By Neale McDevitt
In a changing world that seems to undulate beneath us at will, traditions help give us an anchor and maintain our equilibrium. It’s why we find ourselves standing in the drizzle to watch the academic parade of Convocation again, even though we’ve seen it a dozen times or more. Or why we get a thrill as the bagpipes echo once again across the campus.
“Rituals count and marking moments is important,” said Principal Heather Munroe-Blum. “Convocation is not only a great moment in the life a young person, but also in the life of the University.”
And, following the turmoil of the last 10 months – which has included global crises of food, conflict and the economy – people can be excused if they seem drawn even more than normal to the pageantry of Spring Convocation 2009. This is, after all, the University celebrating the thing it does best: produce the leaders
most likely to help fix what ails our planet and in them instill the promise and hope for a better future.
The kids will be all right.
By week’s end, some 4,300 students will have taken the traditional walk across the platform to receive the ceremonial tap on the head or handshake from Prof. Munroe-Blum or Chancellor Richard
Pound, marking the completion of their degree. It is Pound’s last Convocation as Chancellor, as his second five-year term is over at the end of June.
But the time-honoured rituals that link us to McGill’s rich history also mark the beginning of something fresh, and when tradition’s anchors are weighed at Convocation’s end, 4,300 bold new journeys