Kelton: Accomplishments should not define you

In recognition of his career as a physician, scientist, teacher, administrator and fundraiser, John Kelton, Executive Director of the Michael G. DeGroote Initiative for Innovation in Healthcare at McMaster University, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science, honoris causa (DSc) at the Thursday morning session of Western’s 311th Convocation.

Kelton spoke to graduates from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Faculty of Science and Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, encouraging them to value empathy, compassion and kindness above all other endeavours.

These feelings are “connective tissues” of humankind, Kelton said, and they are capacities that are uniquely human, a “spider web that connects us all.”

One’s life can be summed up with “resume virtues” and “eulogy virtues,” he added, quoting journalist David Brooks.

“Your accomplishments shouldn’t define you. Your eulogy will be about your character, less about your achievements. The account of your life should be about your empathy, compassion and kindness. Kindness can become heavy lifting – but there is always an opportunity for it,” Kelton stressed.

“Passing up these opportunities will lay bricks of regret that will stay in your lives.”

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