One final BillBoard
One of the first opportunities I had to communicate to the University community came in the fall of 2001 when I penned the first ever Billboard in a brand new University publication, the Legend. As I prepare to leave my position as President of the U of L, I am pleased to have the opportunity to write one final Billboard, a fitting bookend to my time here at the University.
There have been a lot of ‘lasts’ taking place over the past month and one of the more significant occasions was participating in my final convocation ceremony. I have found always that convocation is an excellent reaffirmation of what we do, day-in and day-out, here at the University.
Each ceremony is unique and one highlight this spring was seeing our first graduate of Ceremony 2 receive her degree. Alix Blackshaw was a very involved student on campus and worked diligently with the University’s Rotaract Club. She, along with Kristina Larkin and Eva Gorny, were recently profiled in the Lethbridge Herald and embody the ideals we embrace here at the University. It is very satisfying to see our students take their role in life seriously, that they don’t concentrate just on their books but they take what they’ve learned in the classroom and share their lessons outside with those less fortunate.
As many of you know, I do not wear hats, and especially convocation hats. For the past 10 years I had avoided wearing my official convocation hat during ceremonies, but Chancellor Richard Davidson made a point of noting that I was not “appropriately” attired during the final ceremony – I ultimately relented.
I want to thank George McIntosh in Facilities for mentioning that I had never had the opportunity to touch the University Mace. I was surprised and pleased to have Chief Marshal John Poulsen hand it to me as Elsa and I walked out in our final procession.
I also want to thank the Senate for bestowing upon Elsa the Senate Volunteer Award. Her contributions to the University over the last 10 years have been invaluable, and I could not have done any of this had it not been for her love and support.
Another significant event was the annual Paul Lewis Lunch. This is one of my favourite gatherings as it brings retirees back to campus and really drives home the community spirit we’ve fostered here at the U of L. This year we were thrilled to showcase Markin Hall to many of our former employees.
The official opening of Markin Hall this fall is one I’m looking forward to attending. While the date has not been finalized, if it can be co-ordinated before our trip to Mozambique in October, I will not let it open without me.
The many farewell wishes both Elsa and I have received have been fantastic. The goodbye events have been very warm, very gratifying, embarrassing, awkward at times, but more than anything, a lot of fun.
It has been a wonderful ride – I’ve said that many times and I’ll go on saying that. I can’t imagine a more satisfying time in my life in terms of the people, the things we worked on, and the recognition the U of L has received.
Wherever our travels and careers take us in the future, we will always be Pronghorns and members of the U of L community.