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Valedictorian  Address Summer 1994
DeVry Institute of Technology

President Dean Charran, Fellow Graduates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

A year ago, when I was in the 5th Semester, I saw a large portrait of the Valedictorian in the hallway and I wondered what would it be like if I could be the Valedictorian at my graduation. At the time the thought was mere wishful thinking ... but here we are, three semesters later, my wish has been granted.

I am tremendously honoured to have been selected to deliver this address on behalf of the Summer 1994 graduates. To my classmates, I express my deepest gratitude for considering me worthy of nomination.

There were four other highly deserving nominees from the Technology, Technicians and Business Operations graduating classes. Each of these nominees would have been an excellent choice for delivering the Valedictory speech. It is my pleasure to acknowledge their presence among us and to share this honour with them.

As I call out their names, may I ask them to please rise, and remain standing until all four names have been called;

please let the cameras take your pictures.

Nominated by Electronics Engineering Technology graduates,
the past president of DeVry Students Activities Committee:

Rajendratdat Tulsi

Nominated by Electronics Engineering Technician "Q" graduates:

Joe Pelligra

Joe says that his classmates are a wild bunch, but they are also great guys.

Nominated by Electronics Engineering Technician "P" graduates:

Anjelo Leva

Nominated by Business Operations graduates:

Jackie Williams

Congratulations Jackie, Angelo, Joe and Rajendratdat.

Fellow graduates, remember

"We are serious about success"

Okay, okay ... I know what many of you want to say ... we can talk about that later.

This afternoon, as we celebrate the successful completion of up to two-and-half years' effort, we must recognize a special group of individuals to whom we owe our success, more than any other group.

These are our parents, our spouses, our sons and daughters, our girlfriends and boyfriends, who had to endure our absence from their midst with the feeling that we were ignoring them. My wife often teased me that she was losing me to my new girlfriend, the computer.

As we struggled to complete abnormally large volumes of assignments, these individuals provided us moral support, and exercised tolerance of our unpredictable behaviours. Many, like my sons, had to work extra hours to provide financial assistance for our upkeep. These parents, spouses, sons, daughters, girlfriends and boyfriends are here this afternoon. Many others have not been able to attend but they are thinking of us at this moment wherever they are.

May I ask those who are present here to please rise to acknowledge our profound gratitude for all that you have done to make this day possible.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Ask our instructors, they are all here, we have been an interesting bunch of students. Like high school students, we performed our silly antics: we slept through some lectures or skipped school on Mondays and Fridays, we borrowed our classmates' work as short cuts to meet deadlines.
For some of us, scoring high marks was important, and so we pleaded with our instructors and even tried to charm them into being lenient when grading our assignments.

All that is behind us, and we must now look to the future.

I feel it is appropriate that at a distinguished forum such as this convocation, we the graduates should respectfully provide some feedback, in the form of suggestions, to the administration and our instructors.

Needless to say that, for any institution of learning, there are three major elements that keep the business going:

the administration,
the faculty of instructors and
the students,
each element an expert in its own sphere and each confident that the other two will play their parts effectively towards achieving a common goal. Each element should have the opportunity to voice its opinion as to how the other two elements are performing.

There is one thought that the graduates would like to leave with the faculty of instructors and DeVry administration. While your approach to expose the students to the widest possible spectrum of subjects is excellent, there is room for adjustment in the way these courses are distributed over the 5 to 8 semesters. In our opinion, too much is packed into the final semester.

Fellow graduates,
When we leave here this afternoon, we will be on our own in the wide world that is experiencing recession. The economists and the politicians can argue about whether the recession is over or not; whether the industrialists and the business community have as much obligation to create employment as the government. Our challenge is to ignore those arguments and concentrate on a single track: become gainfully employed.

Take a good look around you: consider yourselves as budding technologists, technicians, business operators and systems analysts within the DeVry Institute family. How can these family members become gainfully employed? Experts say that one of the best ways to find employment is through networking. Set up networks among yourselves, notwithstanding that you will be competing against one another; keep in touch with your instructors; join trade associations; and keep chasing DeVry's Graduate Placement officers.

Remember DeVry's motto, "We are serious about success". Our success story will be complete when all of us find gainful occupations.

Many of us came to Canada in recent years searching a brighter future. And believe me, we came with some excellent personal skills; but in order to join the Canadian workforce, we were required to prove that we could fit into an environment where personal skills had little value, and where technology was replacing the individual. We chose to widen our skills and joined DeVry.

Now that we have the skills that an industrialized country requires, we should ask the question, "Where can these skills be employed?" If we are lucky we will find the jobs we want here in Canada. If not, then we should have contingency plans in place. My advice to fellow graduates is that we should not narrow down our options by being inward looking. We should consider our skills in the global context and look towards the non-industrialized countries around the world. Even giant corporations cannot survive within their own countries unless they gear their operations in the global context.

Fellow graduates,
By exposing us to what is current in computer systems, business operations and technology, DeVry has provided us the foundation on which to perfect our skills and build our future. I am confident that we can go out there and prove our potential to the satisfaction of most organizations. Remember, that we live in a world of meritocracy and the more we know, more frequently will doors open for us in the marketplace.

At this juncture, I would like to quote what His Highness Prince Agakhan IV had said to a group of students a few years ago, I quote:

"I am now deeply convinced that man's position in Society, wherever he may be, will depend less upon his culture or family heritage and more on the power and development of his mind."

And as Mr. Baree said few moments back, the process of learning never ends, it is continuous.

As we go away our separate ways after these ceremonies, many of us go with memories that will make us smile or cause us to frown. One that will make us smile is that famous expression of an instructor, "Ok guys, let us go ... write a little program". One that will make us frown is that nagging feeling that instructors were particularly lenient when grading the assignments of their favourite students.

Collectively, our instructors have been a fine bunch, not wild like us students. As a CIS graduate who had no programming experience before coming to DeVry, I wish to single out one instructor who taught many like me the ABC of programming. This instructor also gave us the final nudge into the realities of real-life systems development. Josie Anagbogu, your kindergarten students have finally graduated.

Fellow graduates, please give Josie a big hand.

As a faculty assistant it was a pleasure to work with Colin Penney for whom I graded English language assignments. Colin, I can now spell ‘truly’ correctly.

My classmates will occupy a special place in my memory land. It will be practically impossible to forget those who fondly addressed me as grandpa and 'gramps'. There is one graduate among us who, for three semesters seriously believed that one of my classmates was my granddaughter, and spread the word around the college. Now do I look like grandpa to you? I think I am barely 25 years old.

Fellow graduates, congratulations on your success. Let us go out there and show the world what DeVry graduates are capable of.

Thank you.

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