June 9, 2021
CC: [0:00] Text: Graduates 2021 Congratulations
[0:07] Hi I’m Mathieu Blanchette, the new director of computer science at McGill University. On behalf of our previous director Professor Bettina Kemme, and of the entire school, I want to congratulate you for successfully completing your computer science degree. You made it through what was perhaps the toughest time to be a student since World War II. Despite the immense challenges caused by COVID, you found a way to make it work. Of course, our professors have spared no efforts to adapt your teaching and supervision; but the biggest adaptation had to be on your side. Working on a tiny makeshift desk in your bedroom, or in a noisy common space shared with family members, or on the contrary, all alone in your apartment away from family and friends. The fact that you’ve made it work speaks of your resilience and adaptability; those are traits that you will be able to build upon for the rest of your life.
[1:03] Now that we are hopefully seeing the end of this difficult period, the world is awaiting and needing you. You will be the people defining tomorrow’s society. Many people are concerned with major impeding issues like climate change, also inequities, and pandemics. I am actually not too worried, McGill computer science students are known around the world as problem solvers. No matter what the future will throw at you, you are equipped to deal with it; so I know that our society will be in good hands, with you as leaders.
[1:36] Of course, your experience at McGill extends much beyond your classwork by participating in student societies, the helpdesk, programming competitions or research projects, you have not only enriched your own experience, but also built a network of friends. You should work hard to stay in touch with them, they are as valuable as your degree itself. At McGill we have worked hard to make computer science as broadly accessible as possible. This year your cohort is larger and more diverse than ever. With good representation of people from different backgrounds, genders, and interests. We hope that you will help perpetuate this trend by working towards fostering this diversity in your own professional activities.
[2:25] This year again, we can’t have in-person convocation. I would have loved to see you all in person and give you an elbow bump, but time is near where this will be possible again. As you know, McGill is turning two hundred (200) this year, but did you know that the school of computer science is actually celebrating its own fiftieth (50th) birthday? Be on the lookout for events around this in the coming year.
[2:51] Graduating from McGill is a huge achievement, today, you make your family and friends particularly proud; but your professors, lecturers, and TA’s are equally proud of you. So once again, congratulations for your degree and best of luck in your endeavours.
[3:08] Text: thanks for watching! Congratulations Graduates 2021. Message from the Director of Computer Science McGill University. [END of video]
Dear Class 2021,
Félicitations and congratulations on your graduation from McGill with a degree in computer science! This is truly something to celebrate and be proud of. This year almost 60 students graduate with a major concentration in computer science/software engineering from the Faculty of Arts and over 200 students graduate with a BSc in computer science/software engineering from the Faculty of Science -- this is 22% of the graduating class in Science! I am particularly proud that 35% of this year's graduating class are women -- this is compared to 20.6% of women graduating with a CS degree in North-America. Bravo and caps off to all of you!
I invite you to check out our School of Computer Science Graduation page (see above) where you find a congratulatory message from Prof. M. Blanchette, the Director of the School, together with a collage of all the professors in the School of Computer Science who are cheering for you!
Computer science truly impacts every facet of our lives -- it "is eating the world" around us. We rely on algorithms and software when buying or borrowing books online, streaming music or movies, ordering food, groceries, and meals, managing our finances, filing our taxes, checking our medical records and test results, and booking vaccine appointments. During the last year, our lives moved online, we zoomed from one class, to office hours, to happy hour with our friends. The world around us is powered by computer science -- without the algorithms, software, and technology that we as computer scientists develop and build, we would not have weathered the pandemic as well as we did. This is an exciting time to graduate in computer science given the vast amount of truly exciting opportunities this degree offers. You can shape what the world around us will look like for decades to come!
Graduating from McGill is quite an achievement. I hope that you take a moment to celebrate and be proud of what you've accomplished. Too often, we get caught up in the moment. Time moves on and the next adventure already awaits. The past year, I am sure, has been exhausting and you probably have imagined it differently. But hopefully with some distance, you look back to your studies and cherish how far you have come and how you perservered. Over the past year, I have been inspired by many of you -- besides juggling learning and studying online, many of you participated in various research projects working closely with professors in the department on cutting-edge research questions, shared your knowledge and passion as a teaching assistant or a tutor for the Computer Science Helpdesk, and signed up as mentors for incoming students through the newly formed mentorship program that CSUS created! You pulled together, helped each other, and you truly exhibited the McGill spritit: "By work all things increase and grow".
As a memento we will be creating a virtual Yearbook for the graduating class 2021! To participate, I invite you to upload a picture of yourself and provide us with some basic information at:
We will then prepare and share the virtual Yearbook of the graduating class 2021 with you towards the end of June and post it on our SOCS website to show how proud we are of your achievements! We hope many of you participate -- so help us spread the word and let your friends know about this initiative!
Myself and many of my colleagues sincerely hope to be able to celebrate this milestone with you in person during a convocation ceremony in the near future! We are eager to hear about your next adventures and achievements and share with you how our department has grown over the past decades! The School of Computer Science will also celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2021 and we hope that you will be able to join us! Sign up to get more updates on the event:
So, congratulations again to you! This is only the beginning.
Brigitte Pientka and Joseph Vybihal
Co-Chairs for Undergraduate Affairs
Dear Grad Class 2021,
We are deeply thrilled to address you in this momentous occasion when you are graduating from McGill with an MSc or PhD and looking forward to your next academic and life adventure. Congratulations and all the best wishes! We are immensely proud of you! Although as a school we produce graduates every year, you are very special because of the extraneous circumstances you had to face while completing your program.
The graduate program at the School of Computer Science at McGill is extremely selective with less than 10% of the applicants getting into the program. Not only have you succeeded in getting into the program, you have also completed it successfully. This is undoubtedly a tremendous personal achievement.
This year, we have about 20 students graduating with a MSc or PhD and we are happy to note that about 30% of that are women. We have more work to do to increase diversity within our graduate program. We hope to have your continued engagement with the school through our alumnus programs and to help us achieve our diversity targets.
Hamed, myself and our colleagues in the school wish you all the best and hope to join you in person at the convocation ceremony in the near future! We would be delighted to remain connected with you and hear about your next adventures and achievements and share with you how and what we are doing. The School of Computer Science will also celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2021 and we hope that you will be able to join us! Sign up to get more updates on the event:
Hamed (The PhD Chair)
Mahesh (The MSc Chair)
All graduating students at computer science will receive a congratulatory email that will include a link to a form asking you to provide information about yourself and a photo in order to create a virtual graduating student slideshow.
For those interested in participating, the slideshow will be available for viewing and download on this page beginning in July.
Congratulations again, class of 2021!
Last, but not least, below is a collage of all the professors in the School Computer Science that you can print to serve as a memento celebrating your achievement and time at McGill.