Jo-Ann Leavey, a psychologist, nurse practitioner, writer, poet, musician and pilot, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD) at the Friday afternoon session of Western’s 311th Convocation.
Leavey spoke to graduates from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Faculty of Education and Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, encouraging them to see the potential for progress and change that lies in being an outlier.
As a child, Leavey first realized one had to “dare to learn, dare to risk” if one wants to “dare to succeed,” she noted, first stressing the role and importance of learning on the path towards success.
“The more I can learn, the more I can give away. What a privilege – education. It’s our relationships with others that create change and make a future,” Leavey said.
"Things don't change if we are only critical, they change when we are able to consider the situation and take action" — Jo-Ann Leavey #purpleandproud
— #WesternU LIVE (@westernuLIVE) June 15, 2018
As we learn from others, we learn grace, patience, compassion and humility, she added. And as we learn, we must not be afraid of being a “misfit,” someone who dares to not fit – by choice.
“How do non-fitters make change? One word: education. You’ve got your start now; embrace the qualities required to be the change for the future. Things don’t change if we are only critical; they change if we are able to consider the situation and take action. Take action. Be the best non-fitter you can be.”