Yesterday, Humber College hosted our first-ever virtual Graduation Celebration. When we had to postpone June convocation ceremonies, we knew that we would need to find a new way to mark the accomplishments of our graduates. I hope you were able to join us for the watch party and if not, I encourage you to visit the site and browse through the videos and more than 6,000 shout outs that were submitted for our graduates from faculty, staff, family and friends.
Thank you for helping us make the occasion special. Convocation season is always one of my favourite times of year and because of you, the virtual Graduation Celebration was one of the highlights of this year.
On that note, I wanted to share the remarks I had for the graduating students of Spring 2020 in the graduation video we featured as part of the event.
While so much has changed, what hasn’t changed is how proud we are of our graduates and how much we look forward to what they will do next.
Usually at this time of year, I would be greeting graduates and families in the Toronto Congress Centre, sharing smiles, congratulatory handshakes and selfies.
We would be hurrying to put on our gowns and prepare for a formal ceremony to mark your achievements. Today is different. Today is still your day, but I will not put on my gown until you are able to join me in yours. I look forward to that day.
Today is different. Just like the Humber College graduating class of June 2020 is unlike any other. Thousands before you have crossed the convocation stage, but you have risen to a unique set of challenges, and you have succeeded.
None of us knew that when we left campus in March, that would be the last time we were all on campus together. I am certain that brings a whirlwind of emotions and a feeling that you didn’t get to complete your journey in the way you wanted. I know that it feels different for me.
During convocation last year, I told the story of one of Humber’s alumni who saw a need and used the skills and knowledge he possessed to make a change in the world. Today is different.
I am not going to tell you an inspirational story about a graduate who came before you. Instead, I am going to reflect on why you, as a member of the class of 2020, are inspiring.
You have demonstrated persistence in the face of adversity.
In a time of uncertainty and anxiety, you have supported each other, your families and your friends.
Your ability to adapt, your critical thinking and your resilience have served you well. They will continue to serve our communities and our industries well, as you embark on your next adventure.
We are living in extraordinary times. A global pandemic has brought the world closer together and also exposed the divisions and inequity that exist amongst us.
As a Humber graduate, you are also a global citizen, prepared to tackle issues of equity, diversity and inclusion head on – something that is needed now more than ever.
Innovative thinking and approaches to the opportunities that lay ahead will position you well to be the leaders of tomorrow. The leaders I know you can be.
You have accomplished something incredible. While I wish that we could be together in person to mark the occasion, I am happy to celebrate with you today and congratulate you on your achievements.
The world is different today, but you are ready, and you are needed.
We are Humber, and we are proud.