Just what was said: Words of wisdom from this year’s honorary degree recipients

By Dale Johnson Posted: June 7, 2015 9:00 a.m.

Don Black was one of three honorary degree recipients at Spring Convocation.
Don Black was one of three honorary degree recipients at Spring Convocation. (Photo courtesy of Trevor Hopkin - U of R Photography)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015 – Donald Black, Regina businessman, who led Saskatchewan Government Insurance, Pioneer Life Insurance, and Greystone Capital Management:

"Bask in the glow of your achievement. Be sure to thank your family for helping you to get here. Take a breather, celebrate your accomplishment and enjoy your day. You have achieved a significant milepost in the walk of life. But – you have not arrived; you have only just begun, so get back to work tomorrow. Your degree does not describe success, and it does not define who or what you are. It is one tile in the mosaic of your life. What you do going forward, with your degree as your foundation, will define who you are and what you are. Your acquisition of knowledge and skills cannot stop here…Your degree is proof positive that you have the good sense to seek out knowledge, you have demonstrated focus and the ability to learn, and you have the drive to achieve a goal…If you haven’t already, it’s time to articulate a vision for your life, and to set some new goals – because you’ve just achieved a major one.”

Thursday, June 4, 2015 – Kevin Vickers, former RCMP officer, former House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms, now Canada’s Ambassador to Ireland

“People of Regina made me who I am…I came here to this city 39 years ago as a 19 year old, and I left here as a man. What I recall about the people of Saskatchewan and this city, are their values - honesty, integrity, valor, and respect and dignity for people. It was these values that you instilled in me as a young man that I attribute to being up here before you. I’ve carried those values with me all my life, so I want you all to know that on October 27th when I was standing behind that pillar, and then made that leap of faith, there was more than a piece of this great province with me at that fateful moment. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

Friday, June 5, 2015 – Anne Blair Thomas Callahan, educator, nurse and advocate for Aboriginal health

“To the graduates, I would like to say to you: soar like an eagle, fly high, the world awaits you. I want to thank all those people who walked with me in the life of learning. There are many people who helped me and supported me and had encouraging words for me. My late Dad saw the potential in me when he looked at my report card. He said ‘My girl, go and get an education.’ So that’s what I did. There were ups and downs. I failed twice, but I kept at it, and then I passed. I went to a residential school. The first ten years were trying - but it was just a beginning. Our parents believed that we were getting an education. Unfortunately, many of us also lost our culture - but many of us kept our traditions. When we were at home during the summer holidays, the elders took us to their ceremonies. They gave us our blessings, and they’d always have a treat for us, like pemmican.”

In case you missed it: Our coverage of Convocation 2015 below.

University of Regina’s largest convocation ever

Strong academic skills and community focus wins President’s Medal

University Medal awarded at Convocation

Changes and traditions of 50 years of convocation

Half a century of granting degrees