Office of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor

[Principal and Vice Chancellor]
[Principal and Vice Chancellor]

Celebration of Service dinner 

Remarks to honour some of the university's longest-standing employees at the annual Celebration of Service dinner 

Where: Ban Righ Hall dining room 
When: May 12, 2015

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  • Thank you…and good evening, everyone.
  • I hope you enjoyed the dinner.
  • It’s always a great pleasure to spend the evening in the company of a group of people who have given SO many years of service to Queen’s.
  • There are 154 of you being recognized this evening – each one of you has worked for this university for 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 or 50 years.
  • That is a remarkable accomplishment – especially in an era when (at least according to Forbes magazine) the average person stays in each of his or her jobs for an average of 4.4 years.
  • The number is even lower for young people, who average about three years per job, and who expect to have between 15 and 20 different jobs over the course of their careers.
  • By contrast, you have worked a collective – wait for it – 4,680 years!
  • That is no small feat.
  • Over the years, you have witnessed thousands of students arrive at Queen’s as nervous first-years, only to see those same students launch themselves into the world as confident graduates.
  • Over the years, I’m sure you’ve seen colleagues come and go as well.
  • Universities can be, as we well know, fairly transient places.
  • But as you have demonstrated, they can be stable ones, as well.
  • The nice thing about being at one place for a long time is the opportunity to really dig into it.
  • You understand Queen’s culture in a way that few others can.
  • You have seen it grow and change right before your eyes.
  • Here on campus, you have witnessed empty lots morph into new buildings, wrapped your heads around new and ever-changing technologies, and seen fashion trends come…and go.
  • Together, you are the keepers of vital institutional memory – and for that, we are very grateful!  
  • The essayist, poet and lecturer Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that the purpose of life is “not to be happy” – he felt, instead, that the goal was to “be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
  • I’m not sure I agree with him on not being happy – but I do agree about the importance of living well and making a difference as a result of it.
  • No matter WHEN you got your start at Queen’s, I hope that you feel that your time here has been well spent.
  • I know for certain that your contributions have made a difference.
  • Thank you to each and every one of you for your commitment and your dedication to our community over the years. 
  • I also want to acknowledge the various family members who are here with us tonight.
  • Thank you for the role you play in supporting these accomplished staff and faculty members.
  • Congratulations to everyone, and enjoy the rest of the evening.