Algonquin College Annual President’s Breakfast
Ottawa, Ontario, Thursday, August 24, 2017
Good morning everyone,
Let me begin by acknowledging that we are gathering on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.
Thank you for inviting me to the annual President’s Breakfast. I’m delighted to be here at this great institution of learning, and to celebrate Algonquin’s new coat of arms at the opening of a new school year!
One of the wonderful aspects of being governor general comes in serving as head of the Canadian Heraldic Authority, which has as its motto: Honorentur Patriam Honorantes, meaning “Let those who honour their country be honoured.”
For the past 50 years, Algonquin College has indeed honoured Canada through its relentless dedication to education—to learning, and to helping us build a smarter, more caring nation.
Today’s breakfast celebrates that achievement, while looking ahead to the next five years. Bravo to you all!
This new coat of arms, speaks to this college’s past, present and future.
Its motto is comprised of the words Caring, Learning, Integrity and Respect—your core values here at Algonquin, and values which are essential to any learning institution today.
One of the great uses of a coat of arms is that it can serve as a reminder of core values in difficult or challenging times, and as a guiding light in times of change. It brings to mind Shakespeare’s timeless lines in Hamlet:
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
This institution aspires to empower people and to be learner driven, innovative, connected and sustainable, and one way you will do that is by staying true to “thine own self”—to those values of caring, learning, integrity and respect.
So I encourage all of you to think deeply about what this coat of arms symbolizes, including the wampum belt which represents the College’s past and future, and a shared understanding and direction.
The coat of arms was created over a period of two years with the input of many people.
- officials and the student population of Algonquin College;
- under the leadership of Ron McLester, the College’s Aboriginal Education Council; its Aboriginal student centre; as well as the Kitigan Zibi Anishnabeg and the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation;
- colleagues at the Canadian Heraldic Authority, including Saguenay Herald Samy Khalid who led the creative process.
So as you can see, this coat of arms is a very carefully considered statement of who you are and of what matters at Algonquin College.
It is a statement of your identity.
In a rapidly changing, challenging world, this is no small thing. The 150th anniversary of Confederation and the 50th anniversary of Algonquin College are opportune occasions for us to ask ourselves, What do we live for? and What do we value above all?
The answers are in this emblem.
I thank you all for your commitment to caring, learning, integrity and respect.
And I thank all of you who contributed energy and ideas to this coat of arms and this 50th anniversary celebration.
I wish you the very best.