Life is a learning journey: Mathur

Mohan Mathur made it clear to Western’s newest graduates that they are standing at the threshold of an important day in their lives, and whenever possible they should have the courage to lead and not follow.

“Your hard work and perseverance has paid off handsomely and an exciting future lies ahead of you,” he says. “No matter what your plans are, the world is waiting for you.”

Mathur spoke to approximately 450 graduates from faculties of Science, Engineering and the School of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies at the June 15 afternoon session of Western’s 297th Convocation.

The University of Western Ontario conferred an honorary Doctor of Science upon Mathur for his significant contributions in the areas of engineering research, design, education, administration, and his role in the creation of Western’s Research and Development Park.

Mathur says it is important that students become a good communicator, be able to embrace cultural diversities and understand the values held by team members, adding most likely they will change jobs several times in their career.

“From each experience you will gain a new insight. Life is a learning journey, and as you move along, you will realize that there is so much more to learn. The University of Western Ontario has given you a strong foundation to build upon,” he says. “The lasting value of your university education is that you have learnt to dream, create visions, investigate, observe, design and validate solutions for the greater wellbeing of people. Please do not underestimate the value of good listening and respecting different viewpoints. It is a powerful quality to have.”

As a world-renowned researcher and innovative educator, Mathur has excelled as a novel teacher, academic administrator, and strategic innovator. For more than 40 years, his dedication and visionary initiatives have greatly influenced the engineering industry and the next generation of engineers.

Mathur’s distinguished academic career as a teacher and researcher included seven years at the University of Manitoba and 12 years as Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Western, where he displayed visionary leadership and innovation by establishing new programs to enhance education in engineering.

This enrichment included the initiation of the Internship Program; the introduction of concurrent and combined degree programs that blend engineering with liberal arts, business, medicine, law and basic sciences; the establishment of first-to-be-accredited undergraduate integrated engineering and software engineering programs and the establishment of the first interdisciplinary biomedical engineering graduate program which has since become recognized globally.

Mathur says the “entrepreneurial and innovative” spirit must come alive and despite the difficult terrain and obstacles that will arise along the way, be prepared to changes course on route to your destination.

“Do not be stifled by hurdles. When obstructed, discover new paths, new vistas and continue enthusiastically to achieve your ultimate goal,” Mathur says. “I recall encountering some hurdles in my career which were very frustrating then. Today, I look back and think that had those hurdles not existed, I would not have discovered many new, exciting and enriching opportunities in my life. Keep a sharp focus on your goals and do what you must to achieve these. We will be waiting and watching to see you make your mark for the good of the society.”

In his citation, Western Engineering dean Andrew Hrymak says Mathur’s work in electrical and power systems engineering has contributed to Western’s superior worldwide reputation in these areas.

“His contributions are in no small part due to his remarkable ability to initiate and foster synergies, partnerships and collaborations,” says Hrymak. “These qualities showcase how Dr. Mathur is a scholar, a researcher and a leader who has been a great inspiration to me, his colleagues, students and the engineering profession in Ontario, Canada and beyond. He has mentored many of this province’s greatest engineers and we continue to benefit from his expertise here at Western.”

As part of the ceremony, Stephen Watt was presented the Distinguished University Professor Award and Reid Halpenny received the Honorable G. Howard Ferguson Award.