• Ken Haycock

    Dr Ken Haycock

    • Doctor of Letters 

      Convocation address to the Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Global and Community Studies and Faculty of Education, Health and Human Development

      June 3, 2013 

      Good afternoon.  Mr. Chancellor, Madame President, distinguished platform guests, faculty and staff, graduands, and your bankers--your family and friends who are here today who’ve helped you along the way--let me say how honoured I am to be here this afternoon.  As I was coming here, however, I wasn’t sure whether I was more honoured by the Doctor of Letters or the fact that the University was providing free parking this afternoon, I have to tell you.  I know what a challenge that is for university administrators so I think we’re all grateful for that.

      I’m most grateful to be here this afternoon because, unlike many of you, I’m the first male in my family to finish elementary school.  I’m the first male or female to finish high school, the first to go on to university and to become rather a collector of degrees, which is an illness my family points to.  However, those kinds of experiences lead one to develop certain characteristics and beliefs about the importance of public schools, public libraries, and public universities, because without them my brothers and I would never have had the opportunities that we had and that you indeed have today.  So although I’m without children and not an avid user of libraries, I am passionate about them and the importance of them in our society today. 

      As the President mentioned, my professional career began as a teacher and as a librarian, and a few months ago when the Chair of the Academic Senate called me and asked me whether I believed in free speech, I said, “Well, actually, it’s a professional value of mine.  I’m absolutely committed to it.  I believe in the public’s right to know.  I believe in unfettered access to information.  I’m passionate about free speech.”  The response was, “Well, that’s very interesting, but actually we have a speech we’d like you to give for free on Monday, June 3rd.”  And so here I am today.  Being a good negotiator, you see, I picked up an honourary doctorate as a result.  Large payment, I would say. 

      Winston Churchill was once asked to give a speech and he asked how long it was to be and the question was, “Well, why does it matter?”  And he said, “If you want a speech for two hours I can give it this afternoon.  If you would like it for half an hour I’ll need a few days to prepare.  If you’d like it for ten minutes it’s going to take me a month to work on it.”  Well, I’ve been given about that time this afternoon, and I must say that I have thought deeply--as we say in the academy--I have thought deeply about my remarks this afternoon.  Because I have sat where you are a number of times.  I’ve sat on this platform a number of times.  I’ve listened to so many commencement speeches. 

      And they have, when I reflected on it, four things in common.  First, I am to be inspiring.  Well, I don’t think you need to be inspired.  You should be inspired by your education.  You should be inspired that we live in this exceptional city in this incredible country.  And if you have difficulty being inspired, just step outside onto the side of this mountain.  How could we not all be inspired by this wonderful place? 

      I learned that the second characteristic was that you were to be passionate, and I was to encourage you to be passionate.  Look at the difference in our ages.  Why would I be encouraging you to be passionate?  You have more juice than you know what to do with.  I think the question is to discover your passion and to pursue it relentlessly. 

      I’m to encourage you to offer service, because giving service pays back many times over.  That to me is one of the more arrogant things that a boomer can say to young people.  The research actually suggests that you volunteer your service to your community as young people far more than boomers and senior citizens do.  So I thank you and applaud you for that. 

      Lastly, I’m to encourage you to change the world.  Well, let me tell you, if you bother to get involved politically, you would be truly frightening.   So you know that you can change the world if you get involved in our governance and our government and our politics, and I urge you to do so. 

      The best advice I actually received—although my wife used to say “The worst vice is ad-vice”—the best advice I received was from FDR—Franklin Delano Roosevelt—who said “There are three rules for a speech if you want to be remembered.  Be brief, be brilliant, be seated.” 

      So I’m going to try for two out of three.  What have I learned over the last 45 years?  Well, I’ve learned three things I’d like to share with you today. 

      You are who you are.  That sounds a bit simple, I know.  But know who you are, and be who you are.  Be yourself.  I thought about who to invite today as I was given four seats in this audience.  And I realized there are only two people who would really care about this honour for me today, care deeply—my mother, who’s no longer alive, and my wife, who’s no longer alive.  So I invited no one, because we need to learn to appreciate our achievements for what they are and for who we are and for ourselves.  I have learned that—and I don’t mean this as a downer—we come into this world alone.  We leave this world alone.  In between we have wonderful friendships, we have relationships, we do wonderful things, but essentially you are on your own.  So you have to know who you are.  You need to be self-aware.  You need to know your beliefs and values and stand for them.  Of course we all evolve.  These are decisions we make for ourselves.  I don’t care whether we’re talking about something as simple as a personality attribute instrument like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or StrengthsFinder, or Marcus Buckingham’s work on StandOut.  We cannot pretend to be something we are not.  We need to understand ourselves and be that person.  Wearing a Superman costume does not enable you to fly.  Be who you are.

      Secondly, network.  The old establishment was a club.  Today, it’s a network, and we all need to learn how to work the pond.  And work the pond positively—not finding what other people can do for us, but indeed what we can do for them.  Seventy percent of the jobs today, according to research, are not posted.  So if you don’t have a network, you’re not even going to find out about them.  No network, no work.  So make sure when you meet people remember the four E’s—make eye contact, extend your hand, exchange your business card—never leave home without it—and engage in conversation.  Look to the person on your left.  That could be the person who tells you about that next job.  Look to the person on your right.  That could be the person who offers it to you.  Make those connections.  Networking is a bit like what Joan Rivers once said about housework: “You just get the dishes done, you make the beds--six months later you have to do it all over again.” 

      Third, establish your own personal board of directors.  I think this is even more important than having mentors.  Choose those people—they may be faculty, employers, a family member, a friend, a parent—who you can put on your personal board of directors who have your back, who will give you advice, who will make suggestions to you, who will keep your confidence but who have your best interest at heart.  The world is changing, and we often need to seek a second opinion.  When Albert Einstein was teaching in the eastern United States about a hundred years ago, he was offering a doctoral seminar in physics.  And he handed out the examination and sat down to proctor, and one of the students put up his hand.  The student said, “This is all very interesting, Dr. Einstein, but I don’t know whether you realize, but you gave out the examination from last year.”  And he said, “Oh, yes.  The questions are the same.  But this year, the answers are different.”  And I think we need to remember that.

      And lastly, demonstrate self-confidence.  This is a basic requisite of leadership.  Not so much self-esteem, though that is important.  We also need a basis for self-confidence.  Like many of you, I have met many people who have self-confidence when really they needn’t—they shouldn’t.  They’re overly confident.  We’re really looking at self-efficacy—confidence in specific skills and ability and knowing how to influence others.  We need to know the difference between knowledge and wisdom.  Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.  Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. 

      To continue with the fruit analogy, life, according to Joan Baez, is like a soft, ripe lemon--so sweet, and such a mess.  Woody Allen I think had it right when he said 80% of life is showing up, and I urge you to show up, be present and engage.  This to me is the best of times.  You have a bright future.  You have unlimited potential.  Remain true to yourself.  Stand for yourself.  So yes, be inspired, be enthusiastic, be passionate, be the change you want to see, do serve your community because the rewards are great.  But we know, together, that you have so much to offer and so much potential, not the least of which is because you are a graduate of Capilano University.