Grads encouraged to overcome uncertainty

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Grads encouraged to overcome uncertainty

Published on October 16 2010

On Saturday, Oct. 16, more than 780 Brock students received their degrees at Fall Convocation.

During the day’s two ceremonies, Chancellor Ned Goodman spoke to students and delivered a message about using one’s education to overcome uncertainty in the world.

“The world in which you are graduating into is fraught with uncertainty,” said Goodman. “The speed, breadth and depth of change in our globalized and politically complicated world is greater than anything this generation has previously experienced.

“Believe it or not, this gives you an advantage — to be there with a fresh face and the capability to not be stuck with old and outmoded ideas and processes.

“You should accept the fact that you or I or almost anybody cannot properly predict the future,” he said. “The truth is, no matter your intellect or knowledge, the future has a way of humbling us all.”

Rudi Kroeker, Chair of the Board of Trustees spoke to the graduating class about the impact that Brock has had on their lives.

“Brock has changed the way you think forever,” he said. “You can only go forward and recall our motto, Surgite. Press on.”

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, Kroeker presented Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock Medals to undergraduate student Audra Sewell Maloney and graduate student Colin Perrier at the afternoon ceremony.

These medals recognize students who exemplify the qualities that best embody the spirit of Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock — leadership, courage, innovation, inspiration and community involvement.

In his addresses to students, President Jack Lightstone spoke about value of a university education and the role of universities in society.

“Innovation and creativity, critical thinking, critical observation and critical literacy — these are the stock and the trade of universities,” said Lightstone. “Universities or university graduates do not have a monopoly on any of these traits by any means, but there is no other institution in our society that is so completely and uniformly committed to the cultivation of these intellectual traits.

“Yes a degree in English literature or philosophy or sociology or mathematics is not a direct vector to a specific job or occupation,” he added. “But the traits of mind and intellect, of consciousness and awareness, that are the bread and butter of university education, will be of inestimable value to yourselves, your family, your community and your country.”

At Saturday’s 10 a.m. ceremony, pioneering math software developer Anthony C. Hearn was presented with an honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, for his outstanding scholarly contributions to the field of computer algebra.

In his convocation address, Hearn spoke about his career, and the incredible growth of the Internet and evolution of computer technology that has taken place over the last 60 years.

He encouraged students to use their intellect to overcome and keep up with the speed of innovation in today’s society.

“The message I want to leave you with is that this revolution is not yet over,” said Hearn. “Computer elements, processors, memory and so on, continue to grow in power, and shrink in size and price to the point that they are can be thought of as throw-away items.

“Just when we think that we have reached a limit, a new technology appears. The pace of change makes it almost impossible to predict what the next breakthrough will be.”

At the morning ceremony, Brent Faught, associate professor of epidemiology, Community Health Sciences, was presented with the Brock University Award for Distinguished Teaching. This was the second major teaching award he has received from Brock this year, having received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching at Spring Convocation.

Faught has a long-standing record of teaching excellence and curriculum innovation in courses that range from large first-year courses in health policy to fourth-year courses in epidemiology.

During his 18 years at Brock, he has explored new models of seminar delivery and evaluation, adopted new teaching technologies, and mentored many undergraduate and graduate students.

The morning also saw two Governor General’s Silver Medals, which are awarded to the students who achieve the highest academic standing at the undergraduate level, presented to Bailey Gresham and Norman Johnston.

At the 2 p.m. ceremony, Dorothy Griffiths, associate dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, and professor, Child and Youth Studies, was presented with the Brock University Award for Distinguished Research and Creative Activity. She also delivered the afternoon’s Convocation address to students.

A letter of support from a colleague notes that Griffiths “has devoted her life to developing and researching evidence-based therapeutic interventions and support systems for persons with intellectual disabilities who experience serious mental health challenges in Ontario, across Canada and internationally.”

Her accomplishments in teaching, research, awards and publications have been developed during a career that includes 17 years at Brock.