Kemptville campus class of 2012
Choose job content over salary and be prepared to work hard, graduates told
By Brandy Harrison
KEMPTVILLE — It’s getting to the point where people struggle to change a light bulb and that makes a technical education more valuable every day, the 73-year-old founder of Lee Valley Tools and Veritas Tools told 121 graduates from the Kemptville campus of the University of Guelph on May 25.
In his address to students, Leonard Lee, the chairman of the Ottawa-based woodworking and gardening tool company, stressed his informal education growing up on a Saskatchewan farmstead, where his father, a carpenter, built his own granaries and chicken coops.
"If anything is broken, you can repair it with wire and pliers and if you find yourself in deep difficulty, try a hammer and nails. If that doesn’t work, just use a bigger hammer," Lee said, drawing laughs from the crowd.
Lee would turn his woodworking hobby into a business and says those early experiences gave him the confidence to get there. He encouraged the graduates to take what they’d learned and do the same.
"Always choose job content over salary. You’ll be far happier when you come home at night," he said.
But it won’t be easy, cautioned equine graduate and valedictorian Anneke Miedema, who fondly reminded her classmates of late-night runs to Tim Horton’s and the eye rolling she shared with friends at the constant mention of quota and colostrum.
"We’re going to have to work hard for what we need, sacrifice what we want, and persevere through the challenges. However, we are more prepared now than we ever will be to face our fears head first, with the love and support of those around us and the knowledge that we stand together, united in the passion for the work that we do."
The graduates included:
Agri-Food Leadership: 6
Agriculture, Equine Option: 14
Food, Nutrition, and Risk Management: 10
Horticulture Technician: 7
Agriculture and Heavy Equipment Technician: 20
Diesel Equipment Mechanic: 2
Industrial Welding and Fabrication: 13
Horse Industry Technician: 16
Graduates with distinction (80 per cent average or higher): 39