Message from Scott Cowie, Head, Senior Division
Monday, Feb. 19: Family Day; no classes
Tuesday, Feb. 20: Arts assembly with guest speaker and photojournalist Richard Lautens, Laidlaw Hall, 9:55 a.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 21 to Saturday, Feb: 24: King Lear classical Play, David Chu Theatre, 7:30 p.m.
Many thanks to all those who played a part in organizing the Founder’s Day Dinner this past Monday, and to those who attended the event. It was a great success and provided those of us in the audience the opportunity to hear from some of our student musicians and to honour those who give generously of their time and other resources in support of much of the College’s programming. This year also marked the inauguration of two new awards: the Young Old Boy of Distinction and Old Boy of Distinction.
Our keynote speaker for the evening, and Old Boy of Distinction recipient, was The Right Honourable Michael Wilson ’55. While I’d seen him deliver various political addresses on television throughout the years, I’d never heard Wilson speak in person before. I was so impressed by his public speaking prowess, as he gained the full engagement of every member of the audience. Even more impressive than his speaking ability, however, was the content of his message.
Wilson touched on two main themes that he conveyed had significant impact on his development as a young man and that, as an 80-year-old, continue to shape his character today. He shared that service to others was a mindset to which he was introduced at a very young age as he watched his parents actively involved with then developing organizations like the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the United Way. He also courageously spoke of his own son’s struggle with mental health that ultimately resulted in him taking his own life. Wilson continues to play an active role in fundraising for the Centre for Addition and Mental Health. He was appointed chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada in 2015. He has been, and remains, an impact player in the local and national landscapes. It was inspiring to hear him speak with so much compassion about the importance of mental health and service.
As I’ve conveyed many times in the past, we’re very fortunate to have hosted some noteworthy speakers here at the College. When we hear from guests — especially those with the experience, profile and presence of Michael Wilson — I fear that we may view them with a degree of distance and reverence that might limit our belief in our own ability to be impact players.
Fundamentally, Wilson’s remarks should resonate with all of us, as we all have the ability to educate ourselves further on issues related to mental health and we can all be compassionate, other-minded and sensitive to those in need.
I encourage you speak with your son about service, mental health and his ability to be an impact player both within and beyond the UCC community.
Thanks for reading,