Convocation address from autumn 2016, by Professor Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies.
"As Dean of York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, I welcome you to this Fall 2016 Convocation ceremony.
Let me congratulate you, your parents, your family, friends, grandparents and any one else who is here for you to witness this extraordinary moment in your journey. Without your support there would be no Faculty and no university. Let us take another moment for another round of applause for all of your contributions.
Graduates of 2016: As you know, ‘the times they are a-changing’. From literature to medicine, excellence is being increasingly defined by the impact we make on this world, by the role we play in affecting our common humanity.
During your time at this Faculty, you have acquired the knowledge and skill for that kind of leadership. You have learnt to question boldly what is and to imagine creatively what should be.
This process of imagining alternatives is unfolding continuously around us. Its champions are millions of ordinary men and women in every part of the world, and especially the youth.
Take the story of a university student in Montreal, Salima Visram. While in high school, Salima designed a solar back pack for children in the village in Kenya where she was born and raised. The Backpack enables children to leverage the power of the sun on their long walks to and from school every day. It has a solar panel on it, whose storage battery connects to an LED lamp, and generates 7-8 hours of light for children who have no access to electricity. Salima has delivered the first batch of bags to her village.
Marie El Bably, came to this Faculty as single mother – and while she graduated Summa Cum Laude and raised her daughter, she also established a fund for single parents going to schools. With the see
Graduates: Now more than ever, we need you to reach beyond yourselves and create a new world. We need you to build and foster institutions and communities that unleash the power of the cooperative, democratic, inclusive dimension of the human spirit.
Many of you are new Canadians. And many of you have been born in Canada. But together you are the new Canada. And you are this university’s proud contribution to that new Canada which boldly faces its history and aspires to move forward.
At York University, we are grateful that you chose to spend part of your journey with us. My hope is that as our youngest alumni – joining the 110,000 who came before you - you will also make us a part of your future. You have overcome many barriers to get where you are today. Please come back to share your stories of success and resilience, inspire our students and inspire us all.