Graduates, Parents, Families and honoured guests.
It is with a joyful heart that I welcome you here today in person to celebrate the Class of 2022. I don’t know if this is the Class that will see the end of the pandemic but it is certainly the class that has brought us together again.
Artist, inventor and futurist in his day, Leonardo da Vinci said, “In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time.”
You, my dear graduates, appear before us in this moment like water passing through. You sit here in this present time embodied with all the joys and the sorrows, the highs and the lows of a remarkable past – a time in your lives and a notable time in the history of our beloved Trafalgar. And when you leave today, these past years will be carried with you but also within you, like a gift that you can unwrap again and again over the months and years ahead, with each unwrapping bringing you back to this time and place in your memory.
We are blessed today to have you here with us in this moment, the last of your moments here but also the first of your moments that will flow into what is now your future. You are leaving us for a journey that will at times meander playfully like a babbling brook and at other times will rush you along with rapid-like force. Strong currents, rough seas and roaring waterfalls are sure to be in your future. But like water – the elixir of life – remember that you are composed of elements that have the capacity to sustain you and also to sustain others. In short, you have the capacity to make a difference and to do good at a time when the world surely needs more good to be done.
Next September, when you sit in your lecture halls in cities and towns around the world, please remember that we remain with you. Determination, imagination, resilience, kindness and insight will be yours to draw upon because these are the things you are going to carry with you on your travels. These are the things that embody the history and the present of Dear Old Trafalgar. And these are the things that now embody you.
As we prepare to say goodbye to let you continue on your journey, I will leave you with one final thought about water. I will leave with the thoughtful words of Lao Tzu: “Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.”
Farewell Class of 2022. Be well. Be brave. Endeavour. And remember, Trafalgar is with you forever on your journey.