A couple of weeks ago I took part in our annual graduation ceremonies at the university, as I like to do every year. I’m lucky in that I’m part of the choir, so I can share in these joyful occasions.
Each year some honorary degrees are awarded to worthy recipients. Some are international figures who have made groundbreaking discoveries, some are top athletes who are involved in charitable works, while others are from the world of entertainment.
This year, the recipient from the latter sphere was Hollywood actor, Alan Alda. This award-winning actor, director, playwright and author was being recognised for his contribution to the field of communication of scientific research. He believes being able to communicate advances in science clearly and free of jargon to be crucial to the understanding of research.
On a personal level, it was a great thrill to be on the same stage as “Hawkeye”, the man who had caused my teenage heart to flutter back in the Seventies. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. And though now eighty-one, there was still the charm and urbane manner you might have expected in his address to the young audience.
He had three main words of advice to get through life for the new graduates, as they go out into the world. Accept; adjust; evolve.
In other words, things will never stay the same, nor even go the way you might like. But if you can roll with the changes, you will succeed.