Lynch: Now is the time for fresh thinking

Be prepared to shape yourself into entrepreneurial, resilient, confident agents of change, Kevin Lynch told graduates during the morning session of Western’s 307th Convocation.

“It is time for optimism in Canada provided we are neither complacent nor parochial,” he said. “Canada has all the ingredients for success – we have great universities, leading-edged research and talented graduates. But we seem to be lacking the recipe and the chefs.

“It is time, frankly, for fresh thinking to avoid letting past success be our biggest risk to future success.”

Lynch spoke to graduates from the Faculty of Social Science (BMOS) at the Wednesday, June 15, morning session of Western’s 307th Convocation.

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Western conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD), upon Lynch in recognition of him as a public intellectual and passionate advocate for higher education and research in Canada.

Lynch was instrumental in the creation of many of Canada’s major research support programs, including the Canada Research Chair program and Canada Foundation for Innovation. He is the Chancellor of King’s College in Halifax, sits on several boards and is the past Chair of the Board of Governors of the University of Waterloo.

Currently vice-chair of BMO Financial Group, Lynch began his career as an economist at the Bank of Canada. He went on to serve as Deputy Minister of Industry (1995-2000) and Deputy Minister of Finance in the Government of Canada (2000-04) before moving to the International Monetary Fund as executive director (to 2006). In early 2006, Lynch returned to Canadian public service as the 20th Clerk of the Privy Council, Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Public Service of Canada.

In his citation, Western President Amit Chakma spoke of Lynch as a great Canadian public- and private-sector leader who, even in his “so-called retirement,” continues to serve and advocate on behalf of his country with tireless dedication, boundless enthusiasm and highly sought-after level of expertise.

“Kevin’s ideas have helped to shape our nation’s economic policy and prosperity while at the same time influencing financial decision-making around the world,” Chakma said. “In various capacities, Kevin championed initiatives to support innovation, research and development in Canada, benefitting all of our country’s research-intensive universities, including Western.”

He has been recognized for his outstanding service to Canada and higher education with a number of awards including being named an Officer of the Order of Canada, a member of the Queen’s Privy Council, receiving both the Queen’s Diamond and Golden Jubilee medals, the Distinguished Alumni Award from McMaster University, and eight honorary degrees.

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