocation Ceremony is inspiring and life-affirming … none will be as memorable as this one.

To the Class of 2020 … and to everyone in the SFU community.

I thank you … and I wish you every success in all your future endeavours.

Good luck … until we meet again.