By Steph Crosier
Charles Benson told Loyalist College grads to follow their dreams, stay involved with the community and remember there are no limits.
“You can go wherever you want to,” said Benson. “You may run into roadblocks, you may run into brick walls, but you back off, push, and you keep going. There are no limits, just what you impose on yourself.”
Benson gave the convocational address at the 44th Loyalist College convocation ceremonies. In an interview after the ceremony, Benson explained his message to the grads.
“Go out and follow your dreams, pursue them, make sure that they happen, get involved in your community, as well as in your work and go forward,” said Benson.
Benson was student #001 in 1967 and he has stuck with the college ever since. After graduation he worked in the registrar’s office and made his way up to college bursar. Throughout the years he stayed heavily involved in the community as well as outside of it with the United Nations where he coordinated an international pilgrimage for Youth.
What really inspired Benson though, are the challenges in his life that he had to overcome. In 1989, he was diagnosed with kidney disease, and this past January he received a transplant from his son.
“It’s shaped me in a way, because I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to let it beat me,” said Benson. “And so, therefore, it’s made me want to help others as mentors who are in the same situation. And encourage them to believe as well.”
After speaking about the challenges in his life, Benson encouraged the grads to always believe.
“Over the years I have learned to believe in my dreams and to pursue them,” said Benson. “I recommend that you do the same.”
“You already have everything you need to made it in this world. If you believe that your diploma is the end of study or a step across the finish line you are missing the point. This education is a gift you will be unwrapping for the rest of your life.”
As well as giving the convocation address, Benson received an honorary diploma in applied arts from the Loyalist College board of governors.