Serving Others Gives Us Life: STU Celebrates Summer Convocation

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Life is about more than a lengthy list of accomplishments on a CV. It's about embracing humanity and serving others.

This was the message Rev. Dr. Carol Finlay delivered as she spoke to the more than 100 graduates who were receiving a Bachelor Arts, Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Social Work, and Certificates of Native Language Immersion Teaching at Summer Convocation.

“The secret I want to share with you is that serving others is also a gift to oneself. It fills one with a bubbling up sort of joy. It gives us life,” she said.

“Don’t be too eager to embark on plans for a lifetime career. Or writing up that CV to get ahead. Take time to ask what is the meaning of my life? What purpose do my few short years here on planet earth have? How can I best use these years - and how can they be used in service to others? Ponder these questions.”

She added that the graduates should still aim to excel professionally in whatever field they pursue, whether it be in education, social work, business, or law. But that they should not forget their humanity.

“Go and be the very best in your field but the question is: how can I use this work, the gifts I’ve been given, to serve others? Will I be the businessperson who puts people ahead of profit; will I be the teacher who stays behind to give extra help, or the doctor who lingers by the bedside,” she said.

Dr. Finlay received an honorary doctorate from STU for her work as an educator and advocate for marginalized people. In 2008, she founded the Book Club for Inmates which puts books in the hands of prisoners who, in small groups facilitated by volunteers, discuss the ideas, themes, and messages of the books. BCFI operates 33 French and English language book clubs for thousands of incarcerated individuals in minimum, medium, and maximum-security facilities from Nova Scotia to British Columbia.

Helping Countless Individuals Find Their Voice
Class valedictorian and education graduate Kayoe Stewart also spoke about the importance of serving others during the graduates' future teaching careers.

"We have all become professionals with values and goals that, without a doubt, will inspire and influence others in our communities. We have found our true calling. We are where we belong and the work that we do is going to help countless individuals find their own voice," the Fredericton, NB native said.

"We now have the skills to play an essential role in guiding others to discover their own potential. To be their compass when the future seems hazy. To be their anchor when they are pulled in all directions within their schools, families or communities."

Honouring Faculty
St. Thomas University honoured Education professor Dr. Sharon Murray during the ceremony with the University Service Award, which recognizes contributions to the university, the professional field, the faculty association, or the community.

University Medal
The University Medal for Academic Excellence in the Bachelor of Education Program was awarded to Stephanie Ferguson, who is from Fredericton, NB.

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Summer Convocation Photo Gallery