Caitlyn Swail

    • Good afternoon everyone: fellow graduates, faculty, and all our lovely guests, thank you so much for coming. I’d like to firstly express how honoured I am to be representing the second graduating class of the Liberal Studies Bachelor of Arts and all the other wonderful arts and science programs that are graduating today; it’s has truly been a privilege to have studied with the students and faculty at Capilano University.

      I think the last time many of us graduates were dressed like this was at our highschool graduations. I remember mine very well, although it was quite a few years ago now: sitting there in my hot, scratchy gown and feeling honestly quite terrified (and I didn’t even have to make a speech!).

      I had no idea what I was supposed to do with my life and I felt incredible pressure to hurry up and figure that out. So, that September I arrived at Cap, which was actually Capilano College at the time, all bright eyed and bushy tailed and enrolled in general studies to have my path revealed to me by some sort of divine educational intervention. I think we can all attest that things don’t often happen that way and a few years passed by and I decided to set off travelling and “find myself” elsewhere. It wasn’t until I saw that Capilano was offering a BA in Liberal Studies that I considered coming back to school. As we sit here today, back in our caps and gowns, graduating from University this time, I have to admit that, just like all those years ago in highschool, I still feel unsure about what I should be doing with my life or what my next move should be.

      However, this time feels very different. This indecision I feel as we all stand on the brink of the next chapter in our lives no longer terrifies me. In fact, it excites me. Rather than feeling nervous and pressured to make decisions, I feel liberated and prepared to take the next step, whatever it may be. Because an education in the arts not only prepares us to go out into the “real world” to find employment, but it prepares us for the most important job any of us will ever have: being conscious citizens of the world.

      Kurt Vonnegut told us to study the arts because the arts are not just a way to make a living, they are a very human way of making life more bearable, practicing an art is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake.

      And I believe the multidisciplinary, collaborative, and flexible nature of the arts and science programs at Cap do just that. They’ve readied us to see the world with inquiring minds, analytical brains, and compassionate hearts.

      We’ve been encouraged to think critically, stay curious, recognize truths no matter how inconvenient, and continually question, even when answers come from unexpected sources.

      The arts and sciences programs represented here today lend themselves to a diverse and multidimensional education that promotes meaningful discovery, and reflects the interconnectedness of all life.

      They allow students to draw from their own experiences and circumstance, personalizing the university experience and promoting the synthesis of ideas and the expansion of consciousness. This style of learning leaves us graduates with invaluable skills and knowledge that will serve us in any endeavour we choose to pursue.

      Every graduation speech has a few good inspirational quotes in it so here’s one for the art history buffs graduating today: Leonardo Da Vinci said of the principles for the development of a sound mind that one must, “study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses – especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else”.

      I think that quote encapsulates what the LSBA, Global and Community Studies, and Faculty of Education, Health and Human Development represent, and speaks to the timeless importance of a Liberal Arts education.

      On behalf of my fellow graduates, I’d like to extend a sincere thanks to everyone Capilano U. That includes everyone from the staff in the cafeteria who’ve supplied our caffeine fixes over the years, to the students in our programs still on their educational journeys, to the brilliant, dedicated, and endlessly helpful faculty and steering committees, and I’d also like to extend a special thank you to the infinitely wise and tireless degree conveynor for the LSBA, Aurelea Mahood and all the faculty who’ve worked individually with students on graduation projects.

      I think I speak for us all when I say we will be eternally grateful to Capilano University for opening our minds and bringing us into the orbits of so many wonderful people.

      Before we leave today, I just want us all to take a few moments to savour this experience. To bask in this feeling of accomplishment and the completion of something really big.

      I think it’s easy today for us to rush past these moments in anticipation of the next move and the next challenge, but I think it’s really important for us to all take a few seconds to really breath this in so we’ll always remember this amazing feeling that our hard work brought us as we go forward with our lives.

      So, as we move on from Capilano University to whatever future endeavours we decide to pursue, I can say with great confidence that this Arts and Sciences graduation class of 2014 is capable of great things, because if you can read Hegel, then you can do practically everything. And even if that one distant relative was right when they told you at that family BBQ “But you can’t get a JOB with an arts degree”, take comfort in knowing that if all else fails, you’ll still be the most interesting people to stand next to at a party.

      So Congratulations Grads of 2014, enjoy this moment, you’ve earned it!

      Cheers to you!

      Thank You!