Chancellor, members of court, guests, colleagues, new graduates,
At our university, no day has been more significant than our graduation day, and its nothing that we enjoy more than to celebrate the achievments of our students.
You all know the phrase 'get the flags out'. Well i hope you noticed that we’ve done just that as you came out the avenue today, you should’ve seen the 3 of them; the saltire, the union flag, and the university flag bearing our code of arms. And we fly them in celebration of our graduation week. I’ll leave it to you to decide the order of priority.
(Gratulation address to doctorates and graduates)
(Brief history abt HWU and its founding fathers eg Leonard Horner and Robert Bryson)
(HWU vision, culture values, and current achievements)
History doesn’t record where the conversation took place (ie. between Horner and Bryson to set up a technical school in Edinburgh), but I always imagined it to go on in a new club in the middle of Edinburgh. And as the name suggest, it is in fact, very old. It is the sort of place where gentlemen and ladies of a certain age, thinks that there’s no problem more difficult in the world today that cannot be put right in a comfortable chair after dinner.
For most of you, all of you, today marks an important milestone and a start to a new journey. It’s a bit like the first day you showed up here - a new start a new phase in life. But it’s different.
In university, there is a curriculum. There are core courses of study. In your next phase of life, there’re only elective courses of study. Pick the right ones. Don’t pick all the easy ones. The future awaits you. I’m sure you’ll all continue to make us all proud.
So my next bit of advice is; be alert to opportunity. And take action. Don’t limit your aspirations. Be ambitious. Go out. Amaze people. Impress people. Inspire people. Don’t be afraid to take that next big step.
This is still pretty tough time, not least, economically. I’d like you to think of that, though, as opportunity. Challenge means change. Change means opportunity and many great enterprises have been born out of such challenge.
The ultimate of you as individual is not how you get on one at a time. That’s easy. But how you get on in a challenging and difficult time.
There’s something about an occasion like this, particularly if you’re standing at the front wearing an outfit like mine in which give you such a compulsion to author advice. But i suspect I should be careful (as) I recalled a schoolboy essay which said that "Socrates was a wise Greek philosopher. He walked around giving advices to people. They poisoned him."
(Acknowledgement to students' families, staffs and supports)