Comments by T.M. (Mike ) Apsey, C.M., R P. F. (Ret.)
On the occasion of receiving the degree
Doctor of Laws, honoris causa
at the UBC Spring Congregation
May 25, 2009

Chancellor Morgan-Silvester, Professor Toope, members of the platform party, distinguished guests, faculty members, families and friends, and the real reason we are all here today -- graduates.

The order of the day to myself is to: be heard, be clear, be brief, and be gone.

I gave some thought to what title I might give my comments. I came up with five:

“A crisis is a terrible thing to waste”,
“Constant change is here to stay”,
“Meeting the challenge of change”,
“Put your future in good hands -- your own”, and
“The best is yet to come”

Given the fascinating times we are moving through the first three fit well. I am, however, an eternal optimist and given the strengths of those graduating today I chose the last two: “Put your future in good hands -- your own” and “The best is yet to come”.

Ladies and gentlemen -- very late last year I received from this wonderful university an invitation to accept an Honorary Doctor of Laws. After considering this request for 10 seconds I accepted! After awhile I then asked myself -- why me? This question expanded greatly after I saw the list of past recipients. I became very humbled. I then thought some more along the lines: Why am I here? How did I get here? Who got me here? I am here because I have been blessed with wonderful family, teachers, professors, friends, mentors, and colleagues here in Canada and around the world in some 45 countries. All have given much of themselves to me over the decades. Without them I would not be here today. This honour which I received today is largely theirs. To all of them I say: thank you for letting me receive this honour on your behalf.

Today, those of you who are graduating are all very happy and proud and you should be! You set a goal, you applied yourself, and you achieved your goal. Congratulations!

You will reflect on your years at UBC as being challenging, exciting, stimulating, and enriching. In addition, I believe, they held another quality not to be undervalued: they were days of fun! Your education here at one of the world’s very best universities has prepared you well for your chosen profession. You will give leadership in your own particular calling. You will be global in your outlook even though you may choose one field in one area. You will never stop learning and you will enjoy what you do. Like me, you will never grow old and you will have a happy and fulfilling life.

In closing, let me say again to all graduates assembled here today: Congratulations! Your education at this wonderful university, which recently celebrated its 100th Anniversary, has prepared you well for the rapidly evolving world in which we live. One final thought -- if you have a sense of humour, keep it -- if you don’t have a sense of humour, get one. You are going to need it!

Tuum Est