Honorary Doctorates

D. University 2005 Evelyn GREENBERG, 2005

Speech

-    At the Oscars, when winners come to the mike they proceed to give elaborate thanks to their favorite 25 people, PLUS their dog PLUS their goldfish. Actually, there is only one crucial thank you to be made, and that is to the Selection Committee that chose them.

-    Madame la Chancellière, Monsieur le Président, Membres du comité et mes chers colleagues, un grand merci. I consider this to be my Lifetime Achievement Award, surtout spécial parce que ce doctorat honorifique vient de l'Université d'Ottawa, Canada's University, que j'estime énormément. 

-    When I asked my 14-year old grand-daughter what I should say today she said, "That's simple. Just say CONGRATULATIONS - YOU DID IT - NOW GO OUT AND FIND A JOB.

-    Évidemment, elle a raison, mais cet après-midi, prenons un peu de temps pour penser au processus que vous avez apporté à ce point dans vos carrières. Vous allez trouver que toute la vie est un processus. Je vous promets que pendant les prochaines années vous allez garder les souvenirs les plus heureux de votre séjour à l'université d'Ottawa. Vous allez remercier vos professeurs et vos collègues pour leurs contributions de vous aider sur la route d'aujourdui. Pendant votre temps passé à l'Université d'Ottawa, malgré les hauts et les bas, êtes-vous satisfait de ce voyage? Certainement, oui!

 
-    And I am particularly happy to be here among my own kindred spirits - you - who have dedicated these past few years to studies in music, visual arts, theatre, journalism, languages and education. I would be proud to be sitting among you. How our lives are enriched by these disciplines and to share your passion for the arts and for educating our future students is the highest calling, in my opinion.
No matter where you go, you will find that the true measure of a society is the manner in which the arts are respected and nurtured and where education is a high priority. And we can thank our university for including in its Mission, and I quote, "to enrich the intellectual and cultural life of Canada and help the country achieve greater international prominence" - and who better to accomplish this than you, our artists, our journalists and educators.
 
-    We know that the ability to speak other languages gives a greater understanding of diverse cultures, something the university recognizes as a need in society. I have a special feeling for les richesses de la langue francaise. The phrase alone is music. I am privileged to have played arts songs by Faure, Debussy and Chausson, to the poetry of Verlaine, Baudelaire and Hugo. In my next life, I would like to enrol in Lettres Francaises.

-    Our university's unique and important commitment to bilingualism must be nurtured as should its role in facilitating multiculturalism. I congratulate the President and the administration for articulating the future Vision 2010 of the University of Ottawa in a way that focuses on the importance of every graduate in this audience.

-    Je pense que nous sommes très chanceux d'avoir la collation des grads dans cette prestigeuse salle au Centre National des Arts. J'ai joué du piano maintes fois ici et j'ai trouvé qu'on joue mieux dans une ambiance comme celle-la. C'est facile de comprendre pourquoi. Comme musiciens, artistes visuels et acteurs, nous sommes inspirés par de belles choses. Des événements merveilleux se déroulent ici. Peut-être votre avenir vous attend ici.
 
-    Surround yourself with beauty and you will be inspired by it. By the way, I do not work for the National Arts Centre, I am not their PR person, I just feel I can accomplish anything artistically and culturally in an atmosphere like this. I believe it will work for you as well. When you come onto the stage today, sneak a peek into the hall and see how the artists feel when they look out.

-    As a teacher, I would feel cheated if I didn't use this glorious occasion to make two points you might think have merit in making your own dreams and goals come true.

-    Firstly, never be shy to say thank-you. And I don't mean Oscar style! Let people know - your teachers, your siblings, your friends, your family, your university - that you appreciate their contribution to your life. By attending this convocation and giving your parents and family the pride of seeing you walk across the stage and receive your diploma you are in fact thanking them for their support and trust in you. Aren't you glad you decided to come today?

-    And there are many ways to say thank-you, which brings me to my final point.

-    You have been given a talent - be sure to give some of it back. Volunteer your time and skill wherever it is needed. You can play your instrument in retirement homes, you can help less privileged people to write, to draw, to act, how to speak two languages B the list is endless and you have the tools to do it. 

 
-    My sister, Jacquelin Holzman received her Honourary Doctorate right in this spot several years ago. She and I took to heart our mother's teaching that "A service is the rent you pay for your space on earth". I am here today because the University of Ottawa is thanking me for the service I have given to the community. My journey to this point, my own processus, has been filled with music, volunteer work, love of family and community, respect and admiration for my students and a passion for sharing whatever gifts I have. Have you any idea what an impact you can have and what confidence it can give you when you use your skills helping others!  

-    Chers diplomés, veuillez accepter mes sincères félicitations . Aujourd'hui vous êtes les invités les plus importants. Je vous salue. Utilisez vos talents et savourez vos succès avec le plus haut estime et bons voeux de l'Université d'Ottawa.

-   Before I leave you, there are just 25 people I would like to thank - oops.


-    I wish you much success as you begin the next stage of your career. Be happy in what you do.

-    Thank you, Merci.   

Last updated: 2013.07.08