By Chris Lackner
Goodbye classes, hello life of debt
Pop question hot shot – what do you get when you combine hundreds of
clownish, rainbow coloured robes, adoring families, a chamber orchestra,
funny-looking hats and thousands of well-deserving students?
The answer: Western's 276th convocation.
Last Tuesday, at 10:00 a.m., Western kicked off its first of eight graduation
ceremonies which run daily between Tuesday and Friday this week, in Alumni
More than 5,200 graduates will receive a degree throughout the week.
Western's chancellor, Eleanor Clitheroe, said she hoped Western taught
its graduates to think objectively and have respect for new ideas.
"You've worked hard to a achieve a graduation which represents a milestone
in your lives," she said at Tuesday morning's ceremony. "You are forever
a cherished memory of this great university."
Douglas Cardinal, an internationally celebrated Canadian architect,
whose building designs include the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa,
received an honorary Doctor of Laws at the ceremony and delivered an address
to the assembled graduates.
"We human beings are really magical beings because we possess the gift
called creativity," he told the graduates. "We can recreate ourselves in
any shape we wish. Creativity is creating something from nothing. I believe
[defined] knowledge is too limited to solve the problems of today.
"We are terrified of looking back and failing," he said. "It is fear
itself which keeps us small. We only die once. It is inevitable. Live to
the ultimate and use the precious time you have. This life is a gift."
Western president, and newly crowned Knight of France, Paul Davenport
said convocation is a celebration of the determination, hard-work and intelligence
required of each student who attains a university degree.
"This is not a celebration of one class of graduates, but a celebration
of higher learning and the benefit education brings to the city, province
and country," he explained. "Those of you who cross the stage will join
a special group of alumni across the world."
Kevin Jeffrey, a graduate of the Master's program in Library and Information
Sciences, said he was relieved his six-year academic journey had come to
"Information is what it's all about and I look forward to getting a
degree in the field," he said.
Jordanna Huber, graduating with her Master of Arts said, "this degree
means I have to get a job in the real world."
Other honorary graduates over the week include Mark Tewksbury, a former
Canadian Olympic swimmer, as well as Jeffrey Simpson, an award winning
political columnist with The Globe and Mail.