2011 Spring Convocation at Brock

News around Campus

2011 Spring Convocation at Brock

Published on June 15 2011

Saturday, June 11 – Faculty of Business

At Saturday’s Convocation ceremony — the last of the week — for the Faculty of Business, an honorary degree was presented to Mr. Michael McCain, President and CEO, Maple Leaf Foods Inc.

In his Convocation address, McCain spoke to the graduates about “qualities of leadership that the Maple Leaf organization embodies.”

“Over the years since I sat where each of you sit today,” said McCain. “I’ve devoted considerable time and reflection to learning in my own context what constitutes great leadership.”

“Certainly, there are many points of view on that subject and there’s no one right answer. In fact, the last time I did an Amazon.com search on leadership it yielded more than 66,000 titles.”

“For certain, no one has the right answer for all leaders and all situations,” he added. “But the beliefs we hold, I believe have particular relevance to you as new graduates entering the business world.”

“To sum it up, I have come to believe over these years that leadership is, first and foremost, an attitude. It is not an attribute of authority or of title or of rank. It is an attitude of behaviors that can be lived and acted upon every day of your life no matter what you do.”

Professor Mark Julien, Department of Organizational Behaviour, Human Resources, Entrepreneurship and Ethics, Faculty of Business, was presented with the 2011 Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. Business Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock medals were presented to undergraduate student Darryl Moyers and graduate student David Hurst. The Faculty’s Dean’s Medal was presented to Matthew Greenfield.


Friday, June 10 – Faculty of Social Sciences

At Friday’s two Convocation ceremonies, more than 850 students from the Faculty of Social Sciences were presented with their degrees from the University.

In his morning address, President Jack Lightstone spoke to the graduating class about the importance of a university degree and the role of the university in contemporary society.

“Universities are complex institutions, they are multi-layered institutions,” said Lightstone. “They do more than one thing and they’re capable of doing more than one thing and all at once. We can walk and chew gum at the same time.”

“The University comprises professional programs and degrees like nursing or education or accounting. Obviously these are programs, which are more directly oriented to providing a credential for a specific career,” he said. “But we also have programs and must have programs and should have programs like history or sociology.”

“Obviously these programs are not directly oriented to providing one with a credential that allows one to walk into a specific career slot,” he said. “But nonetheless, it would be inappropriate to say that it does not prepare one for the world of work. Just as it is not inappropriate to say that an accounting degree does more than simply prepare one for a job as an accountant, but also develops one’s intellect in important ways.”

David S. Howes, Immediate Past Chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, addressed Convocation and presented Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock medals to undergraduate student Marie Claire Bouchal and graduate student Hilda Osae Affum.

An honorary degree was also presented to General Alfred John Gardyne Drummond de Chastelain, retired Canadian solder, diplomat and until recently, Chairman of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (Northern Ireland). General de Chastelain then delivered the Convocation address to the audience gathered in the Ian D. Beddis gymnasium.

In speaking about his involvement in the Northern Ireland peace process, de Chastelain spoke about the three factors that he felt were crucial to the success of the process – confidence, open-mindedness and respect.

“These are factors that I would commend to you seated here,” he said, “who are about to start your lives having graduated from this university.”

On the issue of confidence, he noted, “For those who took part in the process in Northern Ireland and particularly the political leaders, they were addressing an issue that many said was intractable, and could not be solved and they took great risk to do so.”

“They had confidence that in spite of the very difficult nature of the process, it could be resolved.”

With respect to being open-minded, he noted that in speaking with a former paramilitary leader about the issue of decommissioning of arms, he was told:

“It is not the decommissioning of arms that is important, it is the decommissioning of mindsets. Because you can do away with all of the arms in the world, but if you do not change the mindsets of those who took them up in the first place, they will do so again.”

“And he was right,” said de Chastelain.

And lastly on the topic of respect, he mentioned, based on what he saw during the peace process, that “it is easy when you have a particular point of view not to respect the views of others that are antithetical to yours.”

“That applies to what you will face very shortly too,” he said. “We need to show respect.”

At the morning ceremony Professor Tanya Martini, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, was presented with the 2011 Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.

At Friday’s afternoon ceremony, another group of graduates from the Faculty of Social Sciences descended upon the University to receive their degrees.

At that ceremony, Professor Stan Sadava from the Department of Psychology delivered the Convocation address.

A Social Sciences’ Dean’s Medal was also awarded to Aidan Miller.


Thursday, June 9 – Faculty of Applied Health Sciences

At Thursday’s ceremony, more than 450 applied health sciences students packed the Ian D. Beddis Gymnasium to receive their degrees from Brock.

Chancellor Ned Goodman kicked off the ceremony with a series of questions he referred to as “the core of being.”

He asked the graduates: “What are you? What is your vision? What are you values? What is the purpose of your life?”

“These are the questions that are at the centre of all our lives,” said Goodman. “And when we figure them out, we can get some focus and some content.”

Rudi Kroeker, chair of the Brock University Board of Trustees, addressed the graduating class and handed out the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences' Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock Medals to undergraduate student Jonathan Menchella and graduate student Ben Leber.

President Jack Lightstone addressed the graduating class and spoke about the intellectual advantages their Brock degrees have provided them.

“The workplace has become more university oriented in the sense that the workplace requires the type of intellectual traits and capacity that it has long been the job of the university to instill in its graduates.”

“And what are those traits?” Lightstone asked the graduates.

“They are the traits to analyze, to critique, to innovate intellectually and to be creative. These are the traits that you must nurture for the rest of your lives, long after you leave this hall. These are the traits that will stand you personally in good stead, and will stand our nation in good stead.”

An honorary degree was presented to Claude Bouchard, professor and John W. Barton Senior Endowed Chair in Genetics and Nutrition in the Human Genomics Laboratory at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. He also delivered the morning’s Convocation address.

“No one can deny that you are talented and capable of facing challenges successfully,” said Bouchard. “You have demonstrated clearly that you can set goals for yourself and devote time and energy everyday to ensure that these goals are met.”

“Now you owe it to yourself and to those who are important in your life to set new goals as you embark on another exciting journey,” he added. “You are entering a phase of your life in which self-reliance and personal autonomy will be at their peak. Setting goals is liberating. It facilitates the development of a plan it can be translated into priorities and actions.”

In closing Bouchard noted, “I encourage you to be and remain a caring altruistic and kind citizen.”

“Very importantly, the concept of social justice should resonate with you,” he said. “I urge you to become a role model in this regard — to emphasize altruism, kindness towards others and to embrace a tolerant public discourse. The importance of tolerance can never be overestimated.”

Professor Tim O’Connell from the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies was recognized and presented with the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences’ Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Applied Health Sciences Dean’s Medals were presented to Paul Gerard Corkery and Catherine Johnson.


Wednesday June 8, 2011 – Faculty of Education

At today’s two Convocation ceremonies, students from the Faculty of Education at Brock received their degrees.

At Wednesday’s morning ceremony for graduates from the Faculty of Education’s Hamilton campus, President Jack Lightstone spoke about the effects of globalization on education and their impacts on how we teach, learn and work.

“One of the key factors, which I hope, a university education has provided for your future success is this capacity, this intellectual capacity to analyze, to critique, to be creative and to innovate,” said Lightsone. “This will become even more important for yourselves, your success, your future students’ success and for Canada’s success.”

“The next stage of globalization is going to be the globalization of innovation and creativity,” he added. “In the future we will all be competing on the basis of who is more creative and who is more innovative. And that is where a university education is absolutely an essential for the success of you, your future students, our nation."

“That is what I hope a Brock education has helped instill in you in growing your intellectual capacity.”

Rudi Kroeker, chair of the Brock University Board of Trustees, addressed the morning ceremony and handed out the Faculty of Education’s Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock Medals to undergraduate student Angela McGillion.

Professor Jennifer Rowsell, Canada Research Chair in Multiliteracies in the Faculty of Education, delivered the morning Convocation address.

In her speech, she spoke about 21st century learning and told the crowd of graduating educators that it is an “exciting time to be a teacher.”

“Children, adolescents, teenagers, swim in sea of online and offline texts. As part of their daily routines they view, they tap, they click and they slide screens,” said Rowsell. “They move through two- and three-dimensional worlds, they speak across networks of friends and family, and they are often insistently online.”

“This communication competence is both a blessing and a curse. The trouble is that as educators we still need to teach our students how to decode and encode printed books, and read poems, and study social studies textbooks,” she added. “We need to teach students how to write formal essays, and how to complete math equations. And teaching all of these things is no easy feat.”

“There’s no big mystery about twenty-first century teaching. They key thing is to accept that things have changed and that they will continue to change.”

At the morning ceremony, a Dean’s Medal was awarded to Nicole Macri.

At Wednesday’s afternoon ceremony for graduates from the Faculty’s St. Catharines campus, Chancellor Ned Goodman spoke to the graduating class about finding happiness in one’s life.

“You are in the process of writing your life story,” he said. “Put behind all your anger, frustration and go for the top choice. Choose happiness. Choose a life that increases happiness in the world.”

Goodman also posed a number of questions without right or wrong answers to the graduates. He asked them to consider what they are truly passionate about, what their friends know about them that their parents do not, and if their friends and family could give them one gift what would it be.

He urged graduates to think deeply about their answers to these questions in order to find ways to build their futures around them with passion and emotion.

At the afternoon ceremony, Professor Michael Manley-Casimir, Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education, Faculty of Education, was presented with the 2011 Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, and he also delivered the Convocation address.

The Faculty of Education Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock medal was also presented to graduate student Danielle Hourigan, and a Dean’s Medal was presented to Cara Crandlemire.


Tuesday, June 7 – Faculty of Humanities; Faculty of Mathematics and Science

This morning's Convocation ceremony — the first of the week — saw more than 530 graduates from the Faculties of Humanities, and Mathematics and Science walk across the stage in the Ian D. Beddis gymnasium to receive their degrees.

At the ceremony, graduates and guests were treated to inspiring words from the University’s Chancellor Ned Goodman on how to “search for values in a competitive world.”

"Personally, I have learned that it is optimism that creates happiness. And in my business I know that I have never met a rich pessimist,” said Goodman. “So for a long time and a long time ago, I became an optimist and remain so today.”

He also noted “personal charisma, optimism, self-love, which you share with everyone, leads to success, freedom and happiness.”

“Wasted potential is tragic, as would be the failure for you to achieve the goals of your life,” said Goodman. “With free will and free choice that we thankfully have, be yourself and opportunities will present themselves.”

President Jack Lightstone addressed the class of 2011 and spoke about the “relationships between a university education and the world of work.”

“The capacity to analyze, to innovate and to be creative is most closely tied to the development of intellectual capacity that is the hallmark and the objective of a university education across any programs of study whether it’s a professional program or not,” said Lightstone.

“So, as you go forward to take your place in your communities,” he added. “Nurture those traits, those elements of character, that drive your capacity to be creative.”

Rudi Kroeker, chair of Brock’s Board of Trustees, addressed Convocation and, along with David S. Howes, immediate past chair of the Board, handed out the Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock medals.

Recipients at today’s ceremony included, from the Faculty of Humanities Christine Rougoor (undergraduate) and Elizabeth Cherniak (graduate), and from the Faculty of Mathematics and Sciences Gordon Prodger (undergraduate) and Ivana Komljenovic (graduate).

Faculty Awards for Excellence in Teaching were presented to Professor Bozidar Mitrovic, Department of Physics, Faculty of Mathematics and Science, and Professor Neta Gordon, Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Humanities. Gordon also delivered the Convocation address.

“It is through education, thorough what you all have accomplished in your years here, that we come to understand our rights within and responsibility towards, not only a community of scholars, but the wider community of human beings,” said Gordon. “And that wider community is really, really complicated — we on this stage, and those surrounding you, are lucky that you are much more than simply graduates with employable skills.

“You are critical thinkers, you are citizens,” added Gordon. “You are crucial contributors to some of the most important conversations human beings can have about our relationship to the each other and our world — you are university graduates.”

Val Andrei Fajardo, an MSc student in Mathematics and Statistics, was presented with the Governor General’s Gold Medal, awarded to the student who achieves the highest academic standing at the graduate level. Fajardo’s graduate research was in extreme value theory and he received an NSERC Alexander Graham Bell CGS scholarship for his work in this area. He is currently enrolled at the University of Waterloo pursuing a doctorate degree in Statistics.

At the end of the ceremony, Humanities Dean’s Medals were presented to Christie Adams and Donna Pearce, and Mathematics and Science Dean’s Medals were handed out to Nicholas Borich and Vincenzo Coia. Dean’s Medals are awarded to students with the highest standing in either a first Honours or pass degree.

students at Convocation