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ESF Celebrates December Convocation

President tells graduates, “Embrace opportunity”
12/6/2013

Dr. Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr., presided over his 27th and final Convocation as president of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) Friday, Dec. 6.

Murphy shared with the graduates life lessons he had learned that were not taught in the lecture hall.

He urged the graduates to embrace opportunity. "The passive approach to life's opportunities simply doesn't work. Embrace opportunities and act upon them." He encouraged them to seek out mentors. His first mentor, he said, was his father who fostered Murphy's love of science while sitting at the kitchen table. It was from his father that he learned the third lesson, "respect people."

"It doesn't matter if it's a CEO, a custodian or a parking attendant, they all contribute … they deserve your respect. Without shared respect you won't have an honest dialogue."

He then encouraged them to find someone to love and who will love them in return. He took the opportunity to tell his wife, Joanne, he loved her. "It's a unique opportunity that I can say that from a podium, because today is our anniversary."

Murphy concluded his remarks with a traditional Irish blessing: "May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, the rain fall soft upon your fields and, until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand."

Then, with a hitch in his voice, he urged the graduates to "Go forth and make us proud."

ESF awarded 170 degrees, including 63 master's degrees and 11 Doctors of Philosophy, during the ceremony held in Hendricks Chapel.

Preston S. Gilbert '73 and president of the ESF Alumni Association granted Murphy "Official Status as a Lifetime ESF Alum," joking that it only took the president 13 years to graduate.

Two alumni were honored during convocation.

Robert Kinstrey '67 and Dr. Chin Yang '84 received Lifetime Achievement awards bestowed by the ESF Alumni Association.

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