By Jim Hynes
The sun would not shine last Friday, and a cold rain fell steadily on Macdonald Campus. But the smiles on the faces of the new graduates from the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences still could have warmed a small planet.
The first of McGill’s Spring Convocation ceremonies once again, this year’s event at Macdonald Campus was held in the high and dry confines of the Centennial Centre Ballroom due to yet more wet spring weather.
On the 100th anniversary of the first Convocation ceremony at Macdonald College, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum drew on the history of McGill, which is celebrating its own 190th birthday this year, to inspire the first graduates of 2011.
“James McGill was only the first great McGillian to envision a better world,” she said. Today McGill’s graduates are Nobel laureates and Rhodes Scholars, astronauts and cabinet ministers, poets and prime ministers, justices of the Supreme Court, foreign leaders, Oscar and Grammy Award winners and Olympic medallists, people just like you – no pressure.
“These individuals have made their mark by embodying the distinctive spirit of McGill and our abiding commitment to excellence, to diversity and to community service. And these will be our future, your future, as these have shaped our past.”
Honorary Doctorate recipient (Doctor of Science, honoris causa) microbiologist Dr. Julian Davies, a world leader in antibiotics and a Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia, delivered the Convocation Address.
“I’d like to ask you as graduates this year to use science to change the world,” Davies said. “There are things that have to be done. And I think that it’s people like you that should be able to do this. You have the right training; you have the right attitude…you’re good looking. You should be able to do this kind of thing, and lead the world in science.”
Prof. Marilyn Scott from the McGill Institute of Parasitology was presented with the Macdonald Campus Award for Teaching Excellence. Man Wing (Lorraine) Wong, BSc Nutritional Sciences (Global Nutrition), delivered the Valedictory Address.