University of Alberta Convocation Address June 4, 2014 by Dr. Bruce William Hogle
Eminent Chancellor, Madame President, Representatives on the Board of Governors, Graduands, Friends & Family.
Thank you Dr. Lesley Cormack for that lovely introduction. May I offer my sincerest thanks and gratitude for this prestigious Honourary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta – an educational institution held in the highest esteem throughout this global village.
I think Christian Larson was truly thinking of you when he said: “Have Pride in How Far You Have Come, and Have Faith in How Far You Can Go. !”
I’m delighted Lt. Gov. Donald Ethell is with us as I enjoy working with him on behalf of the Lifesaving Society in honouring courageous Albertans. I also enjoyed working with Chancellor Ralph Young in the past.
Also Dr. Herb Belcourt, subject of Hogle editorials years ago, that eliminated discriminatory Alberta legislation . . . which prevented him and other Albertans from adopting children because he and they were deemed too old at 45.
May I humbly add that any success I may have had as a journalist and community activist . . can be attributable to the incredible people I’ve worked with over the years – some here today.
I think you can appreciate with the zany hours of journalism and numerous missed family functions, I have to thank my beloved wife Gail with whom I celebrate 60 years of marriage tomorrow . . . as well as equally understanding sons and their wives Bill and Ky, Randy and Sharon, Steve and Cathy plus grandchildren and their mates Kirsten and Dustin, Zac and Ava, Bruce Jr. and Sinuon.
They’ve all inspired me such as middle son Randy attending schools for the blind in Brantford and Vancouver and then taking law in 1979 at the U of A when Frank Jones was Dean.
We had 17 tremendous volunteer readers tape all his books, along with his two brothers – with Bob Green of the faculty taping the exams – and Dean Jones providing a room within the faculty for Randy and all his equipment.
I think Randy’s achievements inspired brother Bill to also take law at the U of A as a mature married student, with Bill and Ky taking care of mentally challenged adults at the same time. Younger brother Steve and his wife Cathy were equally inspired to take a one year leave from CFRN TV to both teach in Japan while also home schooling their two small children.
Others in your lives have provided similar inspiration. They’ve assisted you in determining what works for you and what doesn’t. What are you good at and not so good at. Where do your passions lie and what leaves you cold ? Only you alone can provide those answers . . . which is also true of the major issues you’ll face.
Such as Canadians in 1976 deciding to end Capital Punishment, with the Canadian military following in 1998. Capital punishment is still prevalent though in 34 countries including Lebanon, China, Japan and the U.S.
You graduands come from all walks of life be it Alberta, Canada or elsewhere. Stats Canada says by 2031, almost half of our population over the age of 15 will be internationally born or have at least one international-born parent. Canada is the richer for that and while we are a bilingual nation, we are fast becoming a multicultural one. That certainly emphasizes the words of former Quebec-born Governor General Georges Vanier who said: “I Am Not French, I Am Not English, I Am Canadian !”
Words by another Governor General — Vincent Massey — are equally appropriate. Governor General Massey said this:
Four Things in a Land Shall Dwell
If it Succeed and Prosper
Well One is Manhood True and Good
One is Noble Womanhood
One is Child Life Pure and Bright
One an Altar Kept Alight. I’m not talking about Lights on your Altars fueled by Alberta oil or natural gas. I’m talking about Lights on your individual Altars being fed with fuels that only you can ignite, namely: Compassion, Honesty, Truth, Commitment, Empathy, Understanding, Courage, Dependability and Humanitarianism.
These are the same Lights on the Altars that our leaders of yesteryear used to build this magnificent University of Alberta; this outstanding Province of Alberta; and this phenomenal Dominion of Canada. Those are also the same Lights on the Altar for which 100,000 young Canadian men and women – many the same ages as you – gave their lives in time of war and peace keeping missions . . . with another 200,000 wounded.
I would compare these Lights on your Altar to the Lights of Knowledge which you have acquired over the last number of years from superb dedicated professors — thus enabling you to be well prepared to become our Leaders of Tomorrow.
Leaders or prospective leaders raise the standards by which they judge themselves — and by which they are willing to be judged. Leaders also make a firm commitment to those communities in which they live and work . . . be it any province within this glorious land . . . or any other nation which attracts you and what you have to offer.
Thus surround yourself with people who see no obstacle or challenge that can’t be met. Involve yourselves with those who have positive outlooks on life. Dismiss those who solely deal with doom and gloom.
And remember: To The World You May Be Just One Person – But to That One Person You May Be The World !
In closing, I want to commend the University of Alberta for starting this convocation with the singing of O Canada. Because that enables me to leave you 420 forthcoming degree recipients with a challenge regarding Canada’s 150th Birthday in 2017 – just three years from now.
The challenge, in my case, will be writing Governor General David Johnston, the Prime Minister, every Lieutenant Governor, every Premier and our three Territorial Commissioners. I seek their support and endorsement to have students collectively sing our national anthem once a week in every Canadian elementary school– be they Public, Catholic, Private, Religious or Multicultural. In your case – should you accept the challenge – I envisage your support and endorsement wherever you live in Canada . That being to contact your school boards and elementary schools – and advocate the identical objective — namely the collective singing of O Canada once a week in all Canadian elementary schools – be they Public, Catholic, Private, Religious or Multicultural. I’m not asking you to do this for Bruce Hogle.
I’m asking you to do it for those previously mentioned who paid the supreme sacrifice on our behalf — plus those Canadians totally incapable of doing this.
Thus you and you alone must make that decision ! In closing, a reiteration of my warmest and sincerest thanks to the University of Alberta for receiving this prestigious Honourary Doctor of Laws Degree.
One last word to our 420 forthcoming degree recipients: As you depart the University of Alberta distinguished halls of learning with your degrees. . . please remember these ten simple words of Gandhi:
“Be The Change You Wish to See in The World.”
Thank You, Good Luck and God Bless ! TAIT’S LINKS