Convocation 2013: ‘You’ll always be Concordia graduates’
Clark Blaise, founder of Concordia’s creative writing program and recipient of an honorary doctorate at fall convocation, counselled the graduating class to “find and embrace” the energy that surrounds them.
“Energy comes first, but it’s the power to contain it that comes later, and must be learned,” he said at the Faculty of Arts and Science ceremony on November 21. “It’s what you’ve learned in your Concordia years. It’s what we’ve all been trying to teach.”
Honorand Vahid Turokh’s message at the joint ceremony for the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science and the Faculty of Fine Arts was equally straightforward: if you’re faced with a tough decision, just make a choice and “work it hard.”
“That is really what makes people get to their goals,” said the electrical engineer and Harvard University professor, who is the principal inventor of space-time codes. “The goals may change with that decision, but if they're equally good, you end up doing the right thing in the end.”
Valedictorian Francis McManus, who graduated with a PhD in chemistry, doesn’t regret the decision he made eight years ago to come to Montreal from Quebec City to pursue his studies. Even so, he recalled feeling anxious as he rode the shuttle bus out to Loyola for his first day of classes.
“Rather quickly, though, my feelings of angst were replaced,” he said. “Concordia became a haven to me, with people and challenges that I looked forward to every day. The faculty, the staff, and you, my fellow students, all contribute to the supportive atmosphere at this institution that brings out the best in us.”
During his address, President Alan Shepard thanked the graduates for choosing Concordia, and reminded them of their new identity.
“After this ceremony, you’ll always be a Concordia graduates,” he said. “We prepare a diverse group of students for a global world that loves our graduates’ can-do attitude — your brilliance, your entrepreneurial energy, your desire to make a difference in the world, and your ambition to make the world a better place.”
Words of wisdom from Concordia’s fall 2013 valedictorians
Faculty of Arts and Science
Indeed, it is important to be surrounded by people in an environment that will nurture us and foster our developments, so we can develop to our fullest potential. And Concordia excels in both of these aspects. This institution fosters collaborative work, with faculty and staff that are easily accessible and willing to help.
Watch Francis McManus’s speech.
PhD, Art History
Faculty of Fine Arts
Thank you to our beloveds, to our families, our friends, our professors, our staff members and our university, all of whom helped carry us here today. They wouldn't let us give up, and they wouldn't let us quit. "No, no!" these people said to us. "No, no! We have stuck with you through the desperation, the righteousness, the rants, and the glory of it all, and you are not giving up now.” And so we cry out to them, “Thank you.”
Watch Mark Clintberg’s speech.
PhD, Business Administation
John Molson School of Business
As a PhD student, I had the privilege to teach over 300 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. And during this time, I learned that each and every one of you came here for very unique reasons, and with a very, very unique perspective. And this led to a diversity of accomplishments. What struck me most is that you gave. You gave your time, your energy, and you did so in the classroom, in the school, and in the community.
Watch Gwyneth Edwards’s speech.