. . . Dalhousie University Convocation Address continued . . .
Today new opportunities open before us. Education is a privilege that enables
us to assume the responsibility to apply our knowledge and experience for
socially desirable and economically productive goals. All of us can make a
difference: in the quality of life, as professionals, as volunteers, or as family
members. Sound and affordable housing can be achieved by public and private
enterprise. Halifax stands testimony to the creation of Canada’s first Federally
financed, social housing, as a local response after the 1917 Explosion. Pier 21 –
another testimony to community response to a long local and national
commitment to welcome newcomers to our shores, and thereby celebrate our
Yesterday I had the great pleasure to visit the renewed Harbourfront without a
proposed freeway, with my fellow Landscape Architects – a splendid
Now the planet’s survival is at stake. The global population will double in this
century, 80% of whom will live in the city and everyone will live by the city.
What are our future tasks— for you as today’s Graduates trained to shape our
built environment and face the many challenges? It used to be the 3 R’s -
writing, reading and ‘rithmetic; now we have to add three more R’s:
1. RESPECT for each other and for nature and natural systems
2. RESPONSIBILITY for the Environment.
3. RISK TAKING with innovation
How do we implement these tasks?
We need VISION, IMAGINATION, AND MOTIVATION or what I call VIM. The
planet needs peacemakers, healers and restorers: people with moral courage
and technical skills who can make our cities more livable and who are willing to
take risks in achieving it.
Mr. Chancellor, Mr. President, fellow Academics, honoured guests, allow me to
congratulate all those who have worked hard for their degrees, and to their
parents, faculty and friends who have supported them in more ways than we will
ever know. I too have the good fortune of support from my partner for life, Peter,
my children and grandchildren. It gives me pleasure that my friends and my
family are present today. I am deeply grateful to Dalhousie which now includes
me in its ranks of graduates, a singular honour indeed.
To my fellow graduates: Go forth with your newly acquired knowledge and make
the world a better place to live. Thereby you will enable Canada to continue its
commitment to peace, social justice, environmental sustainability, and strive
towards leadership among the nations. Finally, let me quote from Dr. SEUSS’
graduation speech ‘Oh, the places you’ll go’:
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
Your mountain is waiting.
So... get on your way!