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‘A symbolic passing of the flame’

2015 grad Marie Dubeau-Labbé reflects upon four years at Concordia ... and her mother’s honorary doctorate
June 15, 2015
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By Marie Dubeau-Labbé

"My mother has unparalleled passion, and an eagerness to follow her dreams," says Marie Dubeau-Labbé (right) with her parents, Angèle Dubeau and François Mario Labbé "My mother has unparalleled passion, and an eagerness to follow her dreams," says Marie Dubeau-Labbé (right) with her parents, Angèle Dubeau and François Mario Labbé.

It was only last Monday I was at my convocation, surrounded by my peers, all of us eagerly waiting for our names to be called so we could walk up to the stage and collect our graduation certificates.

And to be perfectly honest, at first I found the eclectic fusion of age-old traditions within a 21st century celebration to be quite unsettling. It began with the sound of bagpipes and a graduation robe that made me feel like I was a sorcerer at Hogwarts. Except it turned out the protocol and formalities of the ceremony were all very touching. Chancellor Jonathan Wener hadn’t even finished his impassioned speech and I was already tearing up.

I hadn’t really given it much thought until I was sitting there waiting to collect my diploma, but the past four years went by really fast. Almost too fast. When I first started working towards my undergraduate degree in Communication Studies, there was simply no way I could have anticipated the magnitude of what I was embarking upon. Everything I learned at Concordia, be that practical or theoretical knowledge, will be with me throughout my professional career. I am very grateful to the outstanding faculty for this.

Above and beyond all the book learning, however, I think the friendships and memories of the many good times we shared is what I’ll cherish the most when I look back upon my Concordia experience. Ultimately, that’s what university is about: prospering through challenges with dynamic people who share your interests. Through the all-nighters for group projects and the stress of exams, you end up establishing unparalleled bonds with your peers, and it’s these connections that make you confident about your future.

Violinist Angèle Dubeau was one of six individuals to receive an honorary doctorate from Concordia during spring convocation Violinist Angèle Dubeau was one of six individuals to receive an honorary doctorate from Concordia during spring convocation.

A happy coincidence

For years, whenever I imagined my graduation, I always envisioned my proud mother sitting in the audience cheering me on as I crossed the stage. What I hadn’t imagined was that, only two days later, I would get the chance to actually cheer for her. You see, my mother is violinist Angèle Dubeau, and last Wednesday she received an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts for her achievements in the musical realm. It’s funny the way things pan out sometimes. The same year she receives a diploma for her past achievements I receive my own as testimony of my potential for future achievements. “A symbolic passing of the flame” is how she viewed it.

My mother has always had an unswerving faith in the saving power of art. She taught me that works of art allow our senses to bloom and in turn help colour our lives. Absorbing culture keeps us open-minded and balances us as individuals. It connects us with others and contributes to harmony between humans.  

Over the course of my mother’s career, she has achieved what very few classical musicians have done. I think her secret drive all those years has been her unparalleled passion and an eagerness to follow her dreams. Being a new graduate preparing to enter the whirlwind of professional life, my hope for the future is that I’ll strive for success in the same way she has done. As Confucius once said: “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”

Read about the turning points in the lives of Concordia’s six new honorary doctorate recipients.

 



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