Peace! In observance of the International Day of Peace yesterday, our student leaders Danny Keith, Colin Murphy, and Marven Hippolyte organized a tree-planting ceremony in front of our Track Field across Lot 8. Coinciding with the opening of the UMassD Shriners Cross Country Invitational, against the backdrop of student track athletes and their families, we planted a gingko biloba tree in honor of the victims and first responders at the Boston Marathon bombing.
The gingko is widely known as the peace tree, found abundantly in temples in China, Japan, and other Asian countries as a symbol of longevity, resilience, and peace. Do you know that Charles Darwin referred to the gingko as a "living fossil" because it is the same as plant fossils from 270 million years ago? Thank you to Michelle Keith and her family for donating the gingko tree to us.
Last week, a gun rampage at the U.S. Naval Yard in Washington, DC, left at least 12 people dead; the continuing Syrian conflict has claimed about 100,000 lives; and on Saturday, 39 people were shot dead at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya. These senseless acts of violence should not deter us from pursuing our ideal of peace, deploying our instruments of education, science, and community engagement. Inspired by our students, I offer this song Let There Be Peace on Earth.
Last Monday, I joined Dean Bob Peck and Dean Adrian Tio as they hosted with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the Hall-Hildreth IDEA (Innovation, Design, Engineering, and Art) Studio. Lara Stone, from our Advancement Office, closely coordinated with two alumni, Sue Hall BFA '85 and Norm "Chip" Hildreth, BSEE '85, on the gift that established this laboratory to foster creative artistic and scientific collaborations among faculty and students across campus in order to spawn innovation and solve complex design problems. Thank you immensely to Sue and Chip for their generosity!
Provost Karim and I with other colleagues engaged in a productive videoconference call on September 19 with the Rector of the University of the Azores Jorge Manuel Rosa de Medeiros and Prof. Luis Andrade. We were joined by Portuguese Studies Department Chair Glaucia Silva, Dean of SMAST Steve Lohrenz, and Dean of Nursing Jim Fain to discuss ideas for partnership in their respective areas. As Dean Lohrenz and I plan to visit the University of the Azores in November, we will pursue these opportunities further.
Congratulations to Charlton College of Business student Tom Fitzpatrick for having been elected National Vice President of DECA, a national student organization preparing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in business and finance!
Kudos as well to our Biology Adjunct Faculty Greg Skomal and Ph.D. student Heather Marshall! They were featured in a riveting story titled "Cape Fear" about sharks in Massachusetts authored by Alec Wilkinson in the September 9 issue of The New Yorker.
Dona nobis pacem,