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Quentin Wheeler Installed as ESF’s Fourth President

New era for college celebrated
9/12/2014

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ESF faculty and delegates from academic institutions in full regalia processed from the ESF campus to Hendricks Chapel to the strains of "Scotland the Brave" to herald the inauguration of ESF's new president, Dr. Quentin Wheeler.

Wheeler was installed as the fourth president in the institution's 103-year history Friday morning (Sept. 12) in the presence of members of the college community, family and friends.

"We have no doubt you are the perfect fit for ESF. In the six months you've been on campus you have lit a fire in the academic heart on campus," said Peter "P.J." Connell, president of ESF's Undergraduate Student Association, in his greetings on behalf of the student body.

Said ESF's past president, Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr., "Enjoy the adventure before you. Make your mark, always put the students first and let's continue to grow this extraordinary institution."

In his inaugural address, Wheeler acknowledged ESF's deep commitment to the environment, saying that ESF is uniquely positioned to solve the environmental challenges, such as natural resources exploitation, climate change and degraded ecosystems, that face the world today.

"The ESF community, with its passion for the environment, small and nimble size, access to America's great experiment in conservation - the Adirondacks - and networked with the great institutions of SUNY, is perfectly poised to create a new vision, take necessary risks, and become a model institution for the confrontation of this new generation of problems," he said.

Wheeler issued a challenge to the ESF community: "I challenge our dedicated and creative faculty and staff to redesign the ESF Experience for undergraduates, creating a unique and comprehensive set of classes and experiences … that fully prepares the next generation of environmental leaders. … Let's compile a list of learning outcomes that distinguish our grads from all others, and that stretch the normal definition and boundaries of education."

The responsibility to be good stewards to the planet doesn't end with ESF students. Wheeler implored all those attending to get involved, "Environmentalism - having a concern for the status and welfare of the planet you live on - should not be a controversial or partisan thing, but a responsibility eagerly shared by all," he said.