Chancellor addresses graduates
As Chancellor of the University of Manitoba, it is my greatest pleasure to congratulate the remarkable Class of 2021. Mamhtákosiwin, gigii-minojigem, yawashte, kischi-iteyhta-mashchohin, félicitations! You now join our alumni community of over one hundred and forty-two thousand around the world – a community who shares the best of the University of Manitoba spirit wherever they go.
One of the greatest joys of being chancellor is meeting with students and feeling inspired by your drive and vision, yet, unfortunately, meeting with you in person was not possible this year. That does not mean, however, that you did not inspire me. You did. You do.
It is a time of huge societal disruption and personal learning, and you have persevered and adapted and are graduating. You achieved something great in one of history’s most tumultuous times. This is truly a cause for celebration!
One day this spring, I found myself inexplicably sobbing. (I came to see this as pandemic emotions I needed to release.) And I’ve found myself thinking of you, especially when the weight of the pandemic got to me.
I’ve thought of how much more energy you had to muster to complete your final year. I’ve also thought about the extraordinary efforts of our faculty and staff to make this year possible (thank you!). And I’ve been very conscious of everyone’s well-being.
You have reached deep within yourselves to get to this day. You have also likely reached out to others, both to lend support and to receive it. We’ve all become more aware of how important it is to look out for each other.
Who’s supported you this past year?
Getting here required the support of many, and you have also likely offered support to others. Never forget how good it felt to help, and to be helped.
Let us be forgiving and compassionate to ourselves and to everyone we meet. This pandemic will leave many legacies, may one of them be more kindness.
Be proud of yourselves. You are extraordinary students, forged during extraordinary times.
Never ever forget this.