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Convocation 2015: ‘You’re joining a global network’

1,750 new Concordia fall graduates look towards the future
October 28, 2015
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By J. Latimer
Source: University Communications Services

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On October 27, at three convocation ceremonies, Concordia’s president Alan Shepard joined valedictorians and honorands in congratulating the fall class of 2015.

“Concordia is now part of your DNA and, like you, it continues to evolve,” said Shepard.

“You’re joining a global network of approximately 200,000 Concordia alumni. Your connection to Concordia and the special bonds you created with teachers and peers will be an important part of your success … Stay in touch with us and each other.”

More than 1,750 students from the university’s four Faculties and School of Graduate Studies walked across the stage at Théâtre Maisonneuve in Place des Arts, which was decorated with a cheerful harvest theme.

'It's up to you to impact change'

In his opening remarks at the Faculty of Arts and Science ceremony, Concordia's chancellor Jonathan Wener focused on measures of success.

“Exams are over now and you will have to rate your own performance,” said Wener. “Success isn’t about financial wealth, but how we help our fellow citizens and the degree to which we positively affect people in our lives.”

New honorand Nancy Neamtan explained to the graduates why they should be proud they can now say they're Concordia alumni.

"Today, I stand before you as a firm believer in the essential role that universities can and must play in the development of the city. Concordia has been exemplary in that sense. Our relationship has blossomed into an elaborate and rich partnership between the social economy movement and Concordia as an institution. We have come a long way in building that strategic relationship between the university and communities that allows us to work together to hasten the emergence of a new, more democratic, inclusive and sustainable development model for our planet."

Stephanie Brunet, valedictorian for the Faculty of Arts and Science, spoke about how studying science taught her essential life lessons.

“Jump in and be prepared to make mistakes,” said Brunet, who received a PhD in Biology. “Unsuccessful experiments are just as important as successful ones. Using the tools you get at university is almost more important than choosing a career path.”

At the John Molson School of Business (JMSB) ceremony, honorand France Chrétien Desmarais stressed the value of community engagement.

“Some of the choices you will make in the future will not necessarily be easy and could bring you places you didn't expect. You need a compass, a reference,” she said. “So stay closely connected to society. Be daring, creative and be caring. As Gandhi said, ‘Be the change you want to see.’”

Chrétien Desmarais is chair of the board of the Society for the Celebration of Montreal's 375th Anniversary, founding chair of the Canadian Olympic Foundation and vice-chair and a founding member of the international non-profit organization ONE DROP.

“It’s up to you to impact change,” she noted. “Your role is about committing to enact change, to create a vibrant future ... It’s yours to build.”

'There is no one right way to go about getting started'

In his address, JMSB valedictorian John Vongas explored the question “Who do you want to be?”

“Use your words thoughtfully when dealing with other people,” said Vongas, who received his PhD in Business Administration.

“Staying humble could be the hardest thing to do when things don’t go your way and when you experience injustice. But if you choose to take the high road, you might get a better view and probably inspire a few along the way. Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. are shining examples.”

At a joint ceremony for the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science and the Faculty of Fine Arts, honorand Barbara Steinman shared insights from her life as a working artist.

“In the near future, many of us may need help from computer engineering, to work with immersive virtual reality technology in art and science and in our daily online lives,” said the Governor General award-winning Steinman, who is also former director of La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse.

“All of you, from these different faculties, will be designing the future — how it looks and how it works — and therefore you will all influence culture ... So, graduates, maybe it doesn’t matter exactly what you do next.

“Don’t panic if you feel uncertain or if you don’t have a dream job lined up. There is no one right way to go about getting started and sometimes the path leads away from the plan.”


Relive the ceremonies by watching Concordia's 2015 fall convocation webcasts.

 



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