Graduating with an advanced degree requires an immense amount of effort and countless hours. Yet according to Dr. Esther Myers, a 1989 doctoral graduate and the 2011 Alumni Fellow, it is a privilege.
As the Fall 2012 commencement speaker, Myers congratulated the 336 master’s and 50 doctoral graduates for their hard work and for joining a small segment of the U.S. population who had earned an advanced degree. The 2011 U.S. census data shows that 8% of the population over the age of 25 has a master’s degree and between 1-3% have a doctorate degree.
As part of this elite group, Myers challenged each graduate to:
- fulfill an obligation to society and his or her profession,
- find joy in work, and
- strive for balance in life.
Perhaps the best example of achieving these challenges can be found in the four graduate faculty members honored as University Distinguished Professors during commencement. University Distinguished Professor is the highest honor the university can bestow to recognize outstanding contributions to teaching, research and service. The four award winners were: Christer Aakeröy, professor of chemistry; Itzik Ben-Itzhak, professor of physics; Sue Brown, professor of biology; and Ruth Welti, professor of biology.
Based on the achievements of the recipients, it is clear each individual has made significant contributions to advancing science, is passionate about the work he/she does and strives to achieve balance in life. They are definite role models for the Fall 2012 graduates.