MARGARET FRAY: Everyone, please take your seats. And please welcome the faculty of the college led by Dean Alan Mathios.
The guests are in their places, the faculty are in their places, and the graduates are in their places. It's time to begin.
[APPLAUSE AND CHEERING]
I am Margaret Frey, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs in the College of Human Ecology. I am pleased to welcome you to the Human Ecology Commencement Ceremony. We hope you're having a great weekend in spite of our usual Ithaca weather.
This is the time for our college community to celebrate the success and future of the graduates, and for us to recognize each graduate. A special thanks to the Human Ecology Commencement Committee led by Jessica Potter and Tracy Thompson, who arranged this event. I also thank the many members of the Human Ecology staff who have volunteered for this event and makes it possible today.
Now it is my honor to introduce Alan Mathios, the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean of the College of Human Ecologist. I'm sorry. College of Human Ecology. OK. Dean Mathios is an economist and a professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management. His research focuses on regulatory policies and consumer and firm behaviors.
Dean Mathios is an award-winning teacher and advisor who also served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in PAM. Prior to becoming dean in 2008, he served as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in Undergraduate Education and as the interim dean of the college. Among his many affiliations and activities beyond human ecology, he co-chaired Cornell's Middle States Accreditations steering committee and helped guide Cornell to its successful reaccreditation.
The students, faculty, and staff benefit tremendously from Dean Mathios' leadership, enthusiasm, scholarship, and dedication. I've had the great privilege to work with him and to introduce him at this and other significant events. This one is particularly special, as it is Dean Mathios' last commencement speech as dean of the college. Please join me in welcoming him to the podium.
[APPLAUSE AND CHEERING]
ALAN MATHIOS: Thank you all so much for that kind introduction. And I'm really glad we're indoors, and that I have a dry sense of humor.
So before I give my remarks, I have a great honor to introduce our student speaker, Irene Liu. Irene is a global and public health sciences major hailing from Arcadia Los Angeles County, California. She has one younger sister, Elaine. She is the proud daughter of Nancy and Peter, wherever Nancy and Peter are. And also has a delightful pug, I'm told, who unfortunately could not make it to Ithaca for graduation.
Irene is committed to reducing health and social inequalities, both domestically and internationally. She has had the opportunity to go to Mysore, India, with the Cornell Global Health Program to learn more about maternal health, and to Guatemala to establish a partnership with a grassroots organization focused on promoting research and development.
Another one of Irene's passions is criminal justice reform. She has volunteered with the MacCormick Juvenile Detention Center, has been a teaching assistant with the Cornell Prison Education Program, has conducted research to assess the conditions of confinement in detention facilities, and has had an active role in Cornell Cooperative Extension projects that support recently returned citizens with the goal of reducing recidivism.
Irene is also involved in the Cornell community where she was a TA for courses in both biochemistry and public health, a resident advisor, a sister of Alpha Epsilon Phi, a server at Taverna Banfi's, and a division of nutritional sciences student advisor. She has received a number of awards and recognitions, including the Florence Halpern Award, as well as the Class of 2018 award. In her free time, which doesn't exist, she enjoys hiking, baking, and apologizing profusely to her friends for having no free time.
[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]
IRENE LIU: Hi, everyone. Thank you so much for being here, and for everyone who was in Schoellkopf Field earlier. I hope you had fun at the Cornell commencement pool party of 2018.
Thank you so much, Dean Mathios, for the kind introduction. I'm so honored to be here, and I want to thank everyone for making this amazing day possible. Thank you to all the Human Ecology faculty, especially Professors [INAUDIBLE], Jeanne Moseley, and Chris Wildeman, and the Global Health Program for giving me so many incredible opportunities and wonderful guidance.
Thank you to all my friends who have made this experience here invaluable, and for always encouraging me to get that second spinner. If you didn't already know, a spinner is a cross between a burrito and a panini, and it's amazing.
Thank you, Linda, Mike, and Sam Katz for making Upstate New York feel like home. And most importantly, thank you to my parents, grandma, and sister for their unconditional love and support. Thank you guys for flying all the way from California. I know it's 80 degrees and freezing, but I promise, it'll be over soon.
I wanted to take this time to highlight how amazing our graduating class is, and how our four years here will impact our lives. It's so incredibly inspiring to see my friends and classmates stand up every day for the causes that they believe in. In today's world, there are a lot of bystanders and enablers and toadies and apologists who create an atmosphere in which people can mistreat others with impunity, and we are not those people.
Students in Human Ecology have been deeply involved in incredibly important organizations such as Cornell Thrift, Cayuga's Watchers, Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures, and the Women's Research Center. They have engaged in research both domestically and internationally, examining everything from childhood under-nutrition in Moshi, Tanzania, to occupational health risks of long-haul truckers in Wyoming. I could just go on forever, just listing off all the amazing things that my peers and friends and classmates have contributed to.
While working in Mysore, India, myself last summer, I saw how important it is to always strive to make the world a better place. Everyone at the NGO I worked with was passionate, loved what they were doing, and truly cared about the people they served, just like everyone here.
I know that we will wield our privilege as Human Ecology graduates to effect positive, thoughtful change, as we have learned to do in this college. Human Ecology has taught us how to write papers and give presentations and collaborate with our peers on group projects. It's taught how to maneuver a building in VR that was made to make you late for class, and how to do a cost benefit analysis. Do I get one big spinner or two mini spinners?
And most importantly, how to truly listen and care. We will choose to live our lives actively and critically, rather than passively and mindlessly. I'm so proud of us, and I'm so proud and grateful for this school and this college for giving us the tools to make the world a better place. And now wikiHow, how to write a commencement speech, tells me that I have to end my speech with a call to action, and I will. Class of 2018, we did it!
[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]
Let's go get our diplomas, get our hugs and kisses, grab a spinner, and it says here, go out to enjoy this beautiful summer day, but you know, get dry, go out to enjoy this beautiful rainy Ithaca day. Thank you very much.
[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]
ALAN MATHIOS: By the way, when I started as dean, I was reading at 11 font, and now I'm at 18 and still need my reading glasses now. Wow. Welcome again. As dean, there is really no greater honor than to be the person that formally ends your time at Cornell. And this year, as Margaret Frey mentioned, we share a special bond, for this is my final year as dean of this truly amazing college. And so we are together experiencing a life transition.
Now when I was-- this sounds really strange-- but when I was 11 years old, I was 11, and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed and walked on the moon. And even as a kid, I remember thinking what it would be like to have reached the peak of your professional life with still so many years to follow, as they were pretty young when they did that.
Well, being dean of this college has been my walk on the moon, for whatever follows for me cannot be matched by the passion I have for this college and for the students, for you, who make this place tick. You, the students, and the entire Cornell community-- the faculty, the staff, the alumni, the friends-- you have made this the highlight of my academic journey, and I cannot thank all of you enough.
And today, the students and I share another common question that we're all tired of answering. What's next? Well, I am confident that each of you will find your walk on the moon. It may not end up with a place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Yes, because so many people watched the moon landing, Hollywood had to do something, because it was a television entertainment event. And so the Apollo astronauts that landed on the moon now have a place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, though instead of stars engraved in the walk, it actually takes the shape of a moon.
Now many of you probably will not have your name engraved in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Instead, what I know is that your impact will be engraved in the hearts of the people that you will touch and help throughout your lives. And how do I know this? Well, let me go against the common wisdom today of telling you to be in the moment. Instead, I want you to think about your past experiences and also the future with me.
So sitting among you are recipients of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence, the Merrill Presidential Scholars, the recipients of the Florence Halpern Award. That award recognizes innovative projects beyond campus that initiate social change. Among you is a winner of the Cornell University's Relations Campus Community Award, a recipient of the Student and Community Excellence and Engagement Award for an international community project in Ghana.
You studied abroad by focusing on design, fashion, nutrition, policy, tomography, public health, and other topics at sites in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and Latin America, just to name a few. You also examined issues of great concern to New York and local communities, and generated new knowledge for the public good. You analyzed health, environmental, and family policy, visited schools and homes to study child development, conducted cutting-edge fiber science research, and studied how smart facility design can promote healing and patient satisfaction.
These were just a few of your research activities. And as a group-- and I'm really proud of this-- as a group, you carried on Human Ecology's longstanding record of engaging more undergraduates in research than any other college, Cornell college or school. So congratulations to you.
And you contributed to the life of the college and the university and the local community through participation in student government, pre-professional organizations, community service organizations, the Human Ecology Ambassadors Program, my own Deans Advisory Council-- thank you for doing that-- as well as athletics, Greek life, and other interests too varied and diverse to try to capture in a few words. You also put on one fine fashion show. Come on, here--
[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]
And for the first time, sold out Barton Hall. Awesome. Yes. Way to go. The faculty and staff have only known you for a short time, and seeing all that you have done and learned in such a compressed time is extremely impressive. These accomplishments were done with the collaboration and support of the world-renowned faculty and talented staff. So graduates, please give the faculty and staff a round of applause.
Now if our lives are a story or a book-- now I should have changed it from a convocation speaker to a film-- if your lives were a story or a book and each year a chapter, then for most of you, we have shared only chapters 18 through 22 together, or even fewer chapters for our transfer students.
ALAN MATHIOS: Yeah. And for others, we have shared a different set of chapters, as many are receiving graduate degrees or earning their undergraduate degree later in their life story. Whichever years we have shared together, we all know that your success has been fundamentally tied to the beginning chapters of your story. And for many of you, those are years zero through 17.
You arrived at Cornell eager, confident, adventurous, hardworking, and committed to excellence, thanks to guidance and involvement by so many. So let's give a round of applause to those who scripted those beginning chapters that set the stage for the rest of the book. The parents, friends, relatives, and everyone here celebrating with you.
Now as dean, I have great foresight into how your stories will develop, and I didn't go to the crystal ball that's in the rare manuscripts collection for this. How do I know this? How do I see your future?
Well, as dean, I spend a good amount of time learning about the stories of our Human Ecology alums. Over my 11 years as dean, I have had the privilege of hearing thousands of phenomenal stories of how our alums are impacting people's lives soon after graduation and throughout their entire careers. So I thought I would just give four quick chapter updates-- and they are quick-- from our alumni community to show how our past graduates are touching the lives of so many, knowing, knowing for sure that their stories will become your stories in the years and chapters that follow.
Lauren Braun is nearing chapter 30 in her story. She designed a simple bracelet that is saving the lives of children across the globe. While she was a student, sitting right where you are, she developed the idea of a bracelet to remind parents to vaccinate their children during a 2009 summer internship at a public health clinic in Peru.
She went on to launch a nonprofit organization called Alma Sana Inc. to put her idea into action. Last summer, Alma Sana received a share of a $1 million grant from GlaxoSmithKline and Save the Children to roll out the bracelet in Nigeria where vaccine-preventable diseases account for 30% of the deaths of children under the age of five.
The organization also worked with public health clinics in Peru and Ecuador to study the bracelets' effectiveness. In a study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 91% of mothers said the bracelets helped remind them of their children's vaccination dates. Our work is truly making a difference.
Another influential alum, James Pitaro, is experiencing chapter 48, and he's impacting us in a very different way. Formerly Chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, he is now president of ESPN, and Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks.
Jimmy's journey to Disney and ESPN began in Human Ecology. During his junior year, he had a life-changing experience while in the Cornell in Washington program. After one of his classes a professor he admired guided him to think about law school, and those discussions with his professor led him to pursue that path.
Jimmy's career had taken twists and turns over time. He went on to law school, practiced law at several New York law firms, served as Vice President head of Yahoo! Media, and before that, another company called LAUNCH Media. Then on to Disney and his current role leading ESPN.
Now here's a really interesting fact, I think, about Cornell and Cornell education. Jimmy joins a few other Cornellians at the height of their respective sports field. There's Rob Manfred and Gary Bettman, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League respectively, and Mark Tatum, Deputy Commissioner of the National Basketball Association. And Cornell does not have a sports management program. Go figure, and go Big Red.
Also in the middle of her book is Neysa Etienne. Neysa is a major in the United States Air Force, functioning as the Primary European Command Survival psychologist where she leads post-isolation support and provides reintegration consultation for numerous people released from captivity, including civilians of coalition partner nations.
In addition, she is actively involved in planning and preparing for the negotiated release of varied individuals being held captive across the globe. Of her role, Neysa says, "The mission of personnel recovery is noble and just. I work daily with the silent heroes of our nation, helping to bring our people home."
Here at Cornell, Neysa earned a bachelor's degree with honors in human development, and over the course of her career, she has worked for the Department of Corrections, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and now the Department of Defense. In 2016, she was distinguished as the Air Force Medical Services Officer of the Year, and currently serves as the President of the Society for Air Force Psychologists.
Neysa shares that she has routinely relied upon her knowledge, skills, and abilities fostered during her time at Cornell and in Human Ecology as the foundation for all her success, particularly noting Human Ecology's emphasis on the complex relationships between human beings and their environments. Go Neysa.
The last alum I want to talk to you about is a remarkable woman named Lucy Jarvis, chapter 101. Now what's amazing about this story is what she's worked on is still one of the most pressing issues today. Bioethics, health disparities, and all these things that so many of you are interested in.
Last year, we hosted her centennial birthday party with her, along with the President's Council of Cornell Women. It was a great event. Lucy was the first female producer in prime time network television. She won an Emmy, one of many, for a documentary on the Kremlin after being the first Western filmmaker allowed inside its walls.
She was the first woman and one of only a very few Americans who was knighted by French president Charles de Gaulle. In 1965, Lucy produced a documentary entitled Who Shall Live? A landmark investigation of the medical, moral, and economic issues surrounding the use of artificial kidney machines. The broadcast sparked a firestorm of controversy over whether lifesaving treatment should only be limited to those affluent enough to afford it, and it is considered one of the cornerstones of today's bioethics movement.
As a result of that film and the debate it stirred, the federal government made funding available for artificial kidney machine centers throughout the country, prompting the National Dialysis Committee to state, "Each new patient treated with the therapy of dialysis will owe some portion of their life to the camera and cutting shears of Lucy Jarvis." Lucy received her degree in nutrition in 1938. Wow. Awesome.
Now why did I tell you those stories? I told you those stories because those stories will, again, become your stories. I know that some dean many years from now will be inspired by and impacted by your stories and your walk on the moon.
It is difficult for all of us-- very difficult for all of us to put your current stories aside as we say goodbye to you. As the chapters of your life play out, please stay connected. Yes, you can do that by making sure you like us on Facebook and all the social media venues, but that's not enough. We want to see you again in person. We want to know your stories up close, and we sincerely, sincerely hope that the chapters of your life are filled with immense joy and happiness. Congratulations, class of 2018.
MARGARET FRAY: We will now proceed with the presentation of the graduates.
This is a pretty easy crowd. We will present the students receiving graduate degrees grouped by degree and department. Next we will present the students receiving bachelor's degrees who will be grouped by major. After I introduce each student, the graduate will cross the stage and be greeted by a faculty member from their program. Then Dean Mathios will congratulate them.
A professional photographer will take a picture of each graduate as they are greeted by the dean. Graduates will receive a congratulatory certificate. The actual diplomas will be mailed.
The dean will be available in the stage area for individual photos after the ceremony. If you are taking additional photographs, please do not impede the work of the professional photographer or the flow of students in the aisle. Please follow the guidance of our staff so everyone can proceed smoothly and safely.
Before I begin reading the names, I would like to extend a special congratulations to those graduates whom I've gotten to know through the years and through my classes, research work, and college activities. Because my job is up here to read the names and keep the flow of graduates moving, I'll save my personal hugs and greetings for after the ceremony. As I call your name, please know that you have my warmest congratulations and best wishes.
We'll now award the degrees for the master of health administration. Greeting degree recipients is Sean Nicholson, Director for the Sloan Program in Health Administration.
We will now award graduate degrees for the Department of Policy Analysis and Management. Greeting degree recipients is Michael Lovenheim, Director of Graduate Studies.
We will now award graduate degrees for the Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design. Greeting degree recipients is Professor Susan Ashdown.
We will now award graduate degrees for the Department of Human Development. Greeting degree recipients is Anthony Ong, Director of Graduate Studies.
We will now award graduate degrees for the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis.
Greetings degree recipients is Nancy Wells, Director of Graduate Studies.
We'll welcome Anthony Ong back to the stage.
Greeting the graduates for human development is Professor Eve De Rosa, Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Greeting the degree recipients for biology and society is also professor Eve De Rosa, Director of Undergraduate Studies for Human Development.
We will now award the degrees for design and environmental analysis.
[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]
Greeting the degree recipients is Professor Ying Hua.
We will now award undergraduate degrees for nutritional sciences, human biology, health and society, and global and public health sciences. Greeting the degree recipients is Pat Cassano, Director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences.
We will now award the degrees for policy analysis and management.
Greeting the degree recipients is Tom Evans, Director of Undergraduate Studies.
We will now award the degrees for fiber science and apparel design.
Greeting the degree recipients is Professor Susan Ashdown.
Congratulations. I present to you the class of 2018. Congratulations.
[APPLAUSE AND CHEERING]
Whoo! Before we close our ceremony with the alma mater, I want to thank you for coming to our celebration, and wish you a wonderful weekend and smooth, safe travels. To our graduates, congratulations, best wishes, and please do keep in touch.
[APPLAUSE AND CHEERING]
We are ready for the alma mater. We've done this many times this weekend, so we should be able to do this very well. The words to the alma mater are on the back page of your program, and it is my pleasure to introduce the graduate who will lead us in the singing of the alma mater, Anita [INAUDIBLE].
[APPLAUSE AND CHEERING]
ANITA: (SINGING) Far above Cayuga's waters, with its waves of blue, stands our noble Alma Mater, glorious to view. Lift the chorus, speed it onward, loud her praises tell; Hail to thee, our Alma Mater! Hail, all hail, Cornell!
Far above the busy humming of the bustling town, reared against the arch of heaven, looks she proudly down. Lift the chorus, speed it onward, loud her praises tell; Hail to thee, our Alma Mater! Hail, all hail, Cornell!
[APPLAUSE AND CHEERING]
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Commencement ceremony for Class of 2018 graduates of the College of Human Ecology, held on May 27, 2018.