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Lazaridis School of Business & Economics
WestJet co-founder urges Laurier graduates to live life with passion
Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
WATERLOO — WestJet Airlines co-founder Clive Beddoe urged graduating students at Wilfrid Laurier University’s fall convocation Friday to embrace life “with all the passion, energy and enthusiasm you can muster.”
Beddoe attended the morning session of fall convocation to receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from the university.
Laurier business professor William Morrison, who read the citation honouring Beddoe, said that in addition to creating a successful airline, the Calgary entrepreneur’s greatest legacy “has been the development of a cooperative corporate culture, where ownership and profit-sharing rewards initiative, teamwork and hard work.
“With WestJet,” said Morrison, “Mr. Beddoe has shown how entrepreneurial talent and leadership can create sustainable mutual benefits for shareholders, employees and customers alike. He provides a worthy role model for the business leaders of tomorrow assembled here today.”
In his own remarks, Beddoe said he would try to provide the audience of business and economics graduating students with the kind of advice he wished he had had at their age.
First, he encouraged them to embrace the next period of their lives “with all the passion, energy and enthusiasm you can muster.” He said “determination” is a quality that will take them far in life, but he cautioned the new graduates not to let their “drive” for success distort their judgement and ethics.
Second, Bedoe urged them to develop and hone their “people skills” because these soft skills amplify an individual’s technical skills and knowledge. “This is as true in business as in any walk of life,” he said. “This is the success of WestJet.”
Third, Beddoe commented on the “rampant greed” that contributed to the recent meltdown in financial markets and the resulting global economic downturn. As future business leaders, “I encourage you to make sure such greed and excess never happens again.”
Beddoe concluded by congratulating the graduating students, and closed his remarks with a final bit of advice: “… and party like heck tonight!”
At the afternoon session of convocation, three Laurier professors were honoured. Political science professor Thomas Hueglin was honoured as the University Research Professor for 2009-10. Also, awards for Teaching Excellence were presented to physical education and kinesiology professor William McTeer in the full-time category and PhD candidate Lisa Funnell in the teaching assistant category.
A total of 1,030 Laurier students graduated Friday. The morning convocation included graduates of the School of Business & Economics. The afternoon ceremony included graduates of the faculties of Arts, Science, Music, Social Work, Education, and Laurier Brantford and Waterloo Lutheran Seminary.