President congratulates Fall Convocation’s Class of 2022

convocation york u

President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton shares a message with the Fall Convocation’s Class of 2022 and encourages grads to reflect on the past, prepare for the future and advance York University’s mission of positive change.

It is my great honour to congratulate each and every one of you on having achieved this important milestone in your lives.

A modern and progressive University that leverages the power of ideas and innovation to shape the well-being of our local and global communities, York is redefining the role of higher education in society.

For over 60 years, York’s mandate has been responding to the evolving needs of society through world-class teaching, purposeful research, and an unwavering dedication to righting the future.

In a world that has become increasingly politically polarized, with complex challenges ranging from the climate crisis and social inequality to postcolonialism and a global health pandemic, pushing the frontiers of knowledge and challenging the status quo is an important part of why you are all here today.

Lenton convocation spring 2022
President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton

By applying the knowledge and skills you have cultivated during your time at York, you have each contributed to these challenges, and as graduates you are taking the next step – whether through your chosen professions, your activism or your volunteer work – to become ambassadors of York’s mission to advance positive change.

An example of this type of commitment to positive change can be seen in our Chancellor, Mr. Gregory Sorbara, who has served as an advocate for higher education, and a catalyst for the growth of York as a progressive international teaching and research University. In the conferring of degrees for tens of thousands of students over his nine years of distinguished service, I have watched Mr. Sorbara proudly connect with each and every graduand as they have crossed the stage in this pivotal moment of their lives, and it is with immense gratitude, respect and admiration that I thank Mr. Sorbara for his time, efforts and enthusiasm as chancellor, today and for every day that he has dutifully served our institution.

This same type of commitment to positive change can be seen in our honorary degree recipients, Mark Tewksbury, Sally Armstrong and Noah “40” Shebib. And it can be seen in the actions of our Faculties, all of which are working to strengthen our impact on the UN SDGs for the betterment of our local and global communities.

Each of you here today has a role to play in reimagining the world as it could be – sustainable, equitable and inclusive – not just for ourselves but for each other, for future generations, and for the planet.

I am confident that your time here has helped to equip you to make your own distinct contribution whatever your career path and whatever your particular interest so I encourage you to embrace opportunities that come your way, and rather than fretting about shortcomings or failures that may happen, learn from them – they are often the ingredients of originality and potent catalysts of positive transformation.

But today is a day for celebration – a transformative day for you – so I invite you to take a moment to acknowledge all the time, effort, and energy you have invested over the last few years to bring you to this stage, and the community of people consisting of family, partners, children, friends, professors, staff and peers who have supported and championed you along the way.

As you graduate today and join a global community of 360,000 York alumni living and working around the world, I hope you will stay in touch with us.

Once again, my warm congratulations to you all. Thank you for choosing York and for your contributions during your time here and in the future as ambassadors for your alma mater.

Bonne chance ! Miigwech!

Rhonda Lenton
President and Vice-Chancellor