Class of '17 Joins ESF Alumni Ranks
Degrees and ESF flags in hand, graduates celebrate accomplishments
Posted May 2017
ESF's Class of 2017 joined the ranks of alumni Saturday, May 13, outfitted with their academic degrees and ESF flags to take with them on their adventures.
The college conferred approximately 400 degrees during Commencement exercises at the SRC Arena and Events Center in Syracuse.
One of the focal points of the ceremony was the speech by student speaker Abhinandan Mehra of Gurugram, Haryana, India, the first international student to be chosen as student speaker.
Mehra declared himself "as Indian as it's possible to be" but said he would always be one of the Mighty Oaks - "a grateful student of ESF first."
Mehra said the warm welcome he received on campus is the reason he was able to thrive during four years far from home. He told his classmates they leave ESF at a time of crisis, facing a world that is skeptical of science. But he said the graduates take ESF with them as they face the challenges ahead and he urged them to be eager to serve the world.
Presidential Medal recipient Preston Bruenn '86 said the world needs solid science and trained professionals to meet growing conservation challenges. Bruenn is a legacy member of the Camp Fire Club of America, which helped establish an endowed conservation professorship at ESF. Bruenn's advice to the Class of 2017 was to set goals, never stop learning, give back to their community and use the ESF education as a foundation for the rest of their lives.
A full list of students honored during the ceremony is available here.
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- Dr. Nancy MathewsEducational leader
- Holly AndersenReshaping a campus through sustainable construction
- Wendy AndringaLandscape architect thinks vertical with Green Walls
- Robert W. HargroveDirector EPA's NEPA Compliance Division
- Zachary WentworthLawyer
- Howard "Bud" RisRetired president of Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) MLA, 1975
- Matt RayoSyracuse Common Councilor
- Ana Maria MenezesUnited Nations Consultant
- Stephen KayGolf course architect
- Delfin Ganapin Jr. Global Manager of the UN Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Program
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- Scott FonteDirector of aquaculture for Aqua Vita Farms
- Mary GiffordInternational Experience
- Anne PapageorgeVice President of Facilities and Real Estate Services, University of Pennsylvania
- Matthew Thornton Peace Corps Volunteer
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- Joe MartensCommissioner of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
- Don MooreSmithsonian National Zoo
- Nicole FormosoLandscape Architecture
- Andrea VanBeusichemMontezuma National Wildlife Refuge
- Cariann QuickDirector of Government Relations, SUNY Student Assembly
- Scott KasprowiczBroke circumnavigation record - One stock helicopter, two guys, 15 countries, 24 time zones, 23,000 miles, in less than two weeks.
- James "Jake" McKennaOwner of Parsons-McKenna Construction Co.
- Jeff LyngColorado Governor's Energy Office
- Ronald J. Eby, Ph.D.Renowned researcher
- Robert R. PageFoundation director for the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation
- Col. Richard P. WagenaarCommander and District Engineer, New Orleans District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Peter J. GabrielsenChief hydrologic services for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service
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- Bruce BrownellOwner of Adirondack Alternate Energy (AAE) in Northville, N.Y.