Congratulations, Class of 2020!

Congratulations, Class of 2020! I hope that anyone disappointed in not having the convocation in person may be encouraged today. May you remember: Just because your finish line got moved ahead (in a sense), and the celebratory party got canceled, this doesn’t mean that you didn’t run 100% of the race marked out for you. Although the convocation has been moved online, and it doesn’t look like it will be the same, you still trained, prepared, and ran your race, and for that, I congratulate you. It wasn’t for sitting in a room full of strangers for 3 hours that you were going to be congratulated, so losing that will not take your glory away from you. After all, each of you would have been there, supported by your family and friends who have trekked with you through this long journey, even if they had no say in the matter. They are still with you and supporting you, be it physically-distanced or not, and you have not lost anything of importance. And for those of you who feel all alone in this world, who feel like you have no one with whom to celebrate: Remember that, even if your vision is 20/20 and this is true, this is not the end. Take heart. You can build a new family, make new friends, and grow with those around you if indeed there are not more who care about you than you may now perceive. In the words of Israelmore Ayivor: “Every friend was once a stranger and if you know this, you have to understand that conversations are the beginning of connection”. So whenever you meet anyone, don’t forget that you may find a friend in them, no matter how different the two of you may seem. With these parting words, I would like to thank you for your contributions to our community at the University of Manitoba and wish you a future of peace, joy, and love in your future. – John

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