Meakins: Strive for the common good

Jonathan Meakins, an internationally renowned expert in immunobiology, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science, honoris causa (DSc) at the Tuesday afternoon session of Western’s 311th Convocation.

Meakins spoke to graduates from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Huron University College and the Faculty of Health Sciences, reminding them of the communal structure of the beehive, a single organism that consists of tens of thousands of worker bees whose activity is towards a common good.

“No individual bee benefits from the production of honey, but the species does by the creation of a second colony. Every bee has a task and there is effectively a promotion system, as each worker works through the hierarchy,” said Meakins, who is a world authority in the field of surgical infections.

Graduates must keep in mind these concepts of “common good and professionalism,” exemplified by the worker bees, as integral to the function of the hive.

In doing just that, role models are important, he added, but more important are the models you don’t want to emulate.

“It is remarkable that when a unit does well, everybody does well. Working for the common good has significant benefits for everybody,” Meakins, a graduate of Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, noted.

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