FULL TEXT: Principal Des Rosiers’ Speech at Installation Ceremony

FULL TEXT: Principal Des Rosiers’ Speech at Installation Ceremony

Installation Speech – Ethics, Community and Leadership
October 8, 2019

Elder Sault, Chief Laforme, President Gertler, Visitor McLachlin, Your Excellencies, dear Friends of Massey,  distingués invités, chers amis.

C’est un grand honneur pour moi d’être ici devant vous, en tant que la nouvelle directrice principale de Massey.  As I stand here, very happy and very honoured, I first want to recognize the duties that we have toward the  Mississaugas of the Credit. I want to thank them and express my desire to pursue our on-going friendship and partnership. Migwetch.

I want to thank President Gertler, for his presence today, and for his on-going and tangible commitment to Massey College.

Thank you also to previous heads of College, especially Principal Hugh Segal who is with us today. I have also received good wishes from both Ann Saddlemyer and John Fraser, who were not able to join us. President Lenton, from York University and President Lachemi from Ryerson University also send their good wishes to Massey on this occasion.

Je sais que je suis la première francophone à occuper le poste de Directrice principale de Massey College et j’en suis très fière.  Over the years, I know that many francophones have attended Massey and many do so now.  I am very proud to bring to Massey a reflection of this dimension of our Canadian national identity.

Massey is home to Junior Fellows from across Canada and internationally, and Senior Fellows, Journalism Fellows, Visiting Scholars, Quadranglers and Alumni also extend around the world.

Massey is unique in the Canadian intellectual landscape. It offers a lot not only to its own community, but also to those who look to Massey to advance interdisciplinarity, a leadership of ideas, creativity and innovation.

I have organized the occasion of my Installation under the theme of “Ethics, Community and Leadership” to help me articulate how I see Massey pursuing and realizing its mission — which, as you know, is “ to nourish learning and serve the public good.”

Let me first highlight the great strengths of Massey:

Recently, at a Senior Fellows’ lunch, I suggested that “if Massey did not exist, we would want to invent it”— because as a community, it responds so well to current academic challenges.   While universities often struggle with interdisciplinarity — with disciplines colliding and competing — Massey has embraced interdisciplinarity  since its inception.   It is in the very fabric of the college.

While many universities grapple with their relationships to the applied world, and facilitating access to employment for their students, Massey embraces these challenges through its intergenerational exchanges, its accomplished Quadrangle society, and its formal and informal networks.  Finally, all universities seek to remedy the sense of isolation that students often experience, particularly at the graduate level; the Massey community organically, zealously and intuitively responds to this imperative. I see it every night.

Massey makes a significant contribution to the well-being of graduate students; and in turn, our Fellows sustain and grow the Massey legacy.

Massey also benefits from dynamic partnerships, such as the famous CBC Massey Lectures. I am keen to continue to develop  many valuable partnerships. One collaboration currently in the early stages of development is a Massey College Panel at the Stratford Festival Forum .

We know that Massey recruits the best and the brightest graduate and professional students who, no doubt, will be leaders in their respective fields.  So we must provide them with an environment of knowledge, and a foundation for  confidence in their ability for meaningful  action, and for all their ambitions.

All my life, I have been motivated to build communities of learners, and I am passionate about supporting academic ambitions and meaningful academic projects.  The thrust of universities, to seek knowledge through study and creation, through critical peer engagement, continues to be what humanity needs, particularly during precarious times.

There is no future for a world without ideas, and without the rigorous pursuit of truth. This is why universities matter, and why Massey matters.

Along with Massey’s great strengths come great responsibilities.

Massey was conceived of as an “elite” institution.  It is therefore incumbent upon its community to live up to its  inherent responsibility.  Hence the  theme, “Ethics, Community and Leadership” — which, for me, is a crucial way to continue to actualize the mission of nourishing learning and serving the public good.

I believe that serving the public good requires that we be present in the world; that we engage with difficult and troubling issues; that we push ourselves to find solutions to difficult problems; and that we do so by leveraging the interdisciplinary assets and intergenerational energy and wisdom among us, and make this contribution available to the public.

Earlier today, the panel at the Rosalie Abella Moot Court Room spoke to current ethical challenges facing our society. We had a compelling conversation among the audience and with our panelists: Tracey Lindberg, Christine Karcza, Molly Shoichet, Daniel Weinstock, and Michael Tulloch — thank you, all, for lending your voice and insight. We discussed the ethics of Reconciliation, the challenges of accessibility and inclusion, of community building, of scientific research and engagement and commercialization. This panel was the first in a series I will convene over the coming year; I am grateful to those of you have been so generous in your support, allowing this conversation to continue.

For me, this is a way to empower our Junior Fellows: by providing an ethical framework for their action in the world, whether in the academy, or in the public and private or the non-profit sectors.  For me, this ethical framework is more than guidelines for mitigating conflict of interest and teaching integrity and honesty. It is about being curious, engaged, other-centered, courageous , able to inform oneself and assess critically one’s role.  I wish for an ethical framework for Massey that is based on knowledge of the world, empathy for all, and the courage to act.

This is how Massey College must carry its responsibility; this is how we continue as a meaningful institution in the XXIst Century.

Selon moi, une action collective pour Massey lui permettra de se définir davantage sur la place publique.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a vibrant community to sustain Massey.  For the last couple of months, I have been very impressed by the level of interest and commitment that the community has displayed for the work of Massey, and for its future.

Thank you for your generosity toward the College, and for your contribution toward its continued success.

Le Collège Massey est une communauté unique qui doit se faire connaître et agir comme une communauté ambitieuse, prête à servir son pays et le monde.     J’ai bien hâte de continuer de travailler avec vous.

Today, in front of you, I promise to do my best to carry the mission of the college to nourish learning and serve the public good, with all my energy and good will, in a spirit of transparency and collegiality.

Je vous promets mon appui à vous tous et toutes;

I promise to continue to support a competitive and inclusive recruitment, financially accessible, and to ensure that the benefits of Massey are shared by all deserving students;

I promise to continue to invest in the mentoring ethos of Massey, informal, magical, serendipitous, but also deliberate and organized around joint and collective projects;

I promise to continue to invest in this magnificent architecturally renowned building so that it can continue to inspire future generations.

And I promise to continue to support this great community of scholars, a fellowship of dedication, of ideas and ideals.

I trust that because of your love for Massey, I can count on your support.  Longue Vie au College Massey!

Merci, Migwetch, Thank you.