Mackinnon: Assess, adapt and change for the better

Janice Mackinnon, Canadian historian and former Minister of Finance for Saskatchewan, was celebrated for her accomplishments with an honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD), honoris causa, at the Tuesday afternoon session of Western’s 309th Convocation.

Mackinnon spoke to graduates from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Huron University College and the Faculty of Health Sciences, reminding them to appreciate and use their education for the betterment of society in a world that is in constant flux.

“The challenges of the (Vietnam War) strengthened my generation. Your generation faces different, but equally daunting, challenges – uncertainty about jobs and careers in a post-industrial world, the fragility of ‘Spaceship Earth’ as we struggle to cope with environmental change and the demands of 7.5 billion people. The list of armed conflicts is as long as any in history. Your generation will grapple with these challenges, as mine did,” she said.

“The world is full of uncertainty with the only constant being change. Your generation has a huge advantage in dealing with a world in constant flux. Our generation assumed our world would remain essentially the same; your generation has grown up with change – you understand the world is constantly changing and to succeed, you must adapt to it,” Mackinnon continued.

Assess, adapt and influence change for the better, she urged the graduates.

“Each of you represents enormous potential and hope for the future. Our hope for you is ambitious and our confidence in you is great. Your education is more important in the post-industrial era than it has ever been.”

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