10:20 AM

Encouraging words for Mohawk grads - In the news

Spring 2023 Convocation ceremony stage

A shortened version of a speech from President McKerlie to graduates during Spring Convocation ceremonies was published by The Hamilton Spectator. 

The Hamilton Spectator - Encouraging words for Mohawk grads


The published version is below. The full address can be viewed as part of the Welcome and Convocation Address video.


Purpose & Passion

Whether you came to Mohawk College from a few minutes away, or from a few hours away,

or from half a world away...

Each of you came with a unique story.

Each of you is on a unique journey.

Each of you holds a unique dream in your heart.

And while you were pursuing your education, you learned with purpose.

My advice to you today is to live with purpose, too.

During college, the goal of finishing your program was broken into smaller goals – submitting a project, handing in an assignment, finishing a work placement.

Every step was aligned with the goal of graduating.

At the same time, you were figuring out how to chase a dream, how to honour a commitment, and how to turn your ideas into action.

Now, with the benefit of your college education, you are well-equipped to chase your dreams.

Before you decide what you want to do in life, take some time to figure out who you want to be in life.

What is the purpose of your life? What’s really important to you?

What would allow you to start every day full of energy and a sense of direction?  

My father used to say, “If you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Oprah Winfrey said it like this: “Follow your passion. It will lead you to your purpose.”

I think they are both right.

Identify what will provide you with satisfaction and fulfillment as you spend your time, your skills and your energy.

Find your passion and follow it.

Set your goals and move with purpose toward them.

Your passion will provide the fuel for the journey.

If you don’t have a goal, how will you know when you achieve it?

If you don’t know where you want to go, how will you know what direction to head?

If you aren’t passionate about what you’re doing, how will you stay motivated?

Find your purpose.

Set some goals.

Think about who you want to be.

And then think about what you need to do to achieve all that.

Your goals could be professional or personal or social. More likely, they will include a combination of those things. Life has many dimensions and our goals should reflect that fact.

You got to your graduation one class, one project and one examination at a time.

You moved with purpose toward this day.

Use the same approach in life.

There is no easy path to accomplishment.

During my life, I’ve found a few ways to make the path seem easier. The most important is this: life’s journey was not meant to be traveled alone.

There is a saying that I first heard during a visit to Malawi many years ago: “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.”

Find good people to join you for your journey - people who share your purpose, your values and your passion.

Make time in your life for the people who support you unconditionally –family, friends, loved ones.

Find people who share your purpose and are driven by a similar passion.

Keep them involved in your life. Share the journey with them. They’ll help keep you motivated and on track as life’s distractions try to pull you in different directions.

And as you move forward, remember the words of Nelson Mandela, who said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Your education at Mohawk College has given you the power to make a positive impact - to change the world.

While you live with purpose moving forward, continue learning with purpose, too.

Lifelong learning will be critical for you. You are always welcome back here.

This is your college and this is your community.

Supporting you is our main purpose and it is a privilege to do so.

To the Mohawk College Graduating Class of 2023…

Congratulations and Godspeed!