SPEECH BY DR BRIAN MAY
on occasion of the Liverpool John Moores University Graduation Ceremony
Wednesday 22 July 2009 (afternoon ceremony)
at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral
PROF FRANK SANDERSON: I call upon the Chancellor, Dr Brian May, to address the assembly
DR BRIAN MAY: Vice Chancellor, distinguished guests and distinguished members of the Board. Graduands. Mums and Dads of graduands. Spouses of graduands. Potential spouses of granduands. Children of graduands. Welcome to you all
It’s with great pride that I speak to you as Chancellor of this great university, and I have to say I’ve been doing it a little while now, but I get a huge rush still, standing up here and being a part of this – this ceremony of celebration. Because that’s what it is. It’s total celebration. That’s what we’re here for.
It’s not so long since I got my own PhD from Imperial College. I went back as a mature student after an absence of about 30 years doing other things, and I was very proud to get my PhD on that day, and so the memory of actually being a student is very fresh in my mind, and it’s actually not a very nice place to be .
As a student you’re subject to immense pressures and immense demands are made of you, and you’re constantly being judged by people, who you can’t judge back. It’s a difficult place to be, so I really appreciate what you’ve been through, and I know that we all get times when we think “My God, I really, really don’t want to be doing this any more”.
And the achievement really is getting through those times – getting back on the horse – taking up the challenge – and I’m very happy to celebrate with you the fact that you actually did get to the finishing line. I congratulate you all.
Michael has talked to you about the motto of the University, dream, plan and achieve – and if you’ve got this far this won’t be the first time you’ve heard those words.
I completely endorse them and that’s the way I’ve run my life, but I would like to add a little bit to it. Michael has added ‘Integrity’. I would like to add another word which is ‘Joy’. I would say add enjoyment to what you do, and without enjoyment, without appreciation of life as it is in this moment, life is not very much really, no matter what you’re achieving.
So I would say, dream plan, achieve and enjoy. Look around you constantly, and ask yourself are you grateful? Are you feeling joy in what is happening to you at this moment, ‘cos if you’re not, there is probably something wrong.
We all achieve best if we are loving what we’re doing. So to me, I would add that in
This is a time for rejoicing, of course. It’s a very special time and we should enjoy this particular occasion – this particular moment.
My graduation ceremony was very stiff, ‘cos not all universities are like this. You know, we were told that we mustn’t applaud; we mustn’t make a noise. Let’s just get on with the ceremony. Well, I’m here to tell you with the full permission of the Board that this occasion, when your spouse or your son or your daughter or your dad is getting the award, it IS an occasion to rejoice and it will be completely appropriate to clap and cheer and make a noise, and, if you absolutely have to get up and dance and punch the air, I’m sure we can accommodate that as well.
Enjoy! This is a great moment.
Graduands, I’m very proud to be amongst you. I look forward to shaking your hands and looking into your eyes individually.
Congratulations all. God Bless