Graduates: We need you more than ever

Tuesday, June 16, 2020
by Feridun Hamdullahpur

Waterloo convocation

I won’t waste your time talking about the challenges ahead, the uncertainty that surrounds us and how that has impacted the ways in which the University of Waterloo will be celebrating its more than 6,700 new graduates. We know the world is different now than it was three months ago, but no matter what, the accomplishments of you, Waterloo’s new alumni, should be recognized for what they are: exceptional.

The opportunities in uncertainty

Congratulations on reaching this tremendous milestone. You will be celebrated this week for what you have done, whether you are receiving your first degree or completing a PhD, you have added to our legacy of innovation and discovery. You have pushed us forward. We have grown as a University because of your unique perspectives and experiences.

The degree you have earned is a recognition of every late-night studying, every team project that was both rewarding and frustrating, every nervous first day of a new co-op job and so many other experiences.

Now use those experiences to push our world forward.

Not everyone has the commitment and drive that Waterloo graduates have. They are different. They look at a problem from a unique lens, because they don’t see challenges or problems, they see the opportunities behind them. While we live in the world of public health and economic upheaval, long-term challenges persist from climate change to the rise of artificial intelligence. The world is in the midst of disruption and ripe for your creativity and adaptability. Leverage those essential skills every day and we will be better off for it.

Moving forward doesn’t mean you are not alone

As each of you move forward, remember you are never alone in your journey no matter where you are. In addition to the countless family members and friends who have supported you throughout your educational journey, you have a worldwide community of Warriors standing behind you that now number more than 220,000.

Use that network. Use their experiences, their guidance and their connections to move forward into the future with confidence. And, there is a community right here at Waterloo who will continue to stand by and help in any way we can.

Once again, congratulations on reaching this tremendous milestone in your life. It is something to be proud of accomplishing.