By Elizabeth Murphy

Anne McKay is modest about her achievements, but there is no hiding the Philosophy student’s most recent win. McKay, who is graduating on Nov. 10, has been awarded the prestigious Chancellor’s Medal presented to a graduating undergraduate student of outstanding academic achievement.

The recognition was a surprise for McKay, who is attuned to all that she still has left to learn and explore.

“I think in philosophy that’s an easy position to have because the questions never end,” she says. “You’re never finished.”

“The fact that I have been recognized is really nice,” McKay adds. “I’ve worked very hard and I think that being a mature student helps. I was there, not for the credential or the awards, but for the pure joy of learning, self-fulfilment and self-improvement.”

Following McKay’s retirement and with her family grown, she decided it was time to go back to school and tackle the philosophical complexities she had long pondered in an academic setting.

“The time just came where I needed to explore these thoughts,” says McKay, reflecting on her decision to enrol. “That’s it – I’m doing it.”

McKay’s passion lies in the classics discipline – turning over many of the same questions and critical positions great thinkers have discussed throughout the ages.

The classes early in her program were instrumental in setting the stage for her educational journey. In particular, a key course on critical thinking explored some surprisingly faulty thought processes.

“I think that class should be compulsory for absolutely everybody in university as a first-year class, regardless of their discipline, because it is very enlightening.”

For mature students thinking of returning to school, McKay advises that the transition is not as challenging or intimidating as they may otherwise believe. Without the same societal expectations placed on students entering university from high school, the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake can be an advantage in academic achievement.

“Just know that you are doing it for yourself this time. I think that makes the biggest difference.”

Fall Convocation is taking place on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. The ceremonies will be broadcast online via live streaming at

Friday, November 2, 2018 in
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