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Convocation Honors ESF's Winter Graduates

Moore, Cowling receive alumni awards
12/9/2011

ESF celebrated the accomplishments of its final Centennial year graduates Friday, Dec. 9, awarding undergraduate and graduate degrees to scores of students who completed their studies at year's end.

College President Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr., told the graduates they should be inspired by the late Svend Heiberg, an internationally renowned silviculturist who served as associate dean of the College. Murphy described Heiberg as a kind and wise man who was honored throughout the world for his contributions to forestry.

"A strong ethos of his was to be considerate and fair," Murphy said. "He was enthusiastic, creative and inspiring. He was a man of unbounded humanity and unbounded passion."

He said Heiberg, who was awarded the Knight of Dannebrog decoration by the king of Denmark for his accomplishments in his field, provided the graduates a blueprint for success. ESF's Tully campus is named Heiberg Memorial Forest in his honor.

"We wish you all well," Murphy said as he concluded his address to the graduates. "Go forth and make us proud."

In addition to awarding degrees, the College bestowed honors upon two alumni during the ceremony in Hendricks Chapel.

Dr. Donald E. Moore III '76 received the Graduate of Distinction award and Dr. Ellis B. Cowling '54 received the Lifetime Achievement award.

Moore is a zoo-based wildlife biologist, animal behaviorist, and educator, who has dedicated his professional life to improving the care and management of animals in both captivity and the wild. He is currently the associate director for animal care at the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

Moore had advice for ESF's newest graduates: "Keep the fire in your belly."

In the past year, he said, he has traveled to Malaysia to work on habitat preservation for tigers and Asian elephants, the sub-Arctic to work with polar bears that are threated by climate change, and to Argentina to work on issues regarding penguins that are losing their food sources because of over-fishing.

"Whatever your passion is, whatever your discipline is, keep the fire in your belly," he said. "Work with others and go save the planet."

Cowling is a professor and respected researcher in biological, environmental, and natural resource sciences. A 1954 graduate of ESF, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in wood technology and earned a Master of Science degree in forest pathology in 1956.

An expert in the field of acid rain, he was a leader in the development of the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program (NAPAP), which provides reliable continental scale maps of precipitation chemistry in the United States. Cowling helped develop the original draft plan for NAPAP which provided the scientific foundation for the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

Sporting a top hat with his academic regalia, Cowling told the graduates they had attended one of the finest institutions of higher education in the United States. He said his career had been guided by the professors who taught him and that he is grateful for the education he received at the College. He said he and his wife, Evelyn "Bettsy," were both active in Hendricks Chapel activities when they were students. They were married at Hendricks in 1956.

Cowling urged the students to let their careers be guided by their passions. He also advised them to learn to be effective listeners and team players.

"Most of the problems in our society and the world are complicated," he said. "Learn about your strengths and weaknesses and learn about those of others so you can do more for society."


SUNY-ESF
State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
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