University of Windsor
Spring Convocation 2019
Dr. Mary Jo Haddad
May 27, 2019
Chancellor Emeritus Lumley, interim president Kneale, former Chancellor Jackman, president emeritus Wildeman, past president Paul, Board of Governors Chair Willis, past and present members of the Board, University Senate, senior administration — deans and heads, faculty and staff — distinguished members of the community, alumni, families and friends and to you the graduating class of 2019….
Life is full of new beginnings and today marks the new beginning for each of you, our celebrated graduates, as you embark on your careers or your next level of education. This is an important day to reflect on the launch of a new chapter in your life. I wish you joy and much success as you embrace your personal journey. May it be filled with passion and enlightenment.
It’s also a new beginning for the University. I hope you will indulge me as I reflect on being appointed the first woman Chancellor of the University of Windsor, a role of distinction I humbly embrace.
First, I acknowledge the extraordinary achievements of those leaders who came before me.
- The Honourable Keiller MacKay
- The Honourable Lucien Lamoureaux
- Major General Richard Rohmer
- Dr. William Sommerville
- Dr. Charles Clark
- Dr. Eric Jackman
And fondly, the Honourable Edward Lumley, who has contributed so generously to the University with his passion, his wisdom, and his experience. He gave of his time and talent to ensure the University of Windsor thrived in our local community, our country and globally. His are indeed big shoes to fill!
Secondly, I applaud the University leadership, who boldly acknowledged it was time to embrace diversity and through the selection process appointed the first woman chancellor. I now stand before you, on the shoulders of giants, ready to champion my alma mater, and all the students and faculty who make up this wonderful University, embedded in the beautiful City of Windsor who has given so much to my family and yours and who provides a warm and welcoming community for all of our students to thrive.
To you, the graduands, remember you will soon be Alum and it is each of the Alumni of the University of Windsor who have established an incredible legacy of achievement for you to build upon. Remember your academic roots. You may not realize how important they will be as your career evolves. You are ambassadors for this University. Cherish all that you have become while attending the University of Windsor.
Be Windsor Proud!
Today, together, we stand at the crossroads of extraordinary opportunities in a world that offers hope and needs leadership. A world of exponential improvements in health and wealth, a world of advancing technology and artificial intelligence, a world of an abundance of data that presents us with incredible information to improve our lives and our futures. Through these advances, you will also be presented with many challenges, and as history has taught us, you will lead through them and you will thrive.
Leadership matters more than ever and I believe each of you has the knowledge and the capacity to lead in your work and in your communities. Be inspired leaders.
So what will you need to thrive in this complex , fast changing world of opportunity?
You will need courage to be your best self, to embrace challenge and opportunity and to recognize that fear and discomfort in taking on something new will make you stronger.
You will need to be resilient. To adapt and change, to reinvent yourself as the world continues to evolve. Commit to learning something new every day. Evolve purposefully as the world around you evolves.
You will need to rely on your personal values and integrity for others to believe in you. Be true to yourself. Be honest with yourself and with others and commit to building strong and positive relationships. Remember, your reputation is your most valuable asset and relationships matter.
And finally, try a little kindness. Be kind to yourself. Reach out when you need help or guidance or are lonely and lost. We all benefit from a little kindness. Being kind to others goes a long way in helping you to feel good about yourself and undoubtedly will make life’s journey much more meaningful and rewarding for you and for those around you.
I was recently reminded that passion is what differentiates people who thrive, not just survive. Think about it. Those you want to emulate are passionate leaders. Find your passion. It may take some time, a few detours and perhaps even rejection. Don’t stop searching, because when you find it, it will energize you, make you happy, and in turn, you will inspire those around you.
Seek out mentors and role models you can learn from, take risks and step into the leadership opportunities that come your way or purposefully search for them. You can make a positive difference in the lives of others and will forever be rewarded.
So, as I embrace my new role as Chancellor with a passion for leadership and learning, walk with me on my journey, as I walk with you. As champions and Alumni of this great University, let’s invest our time, our talents and our passion to make this world a kinder and better place. Let’s lead with passion and be the role model for others.
Thank you and my heartfelt congratulations to each of you.