October 2017 Convocation Address

Address to Convocation in fall 2017, 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 October 2017 Convocation ceremony.

Let me congratulate you, your parents, your family, friends, grandparents and any one else who is here for you to witness this special moment in your journey. Let us take another moment for another round of applause. Let us make it louder this time.

Graduates of 2017:

You are joining today a community of 120,000 distinctive alumni of this Faculty who have made their mark in every conceivable profession. You will too. Before you even know it, you will be trailblazers, if you are not already.

Graduates: today our institutions are in great need of leaders like you. Wherever we look – in politics, education, health care, law, social services – institutions appear to be in crisis. They have seized to be driven by ideas, values and ethics, but are often hostage to individual interests and private machinations. In our highly commodified societies, such machinations and manoeuvres often seem to be rewarded more than hard work and integrity.

As you venture out into your professions, you will confront such situations. Do not let them defeat or demoralize you. Stand tall. Be bold. Fight indefatigably. Look up - never lose sight of the vast, open sky. The stakes are extremely high.

Graduates, now more than ever we need you to build and nurture institutions that unleash the power of the cooperative, democratic, inclusive dimension of the human spirit. Our institutions are the expression of our collective conscience. Do not let narrow interests and parochial agendas overpower what is so dear to us. Institutions, communities, nations are crying out for leadership that advances our collective humanity.

You are this university’s proud contribution to society. You have overcome many barriers to get where you are today. You will continue to do so as you carve out many more spectacular successes. Please come back to share your stories of success and resilience, inspire our students and inspire us all. 

Thank you."