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Bruin blue and gold produce green graduates

There are college graduates who claim they will impact the world, and then there are true game-changers—those who will actively respond to a call to action, and play a part in safeguarding our environment.  Seventy-eight enthusiastic environmentalists represent the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability Class of 2012—a group ably prepared to create a sustainable future.

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Amid an assembly of graduation caps decorated with recycling logos, butterflies, a globe with a smiley face, and even an idyllic woodland scene with deer, Institute Director Glen MacDonald began the ceremony by declaring commencement to be the pinnacle of the academic year. Recounting a recent alumni survey, he informed the audience of close to 500 family and friends of the graduates that an impressive percentage of IoES alumni are either employed or pursuing an advanced degree.

The Institute’s new Associate Director Mark Gold, formerly of non-profit Heal the Bay, introduced Commencement Keynote Speaker Terry Tamminen, President of Seventh Generation Advisors and former Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency. Immediately following his keynote address, Tamminen departed for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. 

“Look at the crowd,” said Tamminen, “and you’ll see true diversity: different genders, ages, and ethnicities; all backgrounds are represented. People from all over the globe will solve the world’s environmental challenges.” Tamminen’s speech addressed the phenomenon of eco-amnesia, remarking that the cure for this ailment is to abandon old ideas and open the mind to new concepts. He concluded that at this moment it is our obligation and opportunity to shape our future before it shapes us.  To read his full speech click here.

tor zipkinGraduating senior Tor Zipkin delivered the Student Address. By evoking the image of a canvas, he developed a metaphor for the college experience of a constantly evolving painting.  He spoke about how the Practicum in Environmental Science helped students navigate the daunting task of creating something from scratch, in this case original scientific research. Zipkin said the teamwork component helped make the portrait more beautiful. He finished by describing what the Environmental Science degree experience looks like on a canvas: a gorgeous, vibrant forest painted in deep greens. To read the full address click here.

The speeches were followed by the awarding of various honors. Certificates of Appreciation were given to the Education for Sustainable Living Program (ESLP) Leaders. ESLP Faculty Directors Professor Carl Maida and IoES Academic Director Cully Nordby bestowed certificates to Chelsea Williams, Erin Berlin, Nina Gupta, Claire Josephson, and Jasneet Bains.

Environmental Science Practicum Coordinator, and one of the Institute’s most popular professors, Dr. Travis Longcore, presented three awards. Justin Penn received the Academic Achievement Award. The Outstanding Service Award was bestowed on Sirena Lao, with Honorable Mention awarded to Dennis Mabasa.

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Finally, the eager group of students were conferred their Bachelor of Science degrees in Environmental Science.  Turning their tassels, the new alumni called for the famous UCLA 8-Clap:

“U-C-L-A. Fight! Fight! Fight!”

Graduates of the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability are fighters. As consultants, engineers, scientists, educators, policy-makers, activists, entrepreneurs, and in other roles, they will lead the charge on important environment and sustainability enterprises.

Congratulations to the Environmental Science Class of 2012!

To view additional photographs from commencement check out the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability on Pinterest.

To watch the graduation ceremony click here.