8 years ago I graduated from Durham College in Ontario, Canada. This year, I was asked to return and teach for the exact same program I graduated from, Advertising. At this year's convocation, I was asked to be the guest speaker. Here is my speech.
It's a big time at NASA. Scientific probes are sailing through our solar system, gathering legions of data and amazing photographs. Rovers are crawling all over intriguing extraterrestrial bodies, boring little holes into their surfaces and gathering samples.
For most of my career, I've been a trend spotter, sometimes referred to as a futurist. I've divined trends for companies seeking to innovate; anticipated consumer appetites; and kept pioneering brands ahead of the pack.
We're all going to be eternally disappointed that we'll never read Margaret Atwood or David Mitchell's newest story. But this project is as close to a guarantee as we can get that someone, maybe our own children and grandchildren, will read a little piece of our present.
You almost have to be lost to find it. And even then, if you don't know in your bones what you're looking at, you might not realize what you've found. The first time I saw the place, half a dozen years ago, it was hidden by scrub pines.
Our Harvard degrees matter, yes, but for reasons I feel are under-emphasized. It is true that some employers, neighbors, and people sitting next to us on airplanes react strongly to "the H-bomb," as it has so affectionately been called.
It is said that beautiful objects in art, in design, in furniture, in fashion, in poetry are all an extension of the human spirit's need and search for beauty. Art takes us through the tunnel of life to lightness and joy.
If I could wrap my arms around this house, I'd thank it for letting us become grandparents, for allowing us to grow old together and eventually, for giving me the strength in it's soul to grow peace in mine.
Embracing these last couple of weeks is difficult to do if we are constantly criticizing, quantifying the validity of our experiences by counting the number of "likes" on our Instragram photos, rather than internalizing our own happiness.
What might the future of higher education look like? This new world of higher education will have fewer institutions serving larger numbers of students. The focus, however, will not be on the institutions themselves but what happens (or does not happen) in the classroom.
On my way to visit my student pulpit in Ohio several years ago, I helped a man dressed in traditional Hasidic garb with his luggage. After thanking me politely, he turned to me and asked, "Are you Jewish?"
Some might suggest that it is the charisma, success or personalities of my Muslim friends that draws me to their words. Yet, I think this understates the meaning of the progressive and distinctively American form of Islam that they articulate and live out.
Over the last few years, I've received various reactions from the public about my articles on transhumanism. Those reactions have ranged all across the board--from spewing hatred to mocking skepticism to genuine interest.