Three parades of black-gowned Acadia University graduates, totalling over 800 strong, marched up the newly-named Perkin Way on May 11–12.
President Ray Ivany spoke about the transformative power of education, adding his belief each graduate is fundamentally different after having spent four years at Acadia.
He asked the graduating class to exemplify the Biblical saying, “To those whom is given, much is expected.”
The May 11 convocation address was given by the renowned Canadian nature painter Robert Bateman, whose mother was a seminary graduate.
Bateman, who is 83, said he thought he ought to hand out some advice.
“Don’t worry,” he said, “some things never happen.”
He also told the graduates not to harbour resentment. “It’s like drinking a cup of poison.” Bateman suggested the graduates should become kinder as they mature.
But his strongest advice was to get out in nature, just as the Japanese take forest therapy.
“I take a 40 minute hike daily. Spend less time in front of electronic screens.”
Bateman quoted fellow painter Georgia O’Keefe. “Nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small it takes time - we haven't time - and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”
Acadia awarded honorary degrees to five individuals who have made outstanding contributions in their communities and beyond. They included Bateman, Rev. John F. Keith, Fred S. Fountain, Geraldine M. Browning and Donald J. Savoie.
Acadia Chancellor Libby Burnham presided over her fourth Convocation and noted that this year marks the 175th anniversary of Acadia’s founding.
Ivany said educators Janice Best and Barry Moody, who have a 50-year-history with Acadia, have been made professors emeritus. He added that Tom Herman will be stepping down as vice president academic to return to teaching and research.
Acadia’s environmental and sustainability studies program also graduated its first students.