Cimolino: Be explorers, not sages

Antoni Cimolino, Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival, North America’s largest classical repertory theatre company, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD) at the Monday morning session of Western’s 311th Convocation.

Cimolino spoke to graduates from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the Don Wright Faculty of Music, urging them to maintain their openness to new ideas and new perspectives and to never forget they are on a never-ending journey of discovery.

“I look at you, and I see something very exciting; I see explorers, ready for discovery. You’re still finding your way and you’re still open to new ideas and new opportunities. The words ‘we’ve always done it this way’ haven’t yet entrenched in your minds,” Cimolino noted.

Openness to new ideas is vital for the future, and success is contingent on our willingness to reinvent the wheel, he added.


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“When we are young, we are eager to explore and take risks. As we get older – and you are doing it right now – we start to figure out things that work best for us, and things we are most comfortable with and we start to lose that questing spirit. Before you know it, we start saying, ‘we’ve always done it this way.’”

It is easy to think that we know everything but it is hard to be humble enough to admit we are always learning, Cimolino continued. We need empathy, civility, humility and kindness, he stressed.

“Very real possibilities lie before you, here and now. The world will pass more into your hands – please give careful thought to what you’re going to do with it. If you can’t change the world, consider how you might go about changing yourselves. Be explorers. Don’t settle for being sages.”