I'm grateful for universities and one university in particular, the University of Guelph.
The U of G has been a touchstone throughout my life. My parents are Guelph alumni along with two of my siblings, my wife, daughter and many other members of my extended family. I spent my career as an educator and administrator employed by the university. Friendships I cultivated as a student and employee continue to enrich my life.
Universities are not perfect places. They struggle with bureaucracy and funding issues that impede creativity and progress. Universities operate on a medieval faculty and everyone else hierarchy that is dated. While the tenure system protects academic freedom, it also shelters incompetence and laziness.
A university education is not for everyone. I have witnessed first hand the waste of time and money when uninspired students enrol in programs of study they had little or no interest in. But I also witnessed the tremendous personal, professional and intellectual growth that the university environment provides to students who are passionate about seeking knowledge and understanding of things.
Universities are centres of innovation and discovery critical to society being able to face challenges like climate change, environmental degradation, population growth and hunger. They are islands of free thinking and creative collaboration in a world that seems to becoming more and more anti-intellectual and ignorant.
I am grateful for universities and the intellectual ideal they represent.