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2009 Commencement

Commencement 2009

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News & Events

Commencement 2009
Brock to attend Salzburg Seminar
Warren Wilson: the man behind the name
Mountain Green Sustainability Conference – June 24, 2009
In the Media
Show your WWC pride
Links

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Commencement 2009

“Just another day in paradise.”

Those words from an early arrival nicely summed up the setting for the 2009 Warren Wilson College Commencement. After a rainy week, the morning of May 16 broke with a blue sky overhead and a warm sun shining on Sunderland Lawn. A large crowd extending beyond the lawn gathered beneath hemlocks and hardwoods to see 156 graduates receive their diplomas, tangible confirmation of four years of Triad achievement.

Jacob Salt, Senior Class Speaker

Senior Class Speaker Jacob Salt (left) and President Sandy Pfeiffer (right).

The senior class speaker was the spandex-clad Jacob Salt, an environmental studies major from New York City. Jake challenged his fellow graduates to “catalyze change on a much broader scale” beyond Warren Wilson. He also noted, in reference to the College’s work program, that WWC graduates are “not afraid of bumps and bruises, as Wilson has given us calluses.”

This year’s main address, titled “A Moment in Time,” was delivered by Ray Anderson, founder and chairman of carpet-tile maker Interface Inc. and often called “the greenest chief executive in America.” Anderson took the gathering on what he described as a one-mile walk through time on planet Earth, noting that Homo sapiens appeared on the scene only during the past .7 inch of the mile-long timeline. Even more recently, he pointed out, was humans’ discovery of oil, leading to what he labeled as the “great carbon blowout.” As a result, Anderson said, Earth’s “sixth mass extinction is under way, but this one is different. You might say that we’re tripping on a hair at the finish line and perilously close to ruining the whole walk.”

But Anderson also said that he is hopeful about the future, even if “I cannot say that a new wisdom has permeated our culture,” because change has at least started. “I had not a clue [about the environment] 50 years ago,” he said, referring the late 1950s when he was a young graduate of Georgia Tech. But in 2059, he said, the Class of 2009 can talk about “how you turned it around in your day.”

This year’s Pfaff Cup Award, the College’s highest student honor, went to Lauren Kriel, an English/theatre major from Springfield, Ill. Emily Brigham, a biology/environmental studies major from Charlotte, received the Sullivan Award in recognition of spiritual qualities applied to daily living. Other award recipients included Catherine Reid, faculty member in the Undergraduate Writing Program, for Faculty Teaching Excellence; and retiring staff members Buz and Marilyn Eichman, from Electrical and Student Life respectively, for Staff Teaching Excellence.

Brock to attend Salzburg Seminar

John Brock, Ph.D., chemistry department chair, has received a Mellon Fellowship through the Appalachian College Association to attend the Salzburg Global Seminar Session titled, “Greening the Minds: Universities, Climate Leadership and Sustainable Futures.” Brock says the workshop will help incorporate energy use and climate change into Warren Wilson’s academic curricula. During his earlier career at the Centers for Disease Control, and since his arrival at Warren Wilson eight years ago, Brock has coauthored more than 50 articles. Although he now teaches broadly on environmental issues, his own research has focused on the relationship between environmental toxins and human health.

Brock has devoted much of his career to studying the unhealthy effects of human exposure to phthalates, a series of chemical compounds used widely in cosmetics, children’s toys, and many household products. Thanks in part to the scientific efforts of Brock and his former colleagues at the CDC, there is now a federal law banning certain phthalates in children’s toys.

Warren Wilson: the man behind the name


Warren Wilson

Next time someone asks you, “Who’s Warren Wilson?” you’ll know what to say.

Warren Hugh Wilson (1867-1937) was born near Tidioute, Pennsylvania. He graduated in 1890 from Oberlin College and moved to New York City where he became the first secretary of the YMCA and edited its magazine, The Intercollegian. While serving at the YMCA, Wilson became acquainted with James B. Reynolds, the social reformer, and Jacob Riis, a progressive young reporter for The New York Sun who would later become well-known for his improvement of slums in New York.

In 1891 Wilson entered Union Theological Seminary in New York. While at the seminary he also took geology and criminology courses at Columbia University. One of the criminology courses was taught by Franklin H. Giddings, who held the first chair in sociology in any university in the world. After graduating from seminary in 1894, Wilson went to work full time in Quaker Hill. From 1899 to 1908, Wilson served as pastor of the Arlington Avenue Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn. While there he entered Columbia University to study for his doctorate under Giddings. Wilson's doctoral thesis has been described as constituting "the first studies in the sociology of rural life in America."

Warren Wilson received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1908 and that same year joined the staff of the Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as one of two superintendents in the Department of Church & Labor. In 1901 he became superintendent of the Department of Church and Country Life. Wilson's tenure at the Department of Church & Country Life came at a time when there was a rising concern for rural life and a growing rural church movement.

Warren Wilson died just prior to his 70th birthday on March 1, 1937. In 1942 the Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) closed its Dorland-Bell School for Girls in Hot Springs and merged the school with the Board's Asheville Farm School. The Board decided to honor the life and work of Warren Wilson by naming the new school The Warren H. Wilson Vocational Junior College, which later became Warren Wilson College.

Mountain Green Sustainability Conference – June 24, 2009

This year’s Mountain Green Conference features experts in architecture, development, energy, and construction to discuss best practices. A professional vendor expo will include displays of the latest green technologies. The keynote will be delivered by NASCAR driver Leilani Münter.

In the Media

The Changing Face of North Carolina–Working Caregivers
By Social Work professor Alison H. Climo

Katie Spotz ’08 trains for solo ocean crossing

Study documents new, rare creatures in Smokies

Hoopla for health

Ex-convict celebrates college graduation, a new life

Show your WWC pride

Visit the campus bookstore online to shop for WWC T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and other college flair.

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Links

Inside Warren Wilson College

Events Calendar

Owl & Spade

Catalyst – environmental news

Physics Photo of the Week

The Story Behind



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“True Life: I'm A Warren Wilson Student”

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(828) 258-4521

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