Centennial Graduates Celebrate at ESF Convocation
Honorary degree bestowed upon Nobel laureate Roger Sedjo
Roger Sedjo, who was honored May 14 with an honorary degree from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, is one of the country's leading economists specializing in forestry issues. He has written or edited more than a dozen books related to forestry and natural resources, and his groundbreaking research and writing on global climate change earned him a Nobel Prize in 2007.
"On ESF's 100th anniversary, I can think of no one better to honor,'' said Dr. Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr., College president, in his introduction of Sedjo at the College's annual Convocation.
Sedjo smiled widely as he stepped to the podium. "This is a terrific day for me, and I am so pleased to receive this award,'' he said. But he was quick to turn his attention to the 2011 ESF graduates - more than 400, in all -- and wish them well in their future endeavors.
They've come this far, he told the graduates, thanks to their knowledge and traits, like organization, time management and focus. Then he said, "But I want to talk about another trait: luck.''
Sedjo recalled a time early in his career, when he was "obsessed'' by skiing. One day, he said, he faced a tough choice: attend a faculty meeting or hit the slopes?
"It has been said that 90 percent of what we as individuals can accomplish can be achieved by showing up.…," he said.
"At that meeting, a huge opportunity arose,'' Sedjo recalled. "If I had missed that meeting, I wouldn't be where I am now. …
"To some extent,'' Sedjo told the graduates, "we can make or influence our own luck."
Saturday's Convocation in Syracuse University's Schine Student Center was attended by a full house of ESF faculty, graduates, families and friends. The procession and program could also be viewed on large screens in an overflow viewing room. The mood was festive as departmental honors were bestowed on top students in each of the College's discipline areas.
Dr. Bruce C. Bongarten, provost and vice president for academic affairs, welcomed the gathering, and told graduates to "savor the achievement of a hard-earned goal attained.''
Murphy told the Centennial year graduates that whether they are embarking on careers or furthering their educations they have a job to do, which is to be both "a candle and a light for environmental consciousness and sustainability issues.''
"Go forth and make your mark,'' Murphy said. "And make us proud.''
By Margaret McCormick