Also addressing the graduating class was Kate Heller
’15 M.E.M., who reflected on the life and rituals of the F&ES community, its “capacity for joy,” and the unifying elements of this tribe that will keep its members connected into the future.
At its best, she said, people at F&ES are united by “a commitment to life,” a shared but sometimes undefinable pursuit.
“If we do the work that’s cut out for us right and well, it will be hugely challenging,” she said. “Nothing we make or do will come out perfectly. There are few right choices from here on out; there are just choices. But, if we choose to continue to further life, then that will always be the right choice...
“To my mind, a commitment to life is the most noble, invigorating and humbling commitment we can make. Our vitality is shared. My life is enriched by yours. However our paths may weave, it is my hope for us all that in our work, as in our rituals, we celebrate the great flourishing bounty of life.”
During the ceremony, Gina LaCerva
’15 M.E.Sc. received the inaugural William R. Burch Prize
. The prize, which is named in honor of the founder of the School’s influential Tropical Resources Institute (TRI), honors the best paper written by a TRI Fellow. It includes a $1,000 cash prize.
’15 M.E.Sc. was presented the Strachan Donnelley Student Award, which is awarded to the master's student whose combination of coursework, research and leadership best blends the humanities with ecology and evolutionary biology in order to develop relationships between humans and nature, promoting long-term health, social justice and sustainability.
Watch the F&ES Commencement ceremony