Quick Links

Fall Convocation 2013

Suzanne Fortier 
Monday, November 25, 2013

Bienvenue aux finissants de 2013. C’est pour moi un immense bonheur de vous féliciter pour vos réalisations, votre persévérance et votre travail assidu. Welcome to the graduating class of 2013. It is my great honour to congratulate you on your achievements, on your perseverance and your hard work.

I am joined here today by your families and friends, our Chancellor, Chairman, Chancellor Emerita, Principal Emerita, Governors Emeriti, by our distinguished honourary degree recipients, and by special guests and esteemed colleagues. We are here, together, to express how proud we are of you.

At the same time, I would like to express my slight disappointment.

I have only been Principal for two months, and you are already leaving me!

We were just getting to know each other. I am not ready for you to go. But you are ready.

Alors que vous vous apprêtez à écrire les prochains chapitres de votre vie, j’espère que vous prendrez le temps de vous rappeler tout ce qui vous a permis d’arriver jusqu’ici aujourd’hui. Le travail assidu, bien sûr. Après tout, vous êtes du genre à vous inscrire de votre propre gré à une institution dont la devise est « Par le travail, toute chose augmente et croît ». Mais vous ne devez pas oublier tout le reste. D’abord, la joie d’apprendre que vous avez été acceptés à l’Université McGill. Cela peut vous sembler bien loin, mais cette première étape était importante. Remember the friends you have made. Remember all the people who have supported you in your studies. Family and friends, of course. Teachers, librarians, staff, some of whom we are honouring with awards today. All of them have been rooting for you to succeed. Your cheering section is even larger than everyone you can see, and hear, at Place des Arts this morning.

Today marks an important milestone. Savour it. Enjoy it. Celebrate. Then take a deep breath, because you are not finished.

I know, you are here, finally, relaxing for a moment, and I am telling you it is not over. It is going on and in fact, it will go on for the rest of your life!

And that is good news.

Today marks the beginning of something, not the end. You have a mind that is ready to learn, and there is much more learning to be done and to enjoy. Certains de ces apprentissages se feront dans un établissement universitaire, peut-être même ici, à McGill, mais la plupart d’entre eux se feront tout au long de votre existence, où que vous soyez.

Et j’espère que le bonheur d’apprendre vous accompagnera toute votre vie.

I also hope that you will be active participants in the world. As we baby boomers begin to vanish, your generation has an incredible opportunity, and an incredible challenge. The world needs people of action. It is easy to tweet from a distance, to comment and criticize. It is much harder to do. This is your time. This is your turn. Resist the temptation to watch from the sidelines. We have seen how engaged you have been as students, how you have initiated and led so many great projects. Please carry that drive forward.

I also hope that each of you will take a pen and paper and write out a detailed plan of precisely where you want your life to go over the next 50 years—then throw that map away.

It is good to have a plan. It is important to have a sense of direction. But it is just as good, just as important, to be open to possibilities. Nathalie Bondil, la directrice du Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, utilise un mot merveilleux : créactivité. Life is full of surprise and great opportunities. Be créactif in your life. Recognize when doors are opening, and have the courage to see what is on the other side.

Votre chemin vous mènera peut-être à l’autre bout du monde. Il pourrait aussi ne jamais quitter Montréal, mais être sillonné d’occasions merveilleuses qui sauront vous surprendre. Do not worry if you go off-script. The poet Robert Frost famously wrote about arriving at two roads in a forest. When it is time to choose between the well-worn road and the road that is less traveled, sometimes you may need to…go off-road entirely. Leave yourself open to créactivité and you may be amazed at what you discover.

À titre de diplômés de l’Université McGill, nous faisons maintenant partie de la même famille. Nous partageons une tradition plus vieille encore que le Canada. J’espère que vous considérez l’Université comme votre maison. Revenez-y le plus souvent possible, les portes vous seront grandes ouvertes. Please keep in touch. We will be thinking about you. You may not be able to hear us from where ever you are next, but your cheering section will be louder than ever.

Félicitations.