Larry Smith, an adjunct associate professor of economics at the University of Waterloo and president of Essential Economics Corporation, was presented with an Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies degree during Conestoga’s Convocation ceremonies on June 6. Smith was recognized for his outstanding achievements and leadership in education and service to support business and community development.
Throughout his tenure, Smith has taught and counselled more than 23,000 students and worked with 500 teams of student entrepreneurs. He has also been honoured with the University of Waterloo’s Distinguished Teacher Award.
“Larry has long been a great supporter and advocate of Conestoga, our programs and our students,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits. “His analysis of the college role and impact on the local workforce has been instrumental in raising our profile in this community. He continues to be a valued advisor and mentor, contributing his clear vision and unique perspective to support key college initiatives.”
During his address to graduates, Smith discussed the influence technology has, and will have, on the workplace and encouraged graduates to prepare for technological changes and shifts in labour market conditions by pursuing skills training throughout their careers.
“There certainly is no question about whether change is coming. The question is your response to it … over the next several decades you will need to retrain yourself, you will need to reeducate yourself, you may wish to upgrade your skills, you may wish to reorient your skills, you may wish to make an evolution in your career altogether. So from time to time you will come back and we will be here,” said Smith, noting that Conestoga has been a key player in the region’s economy and serves as the primary trainer and educator for the local marketplace.
In closing, Smith congratulated graduates on their achievements and reminded them to look to the accomplishments of Conestoga's alumni for inspiration.
“The alumni of this college - I’ve gotten to know many of them, I know of many others. They are men and women of accomplishments of the widest range. They hold management positions in multi-national corporations, they are strategically important employees in a whole range of companies and industries,” said Smith. “They start their own companies that thrive, they provide community leadership. I have watched all this talent deliver benefit to the marketplace, and to society, again and again. They did it, they did it over time, they did it over decades. They should inspire you to do the same.”
The full ceremony, including Smith’s address, is available online (advance recording to the 1:28:00 mark).
Almost 4,600 new Conestoga graduates will be recognized at seven Convocation ceremonies between June 5 and 8.