Greetings from Hong Kong.
I am visiting with McMaster Engineering alumni individually and during an event tomorrow at The Racing Club in Happy Valley. By the end of my four-day visit, I will have met with about a hundred alumni and well wishers.
What strikes me is the number of alumni we have spread all across the world. This is indicative of the global knowledge society. As this society flattens our world, our graduates become more mobile – provided that they are competitive.
It is important in that context to recognize that the value of the education that we provide is to not only enhance employability but that our graduates must urgently learn to innovate and ride the waves of imminent disruption. They must be able to use their knowledge to provide value to those processes and products that improve the human condition.
Our world faces many common challenges though the impact of climate change, the need for inexpensive and sustainable energy, responsible land use during agriculture, the influence of chronic and infectious diseases on individual and public health, the availability and quality of water, diminishing biodiversity and ecosystems, and growth through competitive economic development. Our graduates must recognize that these challenges do not exist in silos but are profoundly interconnected.
I hope to point that out during my various meetings and the talk I will give tomorrow. If the past is any indication, engineers can help create a brighter future. It’s something to hope for.